I was at the gym the other day, and I happened to step on a treadmill where the electronic display was broken. See that the gym was so full, I was glad to have a treadmill at all, and I just started jogging. I had no idea exactly how fast I was going, what my heart rate was, what incline I was at, or how many calories I was burning. The only thing I knew was how long I was jogging based on the clock in the gym. I just kept adjusting the speed until it felt about right. I would slow down when it get too difficult, and speed it up when it got too easy. I was making adjustments constantly. I found myself actually running a little faster than I normally did, or at least it felt that way. I felt like I wasn’t just moving, I felt like I was running.
Then I noticed some of the people on the other cardio machines, and how half of them were just reading, or watching the TV. They were moving, but I wouldn’t say they were exercising. They weren’t paying attention to the workout at all. It was as if they were just mindlessly moving. They looked a little too comfortable to be exercising if you asked me.
I’m no Iron Man, but even I know that’s not the way to exercise. Even if my treadmill had been working correctly, I would have still been constantly making adjustments anyway. That’s just the way I exercise. I like to be mindful of what I’m doing, and think about every muscle my body being activated. I like to think about the air going through my lungs.
I think the way people exercise, is very telling about how people conduct their lives in general. We either stay in our comfort zone, or we push ourselves. We are either in cruise control not paying attention to the road, or we are actively shifting gears to make our journey our own. We are either mindless going through the motions of our day, or we are mindfully engaged with our day. Which one are you?