I don't know if I'm turning into a luddite or suffering from The Call of the Wild.
I expended roughly 200 calories the other day because I mowed the lawn with a push reel mower. (No, not the old ones from 30 years ago that were heavy as a tank -- those really were the epitome of Cranky Fitness. The new ones are so light even I can push one around.) Using a push reel mower instead of a gas-powered one made me feel good, almost as good as I feel when I bicycle to work instead of driving the gas guzzler.
It's surprising how virtuous it feels to be unplugged. Why is that? Am I hankering back to the Olde Days when everyone had to do everything by hand? I can almost hear the ghost of my grandmother telling me I'm crazy. (When my grandmother was young, they traveled in horse-drawn buggies. "Oh," I said, "that must have been fun." She shook her head. "Very bumpy.")
I appreciate the technological stuff like smoothly paved roads and the ability to buy food I can't grow in this climate, and yes, especially the fact that I can communicate electronically with friends I've never met and who live on the other side of the world. I get all that. It's cool.
So why does it feel so good to not use technology? Barbecues might not be very healthy, but food cooked over an open fire smells better and tastes than the microwaved version. We've evolved technologically, but emotionally we're not that far removed from the stone-knives-and-bearskins crowd.
The 'Caveman diet' is popular right now. I'm not passing judgment on this diet yea or nay, but I think one reason it is popular is that people have an urge to get 'back to basics.' Can the urge to exercise unplugged can be traced back to a yearning for an equivalent exercise program?
There really isn't an appealing equivalent for Neanderthal fitness -- at least, not one that fits in with the demands of modern life. I tried to picture merging the Stone Age with the Information Age, and all I could think of was:
0800: Crawl out of cave, discover how to make fire, brew coffee
0900: Work with Ugh on synergistic leveraging strategies
1200: Check out blogs
0100: Try to look busy and productive
0500: Chase mastodon, bring home for Mrs. N to roast
No, that doesn't sound like much fun.
But it's summer! The outdoors is calling!
Great outdoors, on line 1...
Maybe what I'm suffering from is spring fever. Dr. J. wrote a post about the need to experience nature. He quotes E.O. Wilson, an American biologist, researcher, and naturalist postulated, among many environmentalist views, as saying that “humans have an innate, biologically determined need for nature.” By combining exercise with being outdoors, I fulfill a couple of basic needs.
Do you prefer exercising outdoors if you have the chance? Or do the comforts of technology, cable TV and an iPod win out over mosquitoes, sunburn, and fresh air?
“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.” - Rachel Carson