Proverbs 31:19

In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

It’s a sign of affluence that you don’t have to work hard.  Want something done?  Pay someone to do it.  Unfortunately, that’s not how we were created.

Genesis 2:15

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

From the very beginning, we were created to work and care for things.  We tend to forget that in our quest for the next technological marvel that will do the work for us.

A few examples:

  • It takes very little time or effort to wash most dishes if you do them immediately (or at least leave them to soak in water).  Better yet, you only need to have one full place-setting per person if you wash after each meal.  Instead, we buy multiple sets of dishes and silverware, fill the dishwasher to capacity, have to use heavy-duty cleansers because we don’t rinse, and waste far more water with each wash.
  • Having a “kitchen garden” is about as healthy as you can get.  You have your own produce, so it only has whatever pesticides and fertilizers you put on it.  Seeds and seedlings are relatively inexpensive.  The produce is fresh.  You can burn upwards of 272 calories per hour doing simple gardening.  Instead, however, we pay someone else to care for our highly fertilized, over-manicured lawns.  We buy produce from several continents away or used canned or frozen (although I’m a fan of frozen veggies as a secondary option) or we pay premium prices for organic.  Then we pay for gym membership so we can work off the calories from our poor diets.
  • Doing housework burns about 211 calories (more if you weigh more) per hour.  You use cleaners you’re comfortable with and your house is as clean as you make it.  Instead, we pay someone else to clean our house, they use heavy-duty industrial cleaners to get the job done faster, and then we work more hours so we can afford to pay for the housecleaner.

Per a recent Chinese study, a sedentary lifestyle is responsible for more deaths than smoking.  We’ve conquered a lot of the things that used to kill us when we were active, physical people: chicken pox, smallpox, and other diseases are nearly gone from our vocabulary.  Instead, we die of heart disease, diabetes, and not working.

The CDC recommends a minimum of 60 minutes of activity per day for a child and 2 hours 30 minutes per week for adults.  Sorry, but I think those numbers are way too low.  Study after study shows that sitting isn’t offset by a half-hour of activity.  Instead, you need activity (work) all day.  Then, at night, you need to not go home and plop yourself in front of the TV because you’re too exhausted to do anything else.

Here are some practical guidelines to help you not be a sedentary lifestyle statistic:

  • Look at any kind of work as a blessing, not a curse.  If you have to park further away from the grocery store, celebrate the extra couple of calories you’re burning.  Better yet, plan to park further away in the first place.  I currently bike 9 miles a day as part of my commute up to four days a week.  I consider this beneficial, since I get in a workout each of those days without doing anything extra.
  • Stand when you can, sit when you must.  If you are like the average American (or, worse, the average Southern California resident), you spend as much as 45 minutes a day average commuting.  That’s all sit-down time.  Then you get to a job where you work a minimum of an 8-hour day, sitting at a desk, even taking your lunch at your desk.  You may not be able to cut out your commute, but see if you can take a bus or train.  You save money, save gas, lower pollution, and you can stand up for at least part of the ride.  At work, make sure you get up and stretch or move around at least once an hour.  Take your breaks outside and use at least half your lunch for a healthy walk.  If you can, have a stand-up desk.
  • If you have to go home and watch TV, use it as impetus to exercise.  Stand up until the first commercial, then do a quick weight workout until the commercial ends.  Let yourself sit down for the next section (if you must), then go back to working out at the next commercial break.  If you don’t want to work out, at least stand, do housecleaning, or do weights from your seat.

Our bodies were made for work.  Don’t be surprised when it breaks down if you’re not using it properly.


Beauty tip:  If you’re doing a homemade pedicure, use the salicylic acid in Pepto Bismol to smooth rough patches.  Coat feet in a thin layer of Pepto and let set until dry, then soak or rinse thoroughly.  It also works as a face mask, unless you’re sensitive.  The product coats with a protective layer, keeping it fairly gentle; then the salicylic acid sloughs away dead skin cells, giving skin a glow and feet a fresh appearance.