This year I joined a gym for the first time in my life. It’s three stories tall! First floor includes a lap pool, locker rooms, fitness storefront, food/juice bar. Second floor has dozens of cardio machines, rowing machines, elliptical trainers, weight equipment, as well as free weights. Third floor has a running track and a cardio theater (about 20 cardio machines that face a huge theater with a movie playing). It’s quite impressive, to say the least.

As I walk/run my 30+ minutes on the third-floor track, I have had plenty of time to make observations. Here’s one: there are a huge number of distractions! What do I mean? As I walk on the track, there are eight video screens on the wall that scream for my attention. One of them plays the movie (minus audio) that is currently in the cardio theater (let’s see…have I seen that movie? …Wow, I really liked that movie and we haven’t watched it for a while…I’ll have to mention it to Ed for a week-end possibility…ooh, this is the intense part {walking stops as I stare at the screen!})

The second floor has 8 video screens that I can see as I walk, plus, of course, each cardio machine has an individual screen, and everyone has a choice about what s/he watches. The first floor has two quad-screens, both of which are showing the same music video as the screens on the other floors. 

People are visible on all three floors. Members are busily engaged on their machines, or in their little corner of the room with their trainer, balancing, pumping, pushing hard, whatever. 

It adds up to a lot of distractions.

I find I have to consciously focus to get the most out of my efforts. It’s a good thing to focus, but I didn’t know I was going to have to work so hard at it when I was walking!

When you think about it, as we are working to make lifestyle changes for better health, to preserve wellness, to get to our ideal size….there are always distractions. Work schedule changes, holidays happen, guests show up unexpectedly, kids get sick, parents require immediate attention, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, TAXES are due. You name it, it is a distraction!

Some distractions we can control, and some we cannot.

Visual distractions mentioned above- movies, music videos- may be helpful…or not. What about music? I have read that  those who are working out to music tend to stick with their workout program longer. Another advantage of music: different tempos can provide you with a built in program of interval training if you move to the beat of the music.

Suggestion: Recognize that distractions happen. Pray for wisdom and discernment to know the difference between those you can and should ignore, and those you can’t and shouldn’t. Then, deal with the distraction appropriately,  concentrate, focus, get the results you want to get. You can do it!

What has been your experience: do you do better (work harder, work longer) when you are watching something, listening to something…or not?


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