During a trip to Nashville for a speaking engagement, I was in a gym where each piece of aerobic exercise equipment had its own TV and there were no large screen TVs.
Usually those big-screen TVs are blaring, and half the time they are on a channel I find unappealing (the other half of the time, when it’s sports, I am happy with the content, but still unhappy with the volume.) If I am unhappy, there is a whole etiquette thing I feel requires me to ask others if I can change the channel and if I can turn the volume down. Sometimes I do that; often I just try to ignore it.
On that day, I started my stretching routine, followed by that day’s “scheduled” weight lifting regimen (I alternate days), and found the quiet to be a welcome change.
I noticed I was being more present in my workout. I was paying attention to the reps in a way I usually don’t. And I liked that.
I often find exercise to be boring. At home, I stretch and lift weights with the TV on, watching ESPN or a show on the DVR. And when I ride my stationary bike or walk on my treadmill, I usually read. I know I could be getting a more intense workout if I wasn’t reading, but I also might not exercise as long if I was bored, and as someone always looking to make time for reading, the combination of reading and exercise is a win-win for me.
During that quiet visit in the Nashville gym, I found my mind wandering to thoughts about the speech I was giving that day over lunch. I thought of some good ideas. That, in turn, reminded me of the experience of having good ideas during other times of quiet solitude—in the shower, in the car, and in bed in the middle of the night.
The quiet and mindfulness while stretching and lifting weights made me want to experience that more often—and I will.
Do you give yourself a chance to experience quiet? Join the conversation with your comments…