It is Sunday morning and soon I will head off to my local Get Fit for my mental and physical self care routine (masked up for the duration). Sure, I go for my physical cardio workout. My goal, as suggested by my GP, is to elevate my heart rate several times during my time on the cross trainer. It isn’t easy. But the getting up, the climbing, the few moments of increased effort to achieve an accelerated heart rate is what does the most good for the heart, veins and cardiovascular system. Simply running in place for 20 minutes with only a slightly accelerated heart rate apparently has little benefit. The climb up is where the effort is and the resulting benefit attained.
Like so many, I must have music while I exercise. I use my Pandora app to select some workout appropriate music. I can’t it all the work here, people. Recently, I’ve set it to feature Abba. Reason being that if “Mama Mia” doesn’t get me moving, then it just isn’t my day.
Since Pandora is free it has commercial interruptions. I know I could move on to an upgrade or source my music via Spotify or some other means. However, this task never seems to make it to the top of the pile of things to do. So, I stick with Pandora and the commercial interruptions, even if I have started to loathe them more and more. It took me a while to understand why I became progressively less tolerarnt of these distractions during my cardio sessions at the gym. Then, it hit me.
My mental cardio session is meant for my mind, my body and for me. I am moving, sweating, while unifying my body, mind and spirit in the process. It is a private time when the three of us communicate intimately amongst ourselves. No one else is invited. How dare these commercials try to steal my thoughts at this precious time when my best thoughts are doing me the most good? I consider the commercial interruptions an act of trespassing, especially when they begin by yelling “Hey!” to grab my mind away from me.
I used to simply rip out my ear speakers and toss them violently off my head until my phone said the commercial was over. I was then safe from a commercial violating my mind for several more songs or hopefully until the conclusion of my workout. Still, I felt cheated of several minutes of my empowering workout time. The good news is that I have recently found a solution, a middle path. And no, it wasn’t found on the phone.
It is not switching apps, accessing a different source for music or ditching the phone altogether. It struck me a few visits to Get Fit past to use the interruptions to make my mind healthier, just as interval training makes my cardiovascular system stronger by making it stop, restart and climb again and again. Let’s call it mental cardio. A time I now recognize as a combination of mental cardio as well as physical.
MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
So later today when I make to my cross trainer, I will apply the middle path wisdom and use the commercial interruptions as my interval training for my mind. You see, typically I have found that when the body is moving that the mind, especially the subconscious mind, is most productive. So I listen to my mind while working out and it usually brings me pure, fearless thoughts for my books, the blog and my life as a whole. I later use these healthy, self generated thoughts found during my mental cardio to apply to my life in positive ways. I have seen it work. To have an unwanted voice try to reach into my mind during this time is unacceptable to me.
So, when I’m on the cross trainer and a thought stealing commercial comes on, I will smile. I will simply remove the ear phones calmly and begin my middle path inspired mental climb. I will start “the climb”, which to reiterate, is the part that does the most good. It strengthens my mind against unwanted distractions, interruptions and commercials. By practicing mental cardio I will find them easier to ignore, which is the last thing the folks behind the commercials want out of me. So, to them I say, bring them your distractions. They now make my mind clearer and stronger. So, Flo from Progressive, Jake from State Farm and legions of others, I want you to give this post some thought. Unless of course, it is a distraction for you to do so.
“May I help whose next?”