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A treadmill story

I spend 1/24 of my day working out on the treadmill, even though I was never athletic. In fact, I was often one of the last kids picked for teams in gym class.

I hated gym class.

After a weight gain in my 20s, a consequence perhaps of quitting the awful habit of smoking, I joined Vic Tanny, the yuppie health club of its time. Ironically, it was at the urging my mom, who had joined a few months earlier. If she could do it, so could I.

Totally unrelated to the story.

There, I walked/jogged the track, until I was able to run for three miles at a slow but steady pace. I also rode the stationary bike for as long as it took me to read an entire issue of People Magazine. And I swam lengths in the pool for 30 minutes at a time. (Take that, gym class snobs.)

Eventually, I lost two dress sizes, cementing that daily workout habit.

An empty-nester now, I’ve long since traded the health club membership for a piece of equipment called the treadmill, otherwise known as a place to hang your clothes. Not to brag, but my husband and I actually use ours, preferring the convenience of exercising at home over driving to the nearest fitness facility.

Even though it makes life simpler, I still need a distraction from the pain and effort of working out. While I have lots of music on my phone I can listen to, I tend to favor watching shows on the telly. Turns out, some shows are better suited to the task of calorie-burning than others.

We recently replaced the cable-only TV in our treadmill room with a smart TV. I thought it an opportunity to finally stream all those shows on Amazon Prime, Hulu and the like. Shows that win awards. That people talk about on the Internet. That are of the time.

Talk about distraction.

And yes, the first episode of “The Handmaid’s Tale” is gripping. But the storyline isn’t exactly cheerful. I’m going for the runner’s high when I work out. You know, endorphins and all that. So I can’t seem to muster up the energy for another episode, lest I end up in therapy from all the bleakness.

We recently hooked an Ultra-cable box from my son’s room to the smart TV in the treadmill room. So not only can we stream shows, we can still watch cable and all the glorious shows I’ve recorded but never watched.

So while I think I should take advantage of “the stream,” I find myself drawn to back to cable, particularly HGTV and TLC. The pursuit of perfection on Say Yes to the Dress. The bickering on Love It or List It. The endless entertainment of House Hunters.

If my attention wanders it’s no big deal. It’s not like I’ll miss a plot line.

Binging an entire series is a commitment. You feel like you can’t watch anything else until you’re done watching the whole darned thing. Added stress, if you ask me. Especially for a show that may as well be called, Life’s a Total Bummer.

The only stress I want to feel when I work out is the stress of working out. And it’s good stress, because it releases endorphins, remember?

I’ll wait until we replace the cable-only TV in the family room with a smart one to watch those other shows. Because those are the kind to watch before you go to bed. Not while trying to maintain a girlish figure.


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January 15, 2019 - 6:44 pm

Bob Wonnacott - Great posting. It makes me want to read my instruction manual for my smart TV. I’ve never used it as a smart TV as I have cable hooked up to it. Cable is getting soooo expensive, I think it’s time to look into alternatives. Congratulations on your workout regime. You have more will power than I have. Thanks for your story.

January 15, 2019 - 6:47 pm

pamhoughton - Hey thanks for reading, Bob!

May 29, 2019 - 9:05 pm

pamhoughton - test

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