I have a number of friends who are big believers in functional fitness and who generally go to crossfit-style gyms for their training. Which is awesome. I’m all in favor of people being in shape. I think living on the boat, however, provides a different type of functional fitness.
Last night, on a whim, I dropped by the local pilates studio to try a barre class.
Geoff: Hehe, I’m watching the baby while you go to a bar. I’m sharing that on Facebook.
Me: That’s fine, so long as you spell barre correctly.
I’m not what anyone who does aerobics would consider in shape and at the end of the class, the instructor told me how well I’d done, especially on the abs portion which gives most people issues. Abs were fine – lunges about killed me, though. Where in the world do you lunge in real life? (Lunging to catch toddler is a totally different set of muscles.)
I regularly lift, carry, and swing a 30-lb (moving) weight (also generally plus groceries). I’m up and down a ladder all the time and squatting to get into lower lockers. Geoff and I both regularly engage in boat yoga (on this boat, that generally occurs when we need something out of one of the deep cockpit lockers or work needs to be done in the anchor locker). This time last year I was spending three hours a day holding a sander over my head while working on the repairing the bottom (this was before I got smart and hired a college student to do it for me).
I recently sold my car, something I was planning on doing before we cruised north in the spring. As a result, for day-to-day transportation, I’m now reliant on my feet (the marina we’re at has a loner car). I calculate I can rent a car twice a month for the same price I was paying to simply own the car (taxes, insurance, regular maintenance). But biking everywhere has been great for me.
Yesterday, in addition to the 1.7 miles to and from barre class, Skye and I popped over the bridge to drop items off at the UPS store. She’s a huge fan of riding on the bike. She goes into the backpack on my back and loves waving at everyone who passes (yes, did I mention most of this biking is done with an extra 30-lb weight on my back?). We also wandered a few blocks down the road to pick up dinner since I didn’t feel like cooking.
I’ve got my bike set up for groceries. In addition to a rack, I’ve got two panniers on the sides that fold out and hold a pretty substantial volume. My weekly farmer’s market haul totally fits, as do several cases of La Croix.
I still try to workout regularly, because I think that targeted exercise has value and makes you feel better (when you’re done). But I’ve found no type of fitness that prepares you for standing on the edge of one of the lockers outside holding a 25-lb boom over your head reached out to the center of the boat when your husband asks you to raise it just one more inch and your toddler decides to attack your weight-bearing leg. (Needless to say, the boom hit me in the head on the way down and I’ve got a lovely bump to show for it.)
I read an article recently that was talking about octogenarians in Japan and how many of them pursued crafts where they worked while sitting on the floor. The article suggested that the mere act of getting up and down and to get items they needed around their workshops helped keep them a little more spry and healthy. In other words, while exercise is great, living a lifestyle that requires movement is important.