Forget Jazzercise. Say Hello to Textercise. And It’s Anything But Healthy

Ask the doctors and the health professionals and they all say the same thing. Exercise is good for our bodies and our minds. It’s probably why they recommend us adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. Yet, only 23% of us do. And it’s getting harder for the rest of us every day. Hear of distracted driving? How about distracted exercising? And it’s getting worse.

All of us are pressed for time and not getting any less busy. A few years ago, I consulted with a trainer on how to spend my increasingly more limited time more productively when it came to working out at the gym. He started me on a system known as “super setting” whereby you alternate between two different exercises (often one upper and one lower body) without stopping. And whether it’s three sets of ten or four sets of twelve for each, typically you can get through two different exercises (and a total of 30-60 reps) in about 5 or 6 minutes. Then you move on to two more exercises, etc., etc. This is opposed to the time worn traditional method of sitting on one machine or doing one exercise with rests of about a minute in between each set that take up twice the time. Confused? My point is, “super setting” gets you through a workout faster, works your heart and burns calories more effectively and ties up equipment, machines or weights for lesser periods of time. At least, it should work that way.

Something I have begun noticing more and more is people sitting on machines or weight benches for an inordinate amount of time. Like, 20 minutes. Why? Their cell phones. They do a set, then sit there and text, and text, and text. Do a set. Back to texting, and texting and texting. Why should I or others at the gym care about this? Besides bad form from a physical and considerate standpoint, such individuals are actually poised to negatively affect both their and our health. Too much rest in between sets does not work one’s heart or heart rate effectively. At the same time, their sitting there does not allow you or I access to that equipment and, in turn, affects our workout. It’s like second hand smoke; the unhealthy actions of some can affect the health of others who don’t deserve it.

Now, before my friends in the cell phone industry cry foul, I am not blaming phones. It is our society’s behavior and increasing over-reliance on staying in touch and online anywhere and everywhere. And it is happening more and more with young and old alike. Work out at home you say? I actually enjoy getting out and exercising with people who are similarly inclined and dedicated. It serves as a great motivator and provides teaching moments for discovering new things. Maybe the question should be: Are we there to workout or are we there to text? Here’s another question: How might all of this affect our insurance rates in the future?

As I was leaving today, somewhat frustrated as usual, I noticed a woman who obviously takes working out seriously as she was in great shape. She was on her phone texting but in one corner of the warm-up area where she would not get in anyone’s way nor logjam equipment. She finished up, put her phone away and headed for the machines and a productive workout. She gets it – with considerate gym etiquette that is not only keeping her healthy but will help the rest of us work(out) toward a similar, positive end goal. After all, it’s nice to stay in touch but as important to stay in shape.