Valerie Yules Letters

April 11, 2015

Waste of exercise – do housework instead!

Climate change and Housework Exercise

Recently a radio station ran a campaign for more exercise. People rang in about how they exercised with gyms, bikes and so on. None of it was useful, apart from transport.

In the past until about 1950. and in many countries still, exercise by almost everybody was useful. Only the wealthy took on useless exercise – or huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’, which had something at the end of it, or in ancient Greece, they went to the Gymnasium.

Most of the people rested as their recreation; Their work was their exercise – outside, growing their food, or inside, cooking, cleaning and making their clothes.

Today in our cities almost everybody uses electricity instead of exercise in the home.

Yet we can reduce carbon emissions by reducing unnecessary use of electricity and exercising instead.

People could save electricity by bending their knees, stretching their arms, strengthening their arm muscles, tuning up their wrists, and reducing their waistline. Thus with minimum electricity and carbon emissions, they would  sweep and garden, clean the floor, polish, and sweep cobwebs off the ceiling.

It would improve their circulation, tone up pelvic-floor muscles, keep the heart fit, strengthen the legs and prevent osteoporosis, by doing housework like it was done up to 1950, without unnecessary electricity.

Carbon-emissions are saved by not driving.

Walking to go shopping used to require for light shopping, a basket, soft-handled string-bag, dilly-bag or backpack, and for heavy shopping, a shopping jeep or pram. This is exercise especially good when the back was kept straight and elegant and pulling or pushing with your arms so that the back was not bent.  Shopping was not weighed down with wasteful packaging

A good hand-mower for level or ‘drought’ lawns.  Push from the waist, not hunched, for figure-improving exercise for the stomach.  Save $$$ and £££.  A hand-mower saves carbon emissions and does not annoy neigbours.  There is at least one excellent mower on the market so light it almost flies.

Do repetitive jobs with rhythm for more speed, pleasure and exercise   – eg dishwash by hand, hang up washing, make beds, use a carpet-sweeper for quick jobs rather than vacuum.  Move your feet rather than stand still at kitchen jobs, or use a high stool or chair when convenient, to avoid varicose veins.  Carbon-emissions saved by not using electricity.

Exercise while you wait.  Walk and turn while waiting for a bus or train or person, turn and stretch when sitting at a phone. These are times to exercise the neck, feet, leg and arm raising, pelvic-floor contracting, posture correction, correct breathing.

Sing or hum around the house or in the bathroom for morale and good breathing.  Children love to hear you singing, until they are old enough to discriminate.  Dont disturb adults though.

Dance down the passage sometimes.

Creative hobbies for healthy exercise – play music, paint, carpentry, home renovating.

Play with children. Even catching children for bedtime or washing them can be good exercise.

Sleeplessness.   A good time for breathing exercises . . . .  by the time you have breathed deeply to a hundred or so . . .

Don’t use electrical goods that do the job no better than you could get exercise.  Buy the goods you really need to make life easier with the money you save.

Exercise inventions. Here’s an opening for the local bicycle industry. An exercise bike could generate TV power for your home – pedal as you watch, or run a mulch-maker, or . .

One Englishman powers his television with an exercise bike – the children can watch as long as they keep pedalling.

Human energy could generate power for many household tasks, and charge batteries.  Treadmills and all those machines to make you strong or powerful or fast, could all do something useful – turning a compost-cutter, helping to make waste-paper into recycled paper, grinding up stuff, charging batteries.

Loneliness is a major reason why people do not like doing housework.  Have a child or adult friend around, or listen to interesting talks on the radio to ,or even sometimes enjoy the quiet, to think and daydream.

Do men and women need the same sort of exercise?

For hundreds of thousands of years, men have been the exercise freaks, out hunting and fighting and digging and building, muscling their way around, puffing and panting and sprinting away.  Today if modern man does not have regular vigorous exercise, his health deteriorates.

For hundreds of thousands of years, women have worked very hard but at a more regular pace.  They have not needed large-muscle speed and power.  And if they survived child-bearing and resulting disorders, they lived longer.  Today perhaps modern women are still evolved to need that sort of exercise, which most women have had in housework and in the fields.   Perhaps puffing and panting exercises are for male physiology, and  may wear women out sooner.  As, conceivably, the men’s harder, faster life, may actually wear out the healthy male for a shorter life than the conservationist female.   Like that famous jogger, they  may ‘die healthy’.

Formal exercise is unnatural.  That is, understood as formal exercise not contaminated by being useful in any way. I never do any formal exercises. (I’m heading for eighty-six, and last tested bone density was better than my age.)    Instead, I do gardening, walk to the shops with a shopping jeep, do housework – including twin-tub washing machine and outdoor drying, and carpet-sweep the floors

Formal exercise can be a waste of fossil fuels as well as waste of time when people substitute it for doing things for themselves.

Snobbery and exercise

Throughout history, slaves and peasants did the hard work. Useful work was thought undignified.  Indeed, most of it was dreadful toil. The upper classes got their exercises at sports, hunting and gymnasiums.

Chinese mandarins even grew their fingernails about a foot long to prove they did no manual work.

Today machines can do the dreadful toil. Thank goodness.  But should we still be snobs about useful work that is healthy exercise for us?  As well as saving emissions, electricity, oil and money.


March 26, 2015

Big cars with single people in each – a solution, a second small car

I still think the solution to big cars with one person in each deserves wider publicity. Everyone can make some action against climate change.

There is a market for small cars if the matter was publicised.  If all  two-car homes had one of the cars as a small car for single-driver trips, many problems would be solved – such as use of petrol, carbon emissions, traffic congestion and parking. Australia could well make such cars.  The one question to solve is feelings of safety – Sixty percent of owners (my guess) have big cars probably thinking they are safer in our traffic, and so make the problem worse. The cars would be No frills, cheap and simple.

Our Waverley Leader has a real estate supplement. The latest gives details of 79 homes for sale. Three quarters of the homes have garages for at least two cars – 57 out of 79.  The range was up to six cars per garage, with most of the 15 single-car garages being for houses marked as ripe for ‘development’, i.e. destruction

If all two-car households have one of their two cars as a small city-car, mainly for single drivers going on short trips, we would save on petrol, emissions, traffic jams, and  parking. We could even make them instead of big cars, and keep an Australian automotive industry.

I count passing cars in our busy street, and 85% have single-person occupancy – and most are big cars. And I think most are going shopping or taking children to school.

April 27, 2011

What we waste for short-term pleasure

Filed under: conservation, Pleasures, Waste — Tags: , , , , , — valerieyulesletters @ 1:54 am

When I was a child thinking that the bushland and the seascapes were infinite, we used to go with our buckets and bring home what we found in the rock pools, and collect all the wildflowers we could pick from the bush.

Now the fish and other creatures and the living shellfish are gone from the pools.  The rare and beautiful flowers are gone from what remains of the bush – the orchids, greenhood, tiger lily and the delicate spider orchids are gone. The sky-blue pincushions, the early nancies, the trigger flowers, the milkmaids, the egg-and=bacon, the chocolate flowers – all gone. Only occasionally a century flower appears in my garden.

We used to collect all the tadpoles we could find from the creek. Frogs are rare nowadays.

Boys – and men too – collected eggs from birds’ nest for their collections.  Lots of folk collected butterflies – blue, brown, white, and every sort of patterned wings.

If only we had collected photographs, if only we had been bird-twitchers watching for a sight of them.

We did not know.

Today we still do not know much.  Our cars, four-wheel drives especially, do not take photographs of what they leave behind us, on creek banks, on rutted earth.  The photographs in the ads show them plunging through creeks and standing amid low grasses, not the aftermath.

The beaches that were once so white and soft, and edged with marram grass and ti-tree – now cleaned by tractors from the litter people leave behind on the grey sand. These beaches were close to home.  Now people go further and further seeking more unspoiled beaches – to spoil.

We build our houses where the bushland creatures and flowers once flourished.

Today we need to think of pleasures as enjoyments that are watched rather than touched and collected.  We need to look behind us we leave

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