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Half an hour at a time - Elizabeth Unexplained
Lots of data but no answers
Half an hour at a time
Lets be honest here, no one sane exercises because its fun. Good results, meeting goals, being in shape: these things are fun. The exercise that gets you there, not so much.

When I first started using the treadmills at the gym I thought they were a good idea. In a group class I have to show up at a set time, and that often wastes a bit of time, or leaves me feeling pushed in the morning. Then there is also my psychopathic need to compete with every other member of the class, which leads to uneven workouts. The treadmill was a good solution... I program in the speed and the difficulty and then I have no choice but to keep up at a steady pace. With a little discipline you can make sure you don't quit early and gradually up the setting as the weeks go by.

The problem that neither the group classes or the treadmill solved is that they don't engage my mind enough. I always had too much left over that was busy noticing that pushing myself was uncomfortable. I'd be counting the minutes until if was over nearly second by second from start to finish. Of course there were TVs in the main gym room, but when I first started going you had to bring in a radio and tune it in to certain stations to hear the sound, and I never got around to buying a radio specifically for the gym. A few months ago the gym got treadmills that had some built-in TVs on them, and all you needed was a set of headphones. I tried this, and its better than nothing, but honestly watching morning network TV is only marginally more distracting than watching the cars drive by on the street below.

After having been lame about the gym for a few months running I started going back again and something good happened. I discovered that on two channels on those TVs my gym plays movies. Movies are much more engaging and there are no commercial breaks. If the movie is good enough I can almost forget that I'm panting and sweating through it. Since I don't otherwise get to watch a lot of movies (Warren isn't interested in most movies) this is a great treat. This is good, because as is obvious from my period of gym lameness, the promise of a gym shower isn't always enough to get me motivated for the gym.

Of course there is one tiny catch. You're only allowed to sign up to use the cardio equipment for 30 minutes (and really, that's a reasonable amount of cardio at one go). The average movie is usually at least three times as long. So there I am, watching a random 30 minutes out of a random movie. This is fine by me if I've already seen the movie. I'm one of those people who enjoys seeing movies more than once, so seeing thirty random minutes of the Full Monty is a win. I know what came before and what comes after, and the thirty minutes worth that I saw again the other morning was still funny. On the other hand, its less ideal with movies I've never seen before. This morning I saw the last half hour of Billy Elliot, and now I want to see the first part, but who knows when of if that'll be showing at the treadmill cinema again.

Current Mood: weird weird

10 comments or Leave a comment
mjperson From: mjperson Date: July 31st, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

podcasts instead of movies?

I was having troubles with that same issue until I finally started loading my iPod with a few podcasts. Now you can find some on pretty much any subject. I've found that having someone talking to me in my earphones about the latest developments in the parts of astronomy I pay no attention to (Slacker Astronomy), or what's going on with the government (NPR news), etc. is engaging enough to keep me distracted for the little bursts of 20-30 minutes that are needed. If I run out of voice material, then I can just fill the rest of the time with a few songs.

greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: July 31st, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: podcasts instead of movies?

Oh, I like the movies. I like them a lot. Its more an issue of my 30 minutes being up and I don't want to quit exercising because that means I won't know how it ends.
twe From: twe Date: July 31st, 2006 07:08 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: podcasts instead of movies?

Maybe you need a video ipod then, so you can pause and resume the next day. :)

merastra From: merastra Date: July 31st, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: podcasts instead of movies?

Clearly you need to buy your own treadmill so you can exercise to your heart's content. :-)
arcanology From: arcanology Date: July 31st, 2006 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

why not fun?

I dunno, I do sword stuff because it's fun, and it's also fairly good exercise.

But I'm not aiming for as high a level of fitness I think.

And this is predicated on finding martial arts fun. But at least it requires smaller teams than say league basketball, although the equipment for sword stuff is more expensive.
remcat From: remcat Date: July 31st, 2006 09:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: why not fun?

She didn't say "no one" enjoys exercise, just "no one sane" ... :)

Although, I would suggest ... if you aren't enjoying your exercise, it might be time to re-evaluate what you're doing for exercise. I actually quite enjoy running around my neighborhood, esp. now that I have cool podcasts to listen to.
arcanology From: arcanology Date: July 31st, 2006 11:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: why not fun?

Oh yeah, she did. Well that's a total out in my case.
countertorque From: countertorque Date: August 1st, 2006 12:06 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: why not fun?

I started doing team sports for the same reason. Running on a treadmill sucks, but trying to beat someone else to the frisbee is interesting enough that I'll keep trying to do it for hours at a time, in 90F+ heat. In fact, I find that it occupies my concious mind so completely, that I completely forget about other things that are bothering me. So, I get exercise and a mental escape at the same time.

It can be tough finding the right group to play with. It can be especially challenging finding a group that correctly balances the fun and the competitiveness. But, I highly reccomend it.

I feel like I might have made this exact comment in the past. If I have, I apologize for beating this big dead animal.
merastra From: merastra Date: August 1st, 2006 02:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: why not fun?

I think there are sane people who find exercise fun. It may be because they've found something they find interesting as well. Or it may be that by your definition, I'm not sane. ;-)

Separately, I'm of the opinion that if one looks around enough, there's a good chance that there's something that's amusing for the mind and at least decently good exercise for the body. Note that I didn't used to believe this. However that was when I thought exercise was limited to team sports, swimming, the gym, and track and field. Sure, it's hard on the body initially so maybe you start looking because of the physical benefits. But with the right activity, you *want* to go back.

*shrug* It's a matter of opinion I guess. :-)
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 1st, 2006 12:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: why not fun?

Maybe its a definition problem. I dance for fun. I just don't count it as exercise even though I'm clearly burning calories. The treadmill stuff is in part to improve my dancing capabilities. I'm also not claiming that exercise can't be fun, just that when I'm really pushing my heart rate there are some very unfun side effects.
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