Becoming Stronger: The Body (Final)

Spring has sprung! I’m typing this via my tablet as I sit outside in the sunshine. Such a gorgeous day!

I look around my little garden and I also notice other evidence of spring: weeds galore! And I know what will happen 2 days from now as a result of me plucking these weeds here in just a few minutes.


My body will experience such a soreness in muscles the winter so easily helped me to forget were a vital part of my anatomy and of maintaing a garden. Perhaps I should count how many squats and lunges this chore will entail…

In becoming Friða–and I hope you are enjoying this journey with me, as mundane as it may be to this point–I have considered the physical labor of being a woman who lived in the often harsh environment of the north. What activities consumed a normal woman’s time? Yes, she was involved in the complete process of fiber arts from caring for the animals to sewing and washing clothing. She farmed and tended to the vegetables, the chickens. She might have hunted. Some sailed across the seas (did they also row, or just the men?) and fought in battle. She carried buckets of fresh water from the river or spring. They baked and cooked–have you ever tried whipping a batter without a standing mixer???

I am not a weak modern woman, physically, nor am I strong one. I pride myself in my push-up and squat forms. But I am no body-builder. I don’t want to build muscle and be able to deadlift 500 pounds (is that far-fetched? No idea! haha). A friend of mine is 3″ shorter than I, and she can bench press 200 pounds–that’s the equivalent of a grown man!! I admire her achievements and the goals she has set for herself, but I do not possess the same passion.

And so, I consider the physical strength I desire to possess in order to complete the required daily chores by myself. Some of my curiosity leads me to wonder if the Vikings did anything to build strength. Sure, they trained for war as any warrior would. But did they lift logs to become stronger? Or did they just naturally build and maintain strength based on daily chores and activities? On the same note, what did Gladiators do?

Pulling weeds today will not only include squats and lunges, my hands will pull the weeds from the ground. Some weeds will be stubborn, their strong roots buried deep in the ground, requiring two hands, my back, my legs and some grunting in order to release them from their grasp in the soil that belong to my flowers. Pruning my hedges uses other muscles and awkward positioning to get to the new growth underneath.

As I consider the lifestyle of old, as well as what modern farmers and gardeners do, I will devise a workout routine and nutritional diet that will enhance my abilities to accomplish these chores more efficiently. I’m going to set a goal so big, that I have to grown into the person who can achieve it (see Part 4).

Care to join me?

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