There are many realities we must face as we age: We can get out of touch with popular culture, the musical and sports heroes of our youth start dying off at an alarming rate, and hair grows in the absolute worst places at a rate that astonishes scientists.
We also, of course, tend to gain weight and keep it on more easily. You can have one taco dinner and – bam! – you gain 5 pounds. And at my age, it takes me a week to work off those pounds. When I was 25, I could lose the weight walking back to the car.
It’s true, life isn’t fair.
But we do our best to fight the demon known as fat to the best of our abilities. I have been having some real success lately, and I always feel better when I shed some pounds.
One thing I don’t do, however, is go to the gym. I have never in my life been the kind of person who wants to go sweat next to complete strangers. I have a treadmill at home in the basement, and I can turn on the TV and sweat in the privacy of my own home.
I will certainly never be a gym bro.
A lot of people love to go to the gym, and I get it. It can be a communal experience. You can work out, stare at yourself in the mirror, talk about health food and generally be totally healthy and stuff.
I recently read about a gym chain that took being healthy to a new level, though, by banning 24-hour cable news channels from all of its locations (there are none in the area, sadly).
I have said it before in this space – 24-hour news channels are the junk food of news. They have no real benefits … at all. CNN, Fox, MSNBC – they are junk food for the mind. You don’t get anything healthy, just a brain full of fatty muck. People who watch one particular cable news channel or another generally know less about what is really going on in the world than those who never watch.
This gym knows that, and understands that mental health is incredibly important. If you are stuck in a cycle of news that simply reinforces one side or the other of our growing political divide, you are not living a healthy lifestyle.
Honestly, I think people lined up on treadmills or other equipment at a gym would rather not be assaulted by cable news programs when they are trying to do something good for their bodies. I know I would rather watch “Sesame Street” than cable news – it is more intelligent and actually serves a purpose.
I wish more gyms and other businesses would follow suit. I generally avoid places that have a TV running cable news in the background, and I don’t care which channel it is, either. It seems to make no sense for a legitimate business to force people to watch illegitimate news programming.
I am all for getting healthy, and that includes our mental health. As we know, there can be some cold, dark days around here in the winter. Propping yourself in front of the TV watching cable news hour after hour is just not healthy.
So, let’s get serious about our health and pay attention to what we put into our bodies, and that includes where we get our information. Being engaged in your own life and health will pay off for our entire society.