The TV sets in our gym say it all.
There are maybe 10 or twelve of them, large LCD TV's mounted on the wall above the cardio machines. The sound is off, but you can jack in via a little box built in to the equipment. They are tuned to a variety of channels; this morning I looked up and saw MTV, some sports channel, and a news channel, among others. Invariably, Christine Cushing is cooking something up on the screen that's tuned into the Food Network.
I don't listen to the TVs, and I try not to watch. My best work-outs are maintained in a Zen-like state, fueled by the energy of my music and the exhilaration of feeling my body work and sweat. The TVs, when they catch my eye, take my mind off of working out, and I note my energy dropping to "just barely moving" when I am caught in the zombie ray.
I think a lot of people like that. I'm pretty sure that that's why the TVs are there in the first place... to lull the gym-goers into placidity. They can go to the gym, wiggle their arms and legs a little while watching TV, and then go home, content that they have "worked out", despite the fact that they barely broke a sweat and their heart rates rose only mildly.
Don't get me wrong, I think you still get some points for even just being in the gym. Even if you're hypnotized by the all-seeing eye, you are still getting more exercise than you would if you were on the couch, and that's always a good thing. But why not embrace the whole experience?
There is a glory found in the ability to move, a wonder in the unconscious grace your limbs possess, and a joy in the fierce act of work, exercise, effort and sweat that deserves to be felt and savoured. You won't be young and bendy and full of stamina forever, darlin'... enjoy it while you can.
It is my somewhat outspoken opinion that we have to live in our body (with all the respect, care and attention that that entails), not just use it to carry our eyes around from one helping of visual cotton candy to the next. How can we possibly revel in the wonders of life when we're so busy ignoring our bodies and sedating our minds?