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There are precious few things you can do while exercising… - John [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
John

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[Jul. 20th, 2006|10:46 pm]
John
There are precious few things you can do while exercising vigorously... I mean, you can sometimes watch TV or movies, but if you're working out at a gym, you're unlikely to have control over the remote, which causes a bit of a problem.

There's another problem. Exercising for an hour in 20-25 minute increments, can take an hour and a half, sometimes not including a shower afterwards. That's a huge chunk of a day for a person with ADHD to lose. Mind, I think I gain back about a half an hour of that because I sleep more soundly and don't need as much sleep when I'm working out hard, but it's still a huge amount of time.

How on earth could I keep up this pace, and do other important things in my life? I mean, with few enough hours in a day, I'll never think to waste any of that time, say, meditating.

And you know what's really terrible about exercising for an hour? It's boring if you're not doing something. It's a shame you can't keep your mind occupied, perhaps exercising your mind in some way, say, meditating or something like that.

Um. Yeah. Lemme meditate on how I could solve all those problems at once....

It's actually been an interesting thing. I'm trying very hard not to push myself; I can be as stupidly macho as the next guy. See that belligerant guy, acting stupidly macho? Yeah. That next guy. Except I don't tend to get belligerant, I tend to over-estimate my physical abilities and sometimes even strain my heart.

Did you know if you work out really, really hard, you can end up spending a day or two getting winded walking up a flight of stairs, and having your airway fill up with gunk? I don't know if it's still called "heart failure" when it's due to overexertion, and if it passes in a couple days, but the symptoms are the same, though not as severe.

Anyway... I'm bound and determined to minimize my risk of injury and to build up slowly, not caring if it doesn't seem to be progressing fast enough (what, in about 10 weeks, I'm working out for an hour at a pace that burns probably 800-1000 Calories mostly comfortably, and I'm complaining that the results aren't fast enough?)... and I think that's helping with the meditation practice as well. Sure, I can't stay focused for as long as I'd like, as easily as I'd like. So, big deal? If I keep going back to trying to meditate, sooner or later, as my skill develops, I'll get better. Plus, what else am I going to do? Watch whatever random TV is on?

(I should point out that my gym has twelve TVs, set to four stations, with captioning on, and they broadcast the audio stream to FM channels for anyone who brings a radio to the club. If I watched TV, it'd be a sweet setup. But watching TV, especially random TV, isn't much of a thrill for me.)

It's also interesting; I think I'm starting to "get" meditation. First, the basic breathing meditation is wonderful because it helps you lock in a good, healthy breathing style until it's nearly effortless for you to do it. Second, it helps link breathing to the relaxation of meditation, so taking a deep breath can do more for you than it did before.

Third, it helps you find your not-talking brain. I don't mean being non-verbal... I have done a bit of planning on writing while meditation. But I'm not talking to myself, if you understand the distinction. I form words, but I'm not "talking" them.

It's like, in your talking brain, you could make yourself say the words "Ted Bundy was a good and honorable man" (Yes, I mean Ted Bundy, the serial killer.) You could say it in the non-talking brain, too... but not with the mental equivalent of a straight face. Or, maybe you might say you can't say it there, because you know it's not true... you can only imagine saying it with the talking-brain.

I suspect - and this is just pure speculation - that the internal critic that bothers so many people is part of the talking-brain, as well. Those little nastygrams you might get generally don't come from the deeper, truer part of your brain. Maybe it's wishful thinking... but it's exactly the kind of thing I want to learn about.

Meditation also develops patience - how can it not :-) ?

And I think it helps with awareness. It's a lot easier for me to keep good form on the elliptical (which is where I do most of my exercise) and to recognize things going on around me, hearing things, taking now of how my body is feeling and how my breathing is going, and the sounds, and sometimes, the smells (though thankfully, only when someone's wearing too much perfume... no excessive noticing of BO so far). I keep my eyes closed; I don't think I'm anywhere near being able to meditate without closing my eyes.

It's been an interesting experience so far... I'm curious as to what's going to happen to my body and my mind over the next few weeks.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: kathrynt
2006-07-21 06:22 am (UTC)
My secret to workout success was to check out audiobooks from the library, and put them on my ipod. And then make a rule that I couldn't listen to them EXCEPT at the gym. So if I wanted to find out what happened next. . .I had to go back to the gym.

Not that this is relevant to your deeper point. I'm just saying.
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[User Picture]From: firecat
2006-07-21 08:02 am (UTC)
I was going to provide unsolicited MAS more or less along the same lines. :-)
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[User Picture]From: nolly
2006-07-21 10:59 pm (UTC)
AUdiobooks on the ipod here, too, at the gym and while commuting. But my gym has 6 TVs on 6 channels, and receivers on all the cardio machines, so if I'm more in the mood for The Simpsons than Dostoevsky, or if I suddenly see someone I know on Jeopardy! (it happened!), I can just plug in my headphones, no radio required.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2006-07-24 02:31 am (UTC)
That's a really good idea. There's one thing I don't like about this gym, and it's that they constantly play music. It's one of those things, though... music is great for working out, and I'd rather listen to something rather than nothing. But it's one more piece of noise to try to block out if you're listening to something else.
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[User Picture]From: nolly
2006-07-24 04:28 pm (UTC)
My gym has music, too, but it's not super loud, and I don't think there's even a speaker near the cardio machines. I listen to it while I'm doing my weights (free and machine) because my earphones won't stay on well in some positions. (like lying down for presses and flies). I can easily hear my player over the ambient music, though, and lots of people who use a different earphone style use their headphones the whole time.

I have a feeling I'm going to have difficulty finding a new gym if I ever leave San Diego; I really, really like this one.
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[User Picture]From: nolly
2006-07-24 04:49 pm (UTC)
I had a comment here, I thought, but it seems to have been eaten.

To recap, my gym plays music, but not very loudly, and I don't think there's a speaker in the cardio area. If I could wear earbuds without pain, I might use my ipod throughtout, but I can't, and my over-the-ear headphones aren't snug enough to stay on when I lie down to do presses and flies.

I love my gym, and hope I never have to find a new one -- one more reason not to move away from San Diego..
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[User Picture]From: nolly
2006-07-24 04:50 pm (UTC)
Weird. Posting a new comment made my old one appear.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2006-07-24 02:29 am (UTC)
It's something I'll have to think about if/when there's a time when I decide that I've learned all I can about meditation while exercising... better than music, for sure. I'll just have to make sure there's some way to rewind just a big... with my ADHD, it's easy to lose focus while reading normally; I think it'd be just as easy to miss hearing something important.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2006-07-24 02:27 am (UTC)
Nod. I did something similar when working on my exercise bike with DVDs... I had times when I'd formally declare that these DVDs were Only For While Exercising, so if I wanted to keep watching, I had to keep exercising. That was also during my "even if it's ridiculously easy activity, it's still activity" phase.

I might never have joined a gym if I'd gotten an exercise bike with a comfortable seat :-).
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2006-07-21 12:08 pm (UTC)
I will be most interested in how this goes. I do think you will change. Fascinating!
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2006-07-21 12:41 pm (UTC)
I am impressed that you can meditate while exercising; I'd be afraid to hurt myself, because I'd forget to pay attention to my body. Or I'd lose meditation concentration. I know that some people do walking meditation, so I guess elliptical meditation is the logical next step.

I like your comments about the not-talking brain--I have no vocabulary for this, but I know exactly what you're talking about. That's a good explanation.

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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2006-07-24 02:33 am (UTC)
Well, I only do it on the elliptical, and I do lose concentration a lot, but I figure that's because I'm still new-ish at meditation, as well. Right now, I'm focusing on the idea that it doesn't matter how well I'm doing; if I keep working at it, I'll get better.

But the elliptical is one of the safest machines for meditation, because the one I'm on has bars for your hands, as well as the pedals for the feet. It's easy to feel the whole rhythm of the motion, and follow it. And I think activity helps with the mindfulness I'm trying to develop. I'm thinking about how my body feels as I go along.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2006-07-24 02:39 am (UTC)
Yes, I can see that the elliptical would be perfect for you.
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[User Picture]From: droops
2006-07-21 02:12 pm (UTC)
At least you're exercising. I should, but I'm not. I'll be interested in seeing how things go.
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[User Picture]From: essaying
2006-07-21 06:54 pm (UTC)
I exercised successfully for a year or two, rowing for half an hour every morning, as follows: Set the VCR to tape "The Muppet Show" at 6A. Get up at 7A. Rewind the tape while getting a glass of lemon water. Plop butt onto rowing machine and row through "The Muppet Show," drinking lemon water in process.

Worked great until they cancelled the show, at which point I quit rowing. These days you could accomplish the whole thing with a DVD, I guess.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2006-07-24 02:35 am (UTC)
There, see? The loss of The Muppet Show was more damaging than anyone could have imagined!

But yeah, I used to block out exercise as the only time I'd do certain things (like fool around on the Playstation or watch DVDs), and that really helped keep me motivated.
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[User Picture]From: barbarakitten_t
2006-07-21 06:55 pm (UTC)
exercising meditation...qui gong moving meditation...it makes sense to me...oddly enough, i can do it at curves (where i have been once this month) but not walking.

i used to be able to do it walking, but my back hurts too much now...two blocks and i have to sit down.

i'm glad you have found something that works.

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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2006-07-24 02:35 am (UTC)
Ow... I'm sorry to hear about your back, darlin'... what happend? Or don't you know?
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