I’m Trying to Clear My Head with Exercise. It’s Not Working.

 

I don’t watch TV.  I’m bothered by the fast montages, flashing images, and intrusive sounds.  I can’t concentrate on a movie unless I really like it – my mind jumps around too much.  TV news shows insult me – they all sound like they’re selling something, instead of telling me what happened.  I can’t get interested in reality TV – I can’t bring myself to care what color tile some lady chooses for her backsplash.  And so on and so on.  My wife enjoys TV.  It relaxes her.  But I’ve tried, and I just can’t.

For the first time in over 15 years, I actually have time to breathe.  So I joined a gym (Planet Fitness), because I feel horrible all the time, and I need to get in shape.  When I’m on the treadmill, there is a bank of televisions 50 feet across.  All tuned to different stations, to distract us from our boring exercise.  Help pass the time.  But for me, it makes it so much worse.  I can’t even watch one program at home, because my mind jumps around too much.  Imagine me watching several programs at once, while surrounded by other stimulation like various people exercising and interacting – imagine what all that does to my restless mind.

Allow me to share with you a rough approximation of 15 minutes of my morning today, while I was on the treadmill:

TV #4 – FOX News – Beautiful woman talking about Ukraine

Me, thinking to myself:  The longer Russia has troops in Europe, the greater chance that something horrible is going to happen.  I can’t even tell who the good guys are, because they – golly, she is really, really beautiful.  Wow.

TV #2 – CNN – Interview with Stacy Abrams

Me:  What kind of world cares what she thinks about anything?  She’s one of the best young faces of the Democrat party.  Imagine that.

Old guy on stationary recumbent bicycle:

Me:  I don’t think he’s moved since I’ve been here.  I wonder if I should check a pulse.  Oh wait – he just looked at that girl’s butt.  I guess he’s ok.

TV #4 – FOX News – Advertisement for My Pillow

Me:  I can demonstrate my love of God and country by buying a pair of slippers.  Golly, things are getting weird…

70-year-old woman with fake tan, fake boobs, fake teeth, with full sleeve tattoo on left arm, wearing revealing Spandex outfit, on pec deck:

Me:  Now there is a very interesting person.  Or maybe not.

TV #7:  News break on some channel I don’t recognize

Me:  So China is rehearsing an invasion of Taiwan so everybody can see.  Holy crap.  That’s more dangerous than Russia and Ukraine.  I think.  Oh, there’s Biden giving a speech about it.  That should help.

TV #4:  FOX News – Advertisement for memory aid nutritional supplement

Me:  So somebody decided to make money by taking advantage of the fears of the sick and the old.  Especially those who aren’t as sharp as they used to be.  And then that marketing genius goes home and goes to sleep that night.  How does that work?

TV #2 – CNN – Interview with Paul Krugman

Me:  If I was wrong about medicine as much as he is wrong about economics, I wonder how many people I would have killed by now?   Of course, I can only kill one person at a time.  The policies that he promotes kill millions.  How does he sleep at night?  I wonder if he knows the memory aid marketing guy?

TV #3 – HGTV

Me:  So the homebuyer runs a non-profit for disadvantaged kids.  That’s nice.  So what’s he doing looking at a million-dollar house?  Does he sell cocaine on the side or something?

TV #4 – FOX News

Me:  Holy Toledo.  This reporter is even more beautiful than the last one.  Where do they find these girls?

TV #2 – CNN – Footage of Jan. 6 protestors

Me:  I wonder how long they can keep this as a lead story?  I wonder if it will have the impact they hope for?  The world is blowing up under Democrat leadership, so I guess they have nothing else to talk about.  Why not try, I suppose…

TV #9 – golf tournament

Me:  I wonder how much water they use per month to keep the grass that green?

Pretty girl walks by:

Me:  Wow.  I can see why that old guy looked at her butt.  At least his eyesight is ok.

TV #3 – HGTV – Carpenter cries as he listens to homebuyer talk about his disadvantaged kids. 

Me:  He’s a better actor than Kevin Costner.

TV #2 – CNN – Picture of Pete Buttigieg smiling at young black girl while they both wear yellow hard hats in front of a small trackhoe

Me:  He’s also a better actor than Kevin Costner.  I suppose that’s not a terribly select group.

TV #4 – FOX News – Gorgeous reporter concludes story about economic collapse, and hands off to an even more gorgeous on-the-scene reporter wearing a knock-out tight yellow dress while she eats barbeque at a county fair.

Me:  You know, I think I’ve had enough.


So after just 15 minutes on the treadmill, I go home.  My wife sees me and says, “It’s so great that you’re going to the gym!  It’ll be good for you to get back in shape.  You’ll feel better.”

Me:  “Yeah, I hope so.”

Wife:  “And it will help you clear your head.”

Me:  “No.  Heavens no.  Absolutely not.  It won’t do that.  My head is spinning.  I need a drink.  You just can’t imagine…”

Wife:  “My goodness – what happened at the gym?”

Me:  “It’s a really, really, really long story.”

Wife:  “You were there for 15 minutes.”

Me:  “You just can’t imagine…”

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  1. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Skip the treadmill and take a walk in your neighborhood instead. It will have more benefits than just the exercise. Fresh air, a dose of vitamin D and a lot of interesting things to view as you are walking. I know I start getting depressed if I stop walking.

    • #1
  2. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    Skip the treadmill and take a walk in your neighborhood instead.

    I can’t do that.  I live in South Carolina.  I soak my shirt when I walk to the mailbox.  In the summer, we have to chew our air.  I can’t go outside until late September. 

    • #2
  3. The Great Adventure Coolidge
    The Great Adventure
    @TGA

    Over the past 25 years I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time traveling – to the tune of 2 million + miles on my primary airline, ~300-400K on other airlines.  That equates to a lot of time waiting for flights in airports.  So at some point I developed a mind game of picking individuals out of the crowd of my fellow travelers and making up back-stories about them.

    Dude with a geriatric mullet (grey hair in a pony-tail, bald on top and bushy mustache) going into the men’s room.   He’s in a Crosby, Stills, & Nash tribute band.  Young blonde guy in an ill-fitting suit.  He’s Mormon Missionary, off to witness to the folks in Burkina Faso.  Or maybe Sheboygan.  Not sure which, I just like the sound of both place names.  60 something woman around 6′ and 3 bills, glowering at everyone she in her vicinity.  She was the captain of the 1988 Bulgarian Women’s Greco-Roman Wrestling team.

    Embrace it Doc – it can make passing the time on boring activities at least entertaining.

    • #3
  4. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    Skip the treadmill and take a walk in your neighborhood instead.

    I can’t do that. I live in South Carolina. I soak my shirt when I walk to the mailbox. In the summer, we have to chew our air. I can’t go outside until late September.

    I live in Coastal Texas. Walk in the evenings or in early morning.  That’s what I do.

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I don’t expect to have fun when I exercise. If the things going on around you capture your attention, then give them your attention: look at the guy who wears an awful wig; look at the girl’s butt and decide if it’s worthy of your attention; notice the bizarre tattoos that the guy next to you is flaunting; notice the woman who can actually do the splits–wow!

    I listen to podcasts. Yes, it does take a little discipline to keep paying attention, but I try to pick those I know I’ll find interesting. I have a couple at a time on my MP3 in case I hate one of them.

    Finally, I must be the only person in the world who treats exercise like brushing my teeth. I do it because–well, because I do it. It’s good hygiene. I don’t hate it. I don’t love it. But I know I’m going to do it everyday, twice a day. And I don’t exercise every day, either. I am so impressed with myself for just doing all of it. And I never ask myself whether I want to exercise on a given day, or not.

    I just do it.

    • #5
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Exercise is like Linus Pauling’s recommendations on Vitamin C.  If it didn’t work for you, it’s because you didn’t get enough of it.  :-)

    If I’m feeling crappy–sluggish physically or mentally–I go for a bike ride, indoors or out. It always helps.  If I had to watch television while doing it indoors, I’m not sure what the point would be.  When indoors I do watch video routes while listening to a book or practicing language lessons. Maybe 1 percent of the time, at most, I’ll watch a Russian movie instead, but I don’t ride as hard when I do that, so it’s better to watch the scenery to signal to me to ride hard. 

    Television? No. I’d be afraid that the stupidity would be contagious.  My immune system can’t handle it. 

     

     

    • #6
  7. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    Skip the treadmill and take a walk in your neighborhood instead.

    I can’t do that. I live in South Carolina. I soak my shirt when I walk to the mailbox. In the summer, we have to chew our air. I can’t go outside until late September.

    Buy a kettlebell and take it slow at first. Learn to do what they call a Turkish getup. It’ll work most muscles. 

    • #7
  8. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    The best intentions sometimes go awry. But I got to ask, why are you so down on Kevin Costner? I used to go to the gym that I had to quit because there were nothing but old people like myself at that gym. I kept thinking, why am I wasting my time here? I want to go where all the girls have good butts! BTW, try listening to podcasts.

    • #8
  9. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    Skip the treadmill and take a walk in your neighborhood instead.

    I can’t do that. I live in South Carolina. I soak my shirt when I walk to the mailbox. In the summer, we have to chew our air. I can’t go outside until late September.

    I can relate to this part, Doc.  Tucson in monsoon season — July and August — may be even worse.  It’s probably not quite as humid, but a bit hotter.

    I hope you can find a way for the exercise to help.  The booze doesn’t, though it seems to in the moment.  TV seems awful these days.  I look for somewhat older series.

    I have been enjoying Crossing Jordan lately.  The first season was a bit annoying, with some pre-Wokeness, but at least they were willing to make jokes that would get you in sexual harassment trouble in the real world, and Jill Hennessy was really hot.  Good actress too, I think.

    I’m in season 2, and it’s getting better.  We’ll see.  I did skip one episode about a lesbian.

    • #9
  10. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    When I, in desperate need,  went to a wellness retreat (highly recommended, by the way*) I asked for the tvs to be turned off in the cardio room. I explained that among the things I needed to retreat from was the news of the world. Could the one in front of my treadmill go dark?

    Yes, there was an individual remote, but I can’t figure those things out, and the place is staffed with friendly, good-looking,  lycra-clad young people all eager to help.  

    The first day on the treadmill, I saw bluebirds on the lawn outside the window. The place is in North Carolina, so that’s not all that surprising, but bluebirds are rare in Maine, so I was very excited. 

    The wellness retreat helped a lot. When I got home, I kept up (mostly) with my goals of doing yoga and going on hikes. Now, going on hiking expeditions is something my grandson and I do together. (“Ex-dish, Granny!”)  Not a lot of bluebirds around my house, but lots and lots of wonderful hikes. 

    *How fun would a Ricochet meet-up week at a wellness retreat be?!?

    • #10
  11. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    That’s the place with the “no lunking” policy, right?

    I work out at home now, and “lunking” is about the only thing I miss from going to the gym.

    Well, that and the occasional pretty girl.

    • #11
  12. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    In the summer, we have to chew our air.

    The air is so humid, you have to walk with a swimming motion . . .

    • #12
  13. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    That’s the place with the “no lunking” policy, right?

    I work out at home now, and “lunking” is about the only thing I miss from going to the gym.

    Well, that and the occasional pretty girl.

    Lunking???

    • #13
  14. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    cdor (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    That’s the place with the “no lunking” policy, right?

    I work out at home now, and “lunking” is about the only thing I miss from going to the gym.

    Well, that and the occasional pretty girl.

    Lunking???

    Lunking — acting like a guy in a gym

    • #14
  15. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    If you decide to get a set of headphones and listen to audiobooks, let me know and I’ll get you started with some distracting but not obnoxious suggestions. Not necessarily mine, either; I would start with “Our First Revolution” by Michael Barone, read superbly by Stephen Hoye. Or on a more fun subject, “Proof: the Science of Booze” by Adam Rogers, read by Sean Runnette. With knowledge flowing in through the ears, the eyes don’t have any reason to focus on a screen.

    • #15
  16. DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax)
    @DonG

    Lately, when I am working out, I watch YouTube videos.   I like to watch sports highlights.   Greatest soccer goals.  10 top NFL receivers.   Bo Jackson highlights…   Those are usually 15 to 20 minutes and inspire me to work harder.  

    • #16
  17. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    If you decide to get a set of headphones and listen to audiobooks, let me know and I’ll get you started with some distracting but not obnoxious suggestions. Not necessarily mine, either; I would start with “Our First Revolution” by Michael Barone, read superbly by Stephen Hoye. Or on a more fun subject, “Proof: the Science of Booze” by Adam Rogers, read by Sean Runnette. With knowledge flowing in through the ears, the eyes don’t have any reason to focus on a screen.

    I have spent many hours listening to books narrated by you while riding, indoors or out.  (Outdoors I hardly ever listen to books when far away from home, but on the routes close to home that I’ve ridden over and over, I do.  I have a set of AfterShokz bone-conducting earphones that doesn’t keep me from hearing the traffic noises. My wife, who doesn’t ride, followed this year’s RAGBRAI on FaceBook, and tells me that there were some problems with people who wore headphones that kept them from hearing their surroundings.)   

    • #17
  18. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle
    @MattBartle

    Get an elliptical machine and exercise at home. That’s what I do. No driving.

    • #18
  19. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    Skip the treadmill and take a walk in your neighborhood instead.

    I can’t do that. I live in South Carolina. I soak my shirt when I walk to the mailbox. In the summer, we have to chew our air. I can’t go outside until late September.

    Can’t  never did.

    Take the dogs for a walk.

    • #19
  20. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    That’s the place with the “no lunking” policy, right?

    I work out at home now, and “lunking” is about the only thing I miss from going to the gym.

    Well, that and the occasional pretty girl.

    Lunking???

    Lunking — acting like a guy in a gym

    OK thanks. My phone kept changing the word to lurking, which is probably pretty close to the same thing.

    • #20
  21. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    cdor (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    That’s the place with the “no lunking” policy, right?

    I work out at home now, and “lunking” is about the only thing I miss from going to the gym.

    Well, that and the occasional pretty girl.

    Lunking???

    Lunking — acting like a guy in a gym

    OK thanks. My phone kept changing the word to lurking, which is probably pretty close to the same thing.

    Heh. No, it’s the OTHER thing guys do in gyms.

    Planet Fitness describes lunking as doing things like setting the weights down hard, making grunting noises during heavy lifts, and drinking out of gallon jugs of water.

    In other words, the things some women and wimpy men find distasteful.

    • #21
  22. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    If you decide to get a set of headphones and listen to audiobooks, let me know and I’ll get you started with some distracting but not obnoxious suggestions. Not necessarily mine, either; I would start with “Our First Revolution” by Michael Barone, read superbly by Stephen Hoye. Or on a more fun subject, “Proof: the Science of Booze” by Adam Rogers, read by Sean Runnette. With knowledge flowing in through the ears, the eyes don’t have any reason to focus on a screen.

    I have listened to one of Douglas’s audiobooks and thought his reading  was terrific. Highly recommended.

    • #22
  23. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Walk in early morning or late evening. Pools are great for daytime exercise. I admit I don’t go as often as I should because of the 30 minute drive, but enjoy it anyway. I listen to music on my phone.

    • #23
  24. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Dr. Bastiat: TV news shows insult me – they all sound like they’re selling something, instead of telling me what happened.

    They are selling The Truth. Don’t look too closely, or you’ll see the duck tape holding the narrative together.

    • #24
  25. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    When I, in desperate need, went to a wellness retreat (highly recommended, by the way*) I asked for the tvs to be turned off in the cardio room. I explained that among the things I needed to retreat from was the news of the world. Could the one in front of my treadmill go dark?

    Yes, there was an individual remote, but I can’t figure those things out, and the place is staffed with friendly, good-looking, lycra-clad young people all eager to help.

    The first day on the treadmill, I saw bluebirds on the lawn outside the window. The place is in North Carolina, so that’s not all that surprising, but bluebirds are rare in Maine, so I was very excited.

    The wellness retreat helped a lot. When I got home, I kept up (mostly) with my goals of doing yoga and going on hikes. Now, going on hiking expeditions is something my grandson and I do together. (“Ex-dish, Granny!”) Not a lot of bluebirds around my house, but lots and lots of wonderful hikes.

    *How fun would a Ricochet meet-up week at a wellness retreat be?!?

    Actually, Kate dances too. :-) 

    • #25
  26. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    When I, in desperate need, went to a wellness retreat (highly recommended, by the way*) I asked for the tvs to be turned off in the cardio room. I explained that among the things I needed to retreat from was the news of the world. Could the one in front of my treadmill go dark?

    Yes, there was an individual remote, but I can’t figure those things out, and the place is staffed with friendly, good-looking, lycra-clad young people all eager to help.

    The first day on the treadmill, I saw bluebirds on the lawn outside the window. The place is in North Carolina, so that’s not all that surprising, but bluebirds are rare in Maine, so I was very excited.

    The wellness retreat helped a lot. When I got home, I kept up (mostly) with my goals of doing yoga and going on hikes. Now, going on hiking expeditions is something my grandson and I do together. (“Ex-dish, Granny!”) Not a lot of bluebirds around my house, but lots and lots of wonderful hikes.

    *How fun would a Ricochet meet-up week at a wellness retreat be?!?

    I used to go to a lot of meetings, and I said to our school superintendent one day–we were sitting at the back of the room and he burst out laughing :-)–“Mike, when they put us in the nursing home, they’ll have to wheel our chairs out to the corridor in a circle so we can have a meeting. That’s all we know how to do!” :-) 

    But I used to think they should take some treadmills and put them in a circle in our conference rooms so at least we could get something else done while we were having our never-ending meetings. Wouldn’t that be fun? :-) 

    • #26
  27. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    I listen to podcasts and watch Treadmill TV or similar virtual runs on Youtube.

    • #27
  28. navyjag Coolidge
    navyjag
    @navyjag

    Agree. It’s why I only get on the treadmill during football season. Almost time. 

    • #28
  29. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    If you decide to get a set of headphones and listen to audiobooks, let me know and I’ll get you started with some distracting but not obnoxious suggestions. Not necessarily mine, either; I would start with “Our First Revolution” by Michael Barone, read superbly by Stephen Hoye. Or on a more fun subject, “Proof: the Science of Booze” by Adam Rogers, read by Sean Runnette. With knowledge flowing in through the ears, the eyes don’t have any reason to focus on a screen.

    I have spent many hours listening to books narrated by you while riding, indoors or out. (Outdoors I hardly ever listen to books when far away from home, but on the routes close to home that I’ve ridden over and over, I do. I have a set of AfterShokz bone-conducting earphones that doesn’t keep me from hearing the traffic noises. My wife, who doesn’t ride, followed this year’s RAGBRAI on FaceBook, and tells me that there were some problems with people who wore headphones that kept them from hearing their surroundings.)

    I love the bone conduction headphones. Earplugs hurt my ears.

    As I say at the end of each book, in the most sincere voice I can manage, thank you for listening.

    • #29
  30. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    If you decide to get a set of headphones and listen to audiobooks, let me know and I’ll get you started with some distracting but not obnoxious suggestions. Not necessarily mine, either; I would start with “Our First Revolution” by Michael Barone, read superbly by Stephen Hoye. Or on a more fun subject, “Proof: the Science of Booze” by Adam Rogers, read by Sean Runnette. With knowledge flowing in through the ears, the eyes don’t have any reason to focus on a screen.

    I have listened to one of Douglas’s audiobooks and thought his reading was terrific. Highly recommended.

    I needed that today. 

    • #30
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