Distracted Cardio


by Kelsey Davidson

Does this sound familiar?

  • Tie up the shoe laces
  • Head to the workout room
  • Turn on the Netflix
  • And turn on the Dreadmill (aka the treadmill that you dread)
  • “Game on” for the next 30 minutes.

I have heard from others about this many times and I have also done them myself.  I’m not going to say I haven’t spent hours on a treadmill watching movies: I have. In reality being on a treadmill for 30 minutes or a hour can be painful both physically and mentally. Every thought of what we could be doing instead of running on a treadmill comes to mind and temptation to hit that red  “STOP” button comes up every 90 seconds: it can be really tedious. I feel it. I also feel the opportunity to accomplish the one task at hand which is running a specific time or distance and not checking out.

Oliur / Unsplash

When we hit that green “START/GO” button and then turn on the newest episode of Netflix we lose ourselves and our task. In those moments of stride after stride, arms swinging and Netflix-watching, we start to check out.

  • Check out of our foot strike
  • Check out of our arm swing
  • Check out of our breathing
  • Check out of our posture
  • Check out of our pace
  • Check out of our stance
  • Check out of our hip position

Everything slowly becomes out of alignment and this is where injuries happen….dun dun.. Dunnnnnn ….trouble!

I know running 10 minutes or a hour on a treadmill can feel like days but believe me, it will feel a hundred times longer if you get injured. Distracted cardio is a real issue. It’s important that we feel our foot strike, that we keep our chest up and open, that we keep our arms pumping and not flailing. It’s important that we keep checked into the task at hand and that we stay focused.

It doesn’t mean we can’t have fun while experiencing it.

Some of my best thoughts, ideas and dreams have come while running on the “dreadmill”. To be honest, the thought of having my own fitness company came to me while I was running.

Running can increase your creativity and give you a different perspective on life–but only when you are tapped into running and not a screen!

On the scientific side, running has been proven to be a form of meditation. The thought of “Flow” was introduced by Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian psychologist  in the 1970s. He introduced “flow” as a state of being totally and blissfully immersed in a task, while happening almost on a higher level. Many runners have felt this, and have referred to these feelings like the euphoric “runners high”. This was also explained as when “existence is temporarily suspended”. While in this subjective state, he noted that there was a merging of action and awareness between participants and a “distortion of temporal experience” meaning that time had passed more quickly than assumed. Ask a runner how long they have been running, and usually they will say “x amount of minutes but felt like five!”

Here you go, one of the few times spirituality and science are on the same page!

Next time you are about to get into that routine of “dreadmill” exercises, try to break the pattern and tap into your body, mind and spirit while you fly through the miles.


Kelsey Davidson is a certified life coach, experienced fitness professional and founder of her own consulting practice called Alive Fitness and Wellness. (Bio photo: Jenifer Sander Photography).



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