The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Adventures in Fitness 10: One Guy's Attempt to Knock the Rust Off: What You Watch Makes of Difference!

My adventures take place at a gym that has all the machines pointing toward a bank of TVs at the front of the facility and little units with headphone jacks strapped to each machine. I've sampled the offerings and I can tell you this--of the various networks, and this is one guy's unscientific opinion, the very worst to watch while exercising is any food/cooking network. Don't get me wrong, the programming itself isn't inherently bad, but, before the workout is partly complete, your stomach is growling, you are distracted and off your pace, and you are destined to go home and eat up those calories you worked hard to burn off. News networks are next in line on the negative distraction scale. They suck you in with some item you find intellectually stimulating and then make an abrupt turn into pontification on some issue that is just designed to piss you off. Before long you are off your stride, cursing under your breath, and no longer receiving the benefits of stress reduction that good exercise can provide. The various reality programming (with the exception of chefs screaming at hapless cooks ... why don't any of those guys end up with broken noses?) can provide stimulating amusement that distracts you from your own body's various complaints, especially in the early stages of your training when your body will whine relentlessly for the first ten or fifteen minutes trying to make you quit before begrudgingly giving up and going along with the exercise. In this case, distraction is good ... especially with shows in which contestants are involved in physical activities. It's nice to see someone else struggling along with you. It beats sneaking peeks at the person next to you who has obviously been training for YEARS and is moving ever so much faster than YOU. Best of all for this guy trying to knock the rust off, is the sports channel programming. They may occasionally make comments about your team that mildly pisses you off, but that's expected. Mostly though, the pace is fast, the comments upbeat, the music quick tempo, and the conversation lacks a depth of intellect requiring severe concentration to follow. Perfect! So there you have it.

Happy exercising, whatever you choose to watch ... or not. 

P.S. As an alternative, try tuning out and practicing the spiritual discipline of silence. Pick one word you want to focus on (perhaps joy or endurance) and repeat it to yourself over and over again. If you have good balance, close your eyes while you do this for brief periods and see what you can accomplish. You might discover you are even more relaxed than usual after your routine.

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