Multitasking - How to Workout - Your Mind and Body
The Benefits of Exercise - And why you shouldn't exercise - A radical view
I hate to exercise. There I said it. I may offend some who like nothing more than a vigorous workout with pumping heart and streaming sweat. You like the feeling in your chest and your muscles, the clearness in your head. You like it while it's happening and after it's over. And when it's over you look forward to your next workout. Me, I prefer a nice brisk sit with a good book. But I'm not a jerk, and I recognize the benefits of exercise, and just as important, the risks of not exercising. Our bodies need it, our health demands it. Without it you can roll over and die - young. So just because I hate it doesn't mean I don't do it. So this article is for my fellow exercise haters. Warning - I'm not going to show you how to avoid it. You can't and you shouldn't. Rather, I'm going to show you how you can perform this annoying but necessary ritual and enjoy it. I will also discuss how you can make more time. Yes, MAKE more time. I've written on the subject of time management and how you can create more time by changing your perception. Here I'm going to show you how exercise can actually help you to create more time. Yes, the "exercise" I'm talking about here is walking, one of the best forms of exercise you can do. Jogging or running also work.
Okay, okay. I realize that I am placing myself in the pantheon of pains in the ass who tell you to exercise more, but this really is important. Your physical health and energy have a direct impact on the way time proceeds. Let’s face it: when you’re tired, time drags, and you’re not productive. When you have energy and a clear head, you can fit multiple tasks into a given period. Like anything worthwhile, exercise needs to be scheduled. As I said before, I hate to exercise. When I do, however, the good feeling I get afterward reinforces my commitment to do it.
The Secret - Don't Exercise
That's right, don't exercise. Do something else like listening to a book on tape or watching the news or a video. Take a course on how to improve your skills. Learn something new like understanding classical music or studying ancient history. The trick? Stay in motion while you're doing this stuff. This is nothing new, but there is a twist. You need to change your focus, a task that can be accomplished just by willing it. So, my fellow exercise haters, don't schedule a time to exercise. Schedule a time to read the next chapter of that book or the next lesson in a video series. Again, do not exercise! Just keep in motion while you're doing what you would prefer.
As a writer I spend an inordinate amount of time on my butt. But I recognize that I need to more than write, I need to keep learning, or perhaps just keep up with the news of the day. I either walk around my big old house or hit the treadmill. Because I watch and listen to a classical music lecture series as I walk on the treadmill, two things happen: First, the time flies by because I am focused on the lecture and the music. Second, I’m getting a double bang for my buck because I’m getting the exercise I need for my health, combined with filling my noggin with a learning experience. So, I’m not doing something that I hate (exercising); I’m listening to a great lecture and listening to beautiful music, while walking at a brisk clip. If you prefer to exercise outside by walking or jogging, use an audiotape for the same purpose. If you just like to walk or jog and take in the scenery, that’s great, too. Remember, you're not exercising, you're taking in the scenery at a brisk pace.
The view from my treadmill
The Treadmill - This thing was designed by someone who hates to exercise
The beauty of a treadmill, even a cheap one, is that you can set it at a desired speed or even incline. My treadmill is a Pro-Form Crosswalk Caliber Elite. I can set it to operate at preset programs, so that it inclines from time to time at various speeds. Screw it. I just prefer to set it at a given speed and be about what I really want to do - watch my video. While you're walking on the machine you can also read a book or magazine. Yes, there is a problem here - sweat. When sweat pours into your eyes, it's a bit difficult to see the words on a page. But if the book is of the size that it can be held in one hand, your other hand is free to wipe the perspiration off your brow. I use a Kindle and I believe that it's ideal for walking and reading. You can adjust the typeface for better viewing. Another option to reading is to watch a TV or a video. The photo to the right shows the view from my treadmill, a modest sized TV with a CD player. I keep the TV and CD control right on the treadmill. I've recently been viewing a course from The Learning Company on classical music, something that I want to understand better. Each lecture is 30 minutes in length, a good amount of time for a brisk walk. Because I'm a Civil War buff, I often watch an episode of the wonderful PBS series The Civil War by Ken Burns. Sometimes I get so enrolled in what I'm watching I go way over my half hour, which is a great thing. Remember, I don't think of this as exercise (which I hate). The great thing about the treadmill in this exercise hater's view is that it allows for a video component.
Walking Without A Treadmill
The only difference here is that you lose the video component of your session. Yes you can watch stuff on your Iphone or Ipad while you're walking around the neighborhood, but inevitably you're going to collide with a fire hydrant, or worse. How about, just don't do it. It's more dangerous than texting while walking. Get an Ipod or similar device and download whatever you want to listen to. I've been talking a lot about improving your mind and continuing your education. Hey, if listening to rock & roll while you're walking floats your boat, just do it.
Because exercise is so important, and the lack of it impacts your relationship with time as well as your health, I suggest that you schedule your time on the treadmill or your walk around the neighborhood just as you would any important appointment.
What about stretching and weight training? Yes, they're important and I hate them as well. But you can still accomplish my goal of "not exercising but doing something else while you're in motion." If you have a gym set, like my old one in the photo to the right, just keep your video playing while you're pumping iron. The same with stretching exercises. Except for the few times when you head is facing the floor, you can multitask this as well. If you go to a gym you may or may not have a TV to look at so bring your listening device and enjoy.
So don't exercise. Leave it to the jocks. Do what you really enjoy, just keep in motion and get your heart pumping while you do it.
Copyright © 2013 by Russell F. Moran