Disease Proof

Do Androids Lift Electric Weights?

Now in this ever-wonderous age of technology we live in, I’ve noticed something. Gyms are being invaded by cyborgs! I see it everyday. At my gym everyone and I do mean everyone, comes wired with some sort of battery powered device. Be it a mp3 player, cellphone, or one of those blackberry thingies—sometimes all three!

And, in the odd chance that someone is not toting a gadget they are usually utterly transfixed by at least one of the dozen television screens. That in most cases are actually mounted to the treadmills. Personally I don’t mix entertainment and exercise. For me, music and TV are just background noise. I like to focus on what I’m doing, I don’t know, something about holding heavy weights above my head makes me want to pay attention, call me crazy.

Well according to this article by the Associated Press my attitude might be a good thing. It seems some experts believe all these gadgets can distract us from listening to our bodies. As the report points out this can be potentially hazardous. Michael Hill has more:
But are those distractions good or bad for exercisers? Researchers say it cuts both ways. Yes, a dose of video or audio can inspire better workouts. But distractions can also hurt performance. In a way, music can add some static to the mind-body connection…


… In a 2005 study, British researchers put 18 undergraduates on stationary bicycles to pedal either to silence or to "popular electronic dance music" on headphones. Participants worked about 13 percent harder to the up-tempo music compared to silence. One of the researchers, Sam Carr, suggested in an e-mail interview that music competes with an exercisers' awareness of how hard they're breathing, or how much their legs ache.
Okay, I admit it, the Rocky theme song makes me workout a little harder. But how many of you have been running and all of a sudden that Eye of the Tiger song comes on? Then you crank the treadmill up real high only to bring it down real low before the song is over, while exaggerating some kind of ache. Guilty!
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Sara - January 17, 2007 3:26 PM

I've got to go with music on the elliptical (or treadmill for that matter) both for the beat and to keep from getting bored. I used to do elliptical without music, but after 15 minutes it gets tiresome. But a CD player or such while lifting weights ?? That sounds dangerous. By the way, I secure my CD player with a big rubber band. I broke one when it crashed to the floor off the elliptical shelf.

Monty - January 17, 2007 3:40 PM

In regard to using a battery-powered CD player in the gym, I find that I need it to block out the omnipresent noise on the loudspeaker system that fills the entire building. To make it worse, recently they've started a new program that mixes extra-loud advertising with the primitive howling that is supposed to be music. As a result, I have to keep the CD player on all the time, playing either Mozart flute concertos, Bach orchestral suites, or the Ot Azoy Klezmer Band, except when the player gets in the way of an exercise. In addition, there are also giant-screen TV's going all over the place, with groups of people clustered in front of them like the proles around Big Brother's Telescreen or the TV walls in Fahrenheit 451. Thses I can just walk past or not use the earpiece for the sound.

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