Errands As Exercise

When I was in Washington D.C. for work a few weeks ago, I got to stay with my friend Scott and spend some time with him. He asked me how AJ was handling all the time I’ve been gone, and my response was “He’s mostly fine, but he always tells me how glad he is that I’m home because we’re inevitably about to run out of food. How ridiculous is that? We only live like 4 miles away from the grocery store; he can clearly just go there himself.”

“FOUR MILES?” Scott asked. “YOU LIVE FOUR MILES FROM THE GROCERY STORE? That’s like…from here to Maryland! Or Virginia! Or across the entire width of DC! I can be in three different states in four miles!”


Actual video of Scott reacting to my story

I couldn’t stop laughing. It made me think about how different life is when you live in a city versus the country (and I don’t live that far out in the country). Things he takes for granted, like walking to any one of 100 restaurants for dinner each night, are things I can’t even imagine being able to do. By the same token, I bet he can’t walk half a mile in any direction and find a corn field. So…I win?

I tell you this because I often don’t think of riding my bike or walking (or running) to do errands because it always seems ridiculously far. It’s also kind of dangerous since most people where I live are quite ignorant of the idea of exercise in general, let alone exercising outdoors. So today, I had to go to the post office. I was talking to my friend Lauren and I said “Maybe I’ll ride my bike to the post office!” I was mostly kidding. But then I thought “Why not?” Besides, I had already told Lauren I was going to do it, so now I had to.

I ran 4.5 miles (hooray!) yesterday, and obviously I almost collapsed/vomited/had a heart attack/had an asthma attack, but I still finished it and my leg is still intact. That means that today was a biking day, so I had to get a workout in anyway. I don’t often look forward to riding my bike/medieval torture device, but now I had a purpose! I had to ride to the post office, and I had to get there before 5! So I wrapped the envelope I needed to mail in a plastic bag so I wouldn’t sweat on it, stuck the bag in one of those string backpacks they give you at races, and set on my way.


The 4 miles to the post office is arguably the hardest part of the ride, since it’s mostly uphill and I’m terribly out of shape, in case you hadn’t heard. The lady working at the post office looked like I had 6 heads when I walked in there in my biking gear with my helmet still on and sweat pouring down my face, but I mailed my envelope and went on my way. Good thing I have no one to impress.

I decided to keep riding for awhile and try and get a good workout in, so I did. And it was hard. And I almost got hit by about 30 cars. And there were times I thought I was going to fall off my bike. And I felt alternatively very weak and very strong, but in the end, I was triumphant. I ended up going a little over 15 miles overall, which would have been a short ride back in the day, but today it was a lot.

So I write this post to say, in a typically long-winded fashion, that there are ways to incorporate fitness into your daily routine besides the obligatory daily workout. Sometimes, mixing your workout with something you have to do anyway can be just the push you need to get the workout done – it was for me today. Well, that and the fact that I was convinced that Lauren would shame me otherwise, as if she actively gives a shit whether I bike to the post office or not. As I try to recover from my stress fracture, I’m going to try to incorporate cross training more into my workout schedule to give my leg a break, meaning I might be biking to a whole lot more errands. Hey, there are benefits to living far away from everything!

LEAVE A COMMENT: How do you turn things you have to do anyway into workouts?

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