Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cell Phones in the Gym (?!)

Today when I went to the gym the treadmill next to mine was occupied by a guy who had started his workout maybe a minute and a half before I did. Not two minutes into my warm-up, the guy gets a phone call, and he proceeds to chat/walk for the duration of my cardio workout---another 25 minutes. This is multitasking at its worst, people.

It used to be that the only folks you'd see toting their cell phones at the gym were doctors on call; now cell usage has become ubiquitous, on the treadmill, the elliptical, the stair-stepper, in between sets of bench press. I've seen people wear headsets while doing cardio (this was pre-Bluetooth; I'm talking a full-on headset, the kind you'd picture on a telemarketer hawking Ditech). And no, cell phones are not the only invasive technology to hit your health club---I once witnessed a woman watching a movie on a portable DVD player while she did leg extensions. This was quite possibly the most aimless exercise I'd ever seen a human perform: sitting on the machine, DVD player in lap, raising and lowering her legs at the knee joint at a rate of one rep every 5--10 seconds. Not exactly time-efficient.

Whether it's a cell-phone conversation, an engrossing TV show, or simply an issue of People, there will always be distractions that can prevent you from giving your workout the maximum effort. Distractions can be a good thing, if they help you work harder, like music that helps you keep your pace, or a friend you can talk to while you work who also pushes you to go an extra mile. But if you're in any way sacrificing effort for entertainment (that guy on the treadmill was running before he took that phone call), you need to ditch the magazine or leave the cell phone at home. You're there to work, after all---you might as well make the most of your time.

Besides, if you can't bear to be separated from your cell phone for the hour it takes to complete your workout, I'm sorry to tell you you've got bigger problems.

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