thinking and exercising

I’ve been going to the gym on a somewhat regular basis for almost a year now. I’ve seen a bunch of improvements in my co-ordination, and my ability to do exercise for longer periods of time without having to stop, which has been really good.

A long time ago, when I was trying to fit exercise into my life, I’d go for a swim each day – I happened to live in a building that had a communal swimming pool, so it was pretty easy to arrange. Why did I stop? I found that it was just too boring: all you can do when you’re swimming laps is count the laps. Worse yet, once you get to a level of fitness where you can swim for a lot of laps (and everything is a lot of laps in a 20m pool), it takes a long time to get through all the exercise.

If all I’m doing is counting, I find that my mind wanders, and I want to go and do something else. Running at the gym is better, because they have TV sets… but really, that doesn’t solve the boredom problem, it just provides a distraction.

What I’d like to be able to do while running is to think – or even to pray – through things; it seems like a better use of time than watching the TV sets. I just haven’t figured out how to shut out all the gym-based distractions (loud music playing, lots of movement, and TV sets crying out for attention) and concentrate.

Or, am I fooling myself, and should I just use the exercise time to relax and de-stress?

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