I mow about an acre and a half of lawn. We’ve usually had a lawn tractor to do the job; however, the most recent one was a real disappointment. Either because of my gentle technique or superior maintenance, I was lucky and got one that lasted four years and well beyond the warranty period. Many other less lucky owners of that same defective model had them blow up within the first year, and often within the first couple of weeks of purchase. Being at times stubborn and cheap, and having just purchased a new, 20” push, trimming mower for $175, my wife and I kept putting off knuckling under to the second big mower in five years. We just took turns doing “lawn workouts.” Granted that at three hours it was taking us twice as long to get the whole job done, but, hey, it was good exercise! Did we really need a more expensive, maintenance hog that used twice as much gas, and occupied too much of our small garage?
Then, always looking for ways to not suffer dull normal in my workouts, I got a really cool idea and started to mow with a backpack on. I had pretended to decide to train for some as yet undetermined ruck march. Whoa, that made it into much more of a challenge of strength and endurance! It really forces you to stabilize your core and learn how to use the proper muscles to stabilize your hips. (Hint: they’re on your backside, below your back and above your legs.) I’ve worked up to being able to handle the whole three hours with 50 pounds and still feel OK. I’ve used up to100 pounds but decided that it might be too much weight to be healthy. It feels like something might give out at any minute resulting in some sort of lower extremity breakage.
As far as any up-coming ruck march goes, I just tested myself on a total of four miles of the Walworth County section of the White River State Trail. I guess I was warming up on the slower 31 minutes of the first two miles; however, the next two miles took me only 28 minutes and 20 seconds to motivate myself and my extra 50 pound pack of fun. That bettered my goal of 15 minute miles. Now I’m thinking of a 5K (3.1 miles) run/walk over the 4th. My goal will be 44 minutes (14:11 miles).
A couple of days ago I was passing through town and observed an oversized friend mowing his lawn with his supersized lawn machine. I say supersized, because this thing can easily mow in an hour many times his little third acre of grass. This same friend has always struggled to control his weight and find the time to exercise. I think that downsizing his mowing machine might just be the ticket. As his weight comes off and he gets stronger he can just put the weight that he’s used to carrying anyway back in his rucksack. What’s not to like about that plan?