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A Publication of WTVP

Many commercial health and fitness facilities can be hot, noisy, crowded, and filled with social tension. What makes up the ideal environment for a workout? While some of these elements will be difficult to achieve in many commercial health clubs or home settings, here are suggestions on how to incorporate these elements in your location of choice.

  • Privacy. Productive exercise can be intense and challenging. During exercise, we may have the tendency to breathe heavily, grimace, or grunt. Even if we're extremely disciplined, putting forth a maximum effort is diminished in front of an audience. It's important to have a serious, focused mindset when working out. Further, people who need physical conditioning the most sometimes avoid a gym for fear of being seen in workout attire. Preferably, the only person observing you should be a qualified, trusted instructor.
  • Quiet. Music is present in most health clubs for the purpose of inspiring one to work harder. Even if you enjoy the music being played, it can be counterproductive for your workout. The rhythm and beat of music are designed to make us move in accordance with it. Except for an aerobics class, it's unlikely the beat of a particular song will produce an appropriate and safe workout cadence. During non-peak hours, the manager may be willing to turn off or lower the volume of the music. Wearing foam earplugs also can improve your concentration.
  • No Distractions. Mirrors are present in most gyms, but they provide no value to a workout. Some might argue they help you monitor your form. However, it's better to internalize a highly skilled exercise movement rather than to rely on a mirror to monitor and direct your movements. Mirrors pull visual objects or other people into your field of vision and make you visible to everyone else in the room. The bright colors in most health clubs have shown to be distracting. Inappropriately dressed members or instructors also can be a disruption. A great deal of workout attire isn't designed for functionality; instead, it's designed to attract attention.
  • Cool Temperature. Demanding muscular work produces a lot of body heat. This heat can be produced so rapidly that the body can't dissipate it quickly enough, and the temperature within the muscles starts to rise. You'll fatigue prematurely because of heat buildup. When conduction and convection fail as heat reduction mechanisms, your body resorts to an evaporative heat loss mechanism: sweating. If the workout room can be kept at low temperatures, you can effectively lose exercise-related heat buildup through conduction and convection, without a drop of sweat on you. Dress coolly; exposing skin allows you more surface area to lose heat from. Ask the management to turn down the thermostat and turn on any fans, and avoid crowded times.

With knowledge of what constitutes an ideal workout environment, you can make choices to get the most possible out of your health club or home environment. IBI

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