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Why bother with the expense of a gym membership when for the same amount of money I can invest it in a home project. I get to do the heavy lifting and have something more to show for my investment than a gym T-Shirt bearing the gym’s logo.

Think about it for a minute. You go to the gym, you run, bike, lift weights, sweat and when you’re done, what do you have to show for it. You feel better because you got a workout, but when you get home, what do you see?

Now, take that month’s membership fee and start working on a home project. My home project of the month involves sand, rocks and brick. The sand and rock are sold in 50-pound bags. Those bags don’t mysteriously end up on the lawn. You’ve got to get the bag from the store’s shelf into the cart, from the cart into the car and from the car to the lawn.

Once on the lawn, you’ve got to dump, spread and go back for more. No matter how small the project, you always underestimate the amount of work involved; it will take longer and you must work harder. The good thing about a project is that when you get through with a day’s work, not only do you feel the benefits of the workout; there is a visual reminder of your hard work.

Take it Slow

Just like going to the gym, you’ve got to take it slow. Don’t get carried away. You will, however, notice quick improvements. Unlike a 45-minute spinning class or a few reps with weights, manual labor usually requires hours of work. The goal of manual labor is to get the job done, getting in shape is a perk.

Getting to the gym, on the other hand, is often times the goal. Once you’re done, you have sweaty clothes and a feeling of “whew, I’m glad that’s over with.”

Gaining Muscle Tone

Since starting this project, I feel energized. The first day of lifting 50-pound bags was pretty interesting. After my body got over the initial shock, I began to look forward to working on my project and lifting heavy items. I make sure that I use proper form when lifting to prevent injury.

Paving BrickThis project has been coming along so well, that I started project number 2 which involves 12” x 12” heavy paving stones. The first time I put two stones into the wheel barrel I almost tipped over. I’m now able to trot across the yard with 4 paving stones in the wheel barrel. Who knows, maybe next week I’ll get up to 5 stones.

Nothing like the Great Outdoors

Except for a few weird looking bugs and several large spiders (some spiders are so large that they look like hermit crabs), I’m having a great time getting in shape and improving my landscaping. The only downside is that even with using protective gloves; my hands are turning into sandpaper. Oh well, time to use my homemade Rough-Hands-B-Gone recipe.

About the author: Felicia has learned the hard way that health, whether good or bad, is a result of daily choices and habits. On this blog, Felicia shares what she’s learned and the healthier choices she now makes as a result of her new knowledge. She hopes to encourage others to experiment to find alternative solutions to nagging problems (she’s also is a bit of a tree hugger and likes to share ways to lighten the toxic burden on the environment).

in Fitness