Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bark: It's exercise, Gym...

...but not as I've known it for months. Remember how I was lamenting how going to the gym impinged on precious games-playing time? Well, it turns out that the recent renovation at my local gym (which, prior to this week, I hadn't been to in months) has come up with something almost as good. I discovered on Tuesday night, when I finally plucked up the courage to go again, that all the cardiovascular machines (bikes, treadmills, cross-trainers, etc) are hooked up to LCD TVs, meaning that you can take along a set of headphones and watch TV while you flog yourself half to death in the attempt to get fitter. I can't overstate just how cool that is, as it finally kills off any excuses that you can't go to the gym because you're going to miss House or The F-Word. In fact, it might actually be a good reason to get out to the gym, because the bloody reception is better there than in my flat...

My return to the gym was spurred by a couple of factors: Firstly, boredom. This PC games drought is the worst I can remember for years and there's only so many times you can replay games, even when you have over 250 to choose from to replay, so I was really looking to do something different with my time. Secondly, I'm getting pretty sick of being an old, flabby layabout. Last week at Kendo really brought home just how unfit I've let myself become lately, and I realised that if I want to be able to survive an hour's worth of ji-geiko without coming close to heatstroke or a heart attack, I need to do something pretty quickly about my fitness levels. Unless you've done it, I don't think you can really imagine just how stressful sparring in Kendo armour is on the body. The armour holds in all your body heat and as you exercise it just builds up and up - I don't want to think about how high my core body temperature got last week - especially with all that extra fat I have around my midriff insulating all my internal organs.

So I skipped Kendo tonight in favour of a potentially less fatal form of exercise, that being a second trip to the gym this week (this time with headphones and a large bottle of water to keep myself entertained and hydrated, respectively). After 25 minutes on the bike, 45 minutes on the treadmill, 25 minutes on the cross trainer and about half an hour doing weights, I'm absolutely knackered, but it's the *good* form of knackered. I'm definitely still running on an adrenalin and endorphin high. I don't expect to see any dramatic weight loss - not for a couple of months, anyway, assuming I can still keep up the pace of going two or three times a week. But at least the experience while I'm there is going to be a whole lot more pleasurable. Being able to watch TV really makes the time fly by, because it engages your brain on a completely different level from the physical act of exercise itself. Listening to music while you exercise is one thing, but all it leaves you to do with your eyes is concentrate on the timer, making you think "gods, I've got another 15 minutes of this... bloody hell, this is boring"... Change that to a TV screen, however, and your eyes and your ears are engaged on the program. I'm not kidding when I say at times I barely noticed I was actually exercising. Admittedly, I wasn't really pushing myself in terms of intensity level, but still, exercise where you can actually disengage your brain from the monotony of the repetitive action of cycling or pounding steps on a cross-trainer? Yes, please. I'll have more of that.
Post a Comment