Monday, July 13, 2009

Scott's Workout Tips: Mowing

If you're even a casual reader of this blog, you know that I hate exercising. Oh, I'll do it, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Running, strength training…*yawn*. I know my body appreciates it, but my spirit is always a little dampened when I actually face the doing of it. On the other hand, I really enjoy being physically active. I'd rather do something physical, that has a point, as opposed to just mindless repetitions. Walking (to get somewhere), bike-riding (to get somewhere), chopping wood (to get…well, to get chopped wood)…this is all exercise of a sort, and I'd far prefer to do any of these things as my "physical activity" and leave the running to marathoners.

Given that, here are some tips for mowing:

1) If possible, avoid gas-powered mowers altogether. Get a reel mower. Cost ya - at most - a couple'a hundred bucks, but after that, yer done. No gas to buy, no oil to buy…just the seasonal treatment with WD-40 or some other rust inhibitor. Plus the occasional blade sharpening. GREAT workout. Plus, good for the environment.

2) If you must have a gas mower - as do I - maximize your workout by NOT gripping the handle tightly. This comes courtesy of a book titled The Workout by Gunnar Peterson. He advises, when doing any dumbbell work, to only grip the 'bells as tightly as you need to in order to control them. Too tight a grip moves the exercise potential to your hands and wrists, and not to your biceps or triceps. Same deal with the mower handle: only grip it as tightly as you need to to control where you're going. By doing that, you move the area being "worked" to your bi- and triceps, and to your pectorals. Good strength training.

3) Don't have a riding mower. You should be able to hand-mow your lawn in, I guess at most, a couple of hours. If you have so much grass that you "need" a riding mower…plant some trees. What, are you a feudal English lord, that you need acres and acres of grass? Get real. Give yourself enough space for a badminton net, maybe some horseshoe pits…but otherwise, let 'er grow. Nothin' bugs me like seeing some faux-brick-front McMansion fronted by 300' of grass, ain't no one ever uses. Ugh. Life's too short to mow that much. Plant a garden, sow some wildflower seeds…ANYTHING other than just an endless plain of July-burnt, cut-too-short grass.

4) If you have the "power-assist" option…don't use it. I'll admit, when I first started mowing our yard after we moved in, I was happy to have the power-assist. After that first summer, though, I'd built up the strength not to need it. Which is good, 'cause it broke. Anyway…push with your legs, push with your arms, don't grip the handle too tight…make it a WORKOUT, dammit!

5) An iPod whose battery-charge window reads "empty" still has enough juice for at least an hour of raucous classic rock. Journey, Thin Lizzy, Boston…these will all play. Loudly. Try bustin' out some, I dunno, Ani DiFranco…chances are it ain't just a dead battery, it's yer iPod goin' on strike. (This last for the sly poke at KAT, if she ain't to busy moving to actually sit her ass down and read some blogs.)

'Kay. Go mow. Get sweaty. And for heaven's sake…TAKE A SHOWER!


Blogger Fun Guv said...

I am so with you on that...I'd much rather get a workout by cutting the grass or any other productive means. Running in a big circle to come back to where you started without going somewhere and accomplishing something (other than required distance) is quite boring & tedious... Though hopefully Mike won't read this and decided that he will no longer cut the grass around here because it plays havoc on my sinuses ~ but let it be known I do cut the grass if he is busy at work or something...

4:18 PM  
Blogger kat said...


I'm caught up on your blog now.


8:52 AM  

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