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Why soap opera, workout don’t mix

By Edward A. Forbes

The Bulletin

I used to enjoy walking or jogging, but that was many decades ago; I now seek distraction while I am slogging away on a treadmill at the Wellness Center at UTMB in Angleton, which followed my Silver Sneakers workout recently.

I look up, and the TV is on. It’s “The Young And The Restless.” Please save me, I thought!

This soap opera is an hour long, and it’s in its 50th year. They are still restless, but most are no longer young. I hate soap operas. I can watch TV at home when on my treadmill. I can pick a program or one I’ve recorded with commercial skipping (a refreshing add-on). I walk at the Wellness Center, because if I do it immediately after the Silver Sneakers’ workout, I just do it.

If I wait until I get home, there is a 50% chance that I will get distracted, and it won’t happen.

Please save me!

I see people walking, some looking at their watches, which I assume are Fitbits, Apple Watches, or their equivalents. Some are listening to music on earbuds, and some are jogging with friends.

What I prefer, more than the TV, is to read. I know it sounds crazy, but I can put my Kindle in one of the cup holder slots and read happily as the time flies by. So far, I have remained upright during my reading-accompanied excursions; you wouldn’t want to try this outside, and I’m not sure about trying it at the Wellness Center.

I would like to become a healthy, physically conditioned individual. I have no chance of becoming addicted to exercise any more than I have a chance of becoming a victim of orthorexia nervosa (an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy foods, avoiding unhealthy foods, and suffering imagined illnesses if violating the healthy foods requirement).

Little Debbie and I have far too close of a relationship for that to happen. (Nutty Buddy is my buddy.)

So, I go back to the Wellness Center. I take a poll of other people on exercise machines, and if no one is watching, I ask one of our task masters for a channel change.

It turns out they all like Jeopardy, and it’s on the last 30 minutes of The Old and the Tired.

The channel is changed to Jeopardy. I would rather give wrong answers on Jeopardy than be stuck on the soap opera.

I have noticed that the social aspect of sessions seems to be as important as the professionally guided workouts. I think everyone leaves in a good mood with a smile on their faces.

I do realize that these people aren’t strapped down and forced to watch The Old and the Disturbed. I also realize if they are busy visiting with one another that the TV programming won’t bother them at all.

Meanwhile, I huff and puff and trudge along at a brisk - for me - 3.2 mph and treadmill elevated to 3.5. Like “The Little Train That Could”, I go puff puff, chug chug and occasionally, Ding Dong. I will make my 30 minutes on the treadmill or bust.

Come on, Jeopardy!

(Edward Forbes wants to hear from you. Email him at or send comments by snail mail to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX. 77516.)


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