I just invented a new workout program. It is especially great during the summer, when the days are hot and you are down by the water anyways. It provides a beautiful setting, good cardio, and is even more fun with a group.
It first came to me this past 4th of July when I went down to the water for my morning walk. As I moved out to the rhythm of the waves, I saw a plastic bottle and stopped to pick it up. Not six inches further, I squatted to pick up a paper cup. Then I walked a little further and bent over to scoop up the plastic bag, the straw and the crushed tin can. I realized that after having walked my usual mile and done multiple trips up to the trash cans, I had gotten quite the work out. My muscles ached in places I didn’t know I had muscles and so, I thought… what a perfect work out – win/win.
And so ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, put on your tiny bikinis and your board shorts, pull out your handy dandy trash bags and watch where you step during this workday workout. The distance is yours to choose, the pace your own as well. There is no prize for who filled the bigger bag – only the satisfaction that one less piece of plastic floated out to sea, one less broken bottle got buried in the sand, and you got a great workout in the process.
Should you feel inspired, you can add challenge to your routine:
- Three push ups at the paper cup.
- Four squats at the broken bottle.
- Bend and stretch at the plastic bag.
- And jumping jacks at the aluminum can.
- Instead of kettlebells lift the watermelon (I kid you not).
- Run in place when you find the splintered bucket, shovel, or chair.
- Sunglasses, corkscrews, a bottle of Pellegrino – do you need a break?
- Straws and butts, shoes and hats. Pick it up, pick it up.
Whew. Had you walked with me yesterday we could have completed a marathon by the time we were done. But all joking aside, at some point I had to stop looking, or I would still be walking today.
I confess I am mystified by the thought, or lack thereof, of the garbage that is just left on the sands after the crowds have left. Do they imagine that a giant maid drops down from the sky and sweeps it all up? Or that the ocean is just one giant toilet that can endlessly absorb what we dump in it? It is mind boggling that these visitors to the beach cannot simply wrap their four fingers and a thumb around the bottle or the can and walk it to the nearest bin – which is right there, on their way home! Unfortunately, it is a symptom of a much greater disease – this great disconnect from the earth. This lack of care and respect for home.
So, what is the solution? How do we shift the pendulum? What is the key to re-connecting us to the most basic of connections: that of human and earth? We try educating. We try leading by example. We try creating experiences that will lead to awareness. Some things help.
For me, today, I walk. I squat. I bend. I pick up a plastic bottle, a paper cup, a straw. I smile as the little girl next to me picks up a bottle cap and places it in my bag, then runs down to the water to squeal at the waves.