Adaptive Labor as Training: Aid to Martin Acres subdivision of Boulder

For two and a half hours this morning I had the opportunity to work on flood remediation efforts with some wonderful people volunteering with DonateBoulder.org. We worked in the Martin Acres subdivision.

For those who are medically cleared for this kind of work, I highly encourage volunteer physical labor for those who cannot do it themselves, or who are overwhelmed.

Among the training benefits are asymmetric muscle work, pulling, lifting, carrying, hacking, breaking, dragging, stacking, leveraging, maneuvering, prying, throwing, and tossing. Working with tools with your hands is a bonus, as hand tools benefit your connective tissues and fine motor muscles in ways merely lifting weights cannot.

The best thing about training this way is that you get to work with some special people: other volunteers. You get to help someone in difficult circumstances. And, you help free up another wave of volunteers for the next effort by knocking one out.

You may only have a morning to work, or a whole day. We all have different obligations and time sensitive items any given day. Yet if you put in what you can, and others do too, this expedites humane relief and mitigation of adverse health conditions.

The must have tools and qualities: (1) mask that filters out airborne dust, molds, and noxious building materials such as asbestos; (2) tools for pulling up baseboards and tearing out sodden drywall, i.e. crowbars, wood chisels, hammers, dustpans, shovels, brooms; (3) approved anti-mold and mildew spray product; (4) first aid kit; and (5) safety sense.

Volunteering, like group training, builds camaraderie, dispels loneliness, and strengthens community. Those intangible fringe benefits are as valuable as the physical mission and physical training benefit. Yet the training benefit also helps give the person helped a better feeling that someone is helping them, yet getting something out of it.

That is all true of course, so long as volunteers take the necessary safety precautions, such as an updated tetanus shot and the equipment listed above.

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One thought on “Adaptive Labor as Training: Aid to Martin Acres subdivision of Boulder

  1. Love this! The best kind of exercise you can get is when you’re doing something for a reason other than exercise. I often think about that the day after I water ski. I love water skiing so am not doing for the work out, but I am able to reach muscles in my back and arms and even abs by water skiing that I never seem to be able to in a gym! And what’s even better is that here the exercise you were getting was for a good cause. I believe we all should be focusing on helping others all of the time… But you already knew that. 😉

    Great post, Mike! Hope you’re having an awesome weekend!

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