Exercise! - Why does a 1/2 hour or hour of tv go fast, but cardio goes so slow?

07-06-2007, 12:57 AM
Why does a 1/2 hour or hour of tv go fast, but cardio goes so slow? I was thinking that tonight. I made myself do an hour of cardio, usually I can only do 1/2 hour before I just can't stand it anymore. Tonight I mixed tv and cardio at the ymca, I don't usually watch a lot of tv, but what is it? A 1/2 hour or hour of tv (being a couch potato) goes quick and cardio goes on and on forever. A 1/2 hour seems like forever sometimes. It might be that I'm starting at the clock too much, does it tick slower if you watch?

07-06-2007, 01:02 AM
You're right. I try to do something while I do the cardio to help the process. Usually I listen to music. If I'm at the gym I listen to music AND watch whatever's on the tv! Anything to help time fly!

07-06-2007, 01:09 AM
Its the same with me...it seems like my hour of cardio takes FOREVER...but an hour watching one of my favorite shows on tv? Not so much.

Also, the first five minutes are the WORST...then I guess I get "used to it" and find my rhythm. I have to have music when I work out though. I've tried to work out without my IPOD and almost lost my mind.

Suzanne 3FC
07-06-2007, 01:54 AM
Me too! I absolutely can't exercise without music. It makes the time just fly by. I lost my mp3 charger last year and couldn't exercise for a few weeks while I waited on the replacement to arrive :o

Christine in NJ
07-06-2007, 08:05 AM
I made myself do an hour of cardio, usually I can only do 1/2 hour before I just can't stand it anymore.

There is part of your answer right there. You "made" yourself do the cardio. TV is something we do when we don't care. It's a mindless activity that requires little effort, and goes by quickly because our brains tune out a little bit even if we are really into the show. Mind you, I'm not bad mouthing tv. I am probably the most obsessive tv watcher out there (even during the summer I have a show to watch every night!!), but part of the enjoyment of watching is not being totally engaged by anything.

When we work out, our body is in motion, so our mind feels the need to pay attention as well (safety mechanism so we don't fall on our face on the treadmill, which is not an issue with the couch). Add to that the feeling that you are making yourself do something, automatically says to your brain "I don't want to be doing this" and it thinks that the whole time, making every minute agony.

I had the same problem when I started working out, and found that if I distract my brain the workout goes much more quickly. I started by playing DDR, and it was a video game, so time flew by (ok, not at first, but as I got better). Then I found Turbojam, which I really enjoyed watching and doing, so most of the time, that didn't seem that bad. Now, I have a gym with TVs, so I can watch that while I work out, or I bring music, in case nothing is on, and that distracts my brain so I don't mind working out so much.

07-06-2007, 11:08 AM
Wow, Christine, good analysis! That makes total sense.

I meet a buddy on treadmills at the gym, and having some idle conversation with him helps the time pass. Yes, some good music makes a big difference when you're alone, and the TVs help. Some people can read, but I seem to only be able to page through a magazine.

I also find it interesting that every day I do the same workout at the same time (for now), yet some days I really struggle with it and other days I could go on forever. This does NOT necessarily correlate with how much sleep I got, or if I woke up feeling good or not.

07-06-2007, 11:33 AM
I like to do cardio in the evening while watching CSI :D I love CSI so much, so the exercising goes by quick... enough. I mean, it goes by quicker than it usually does, though the episode of CSI starts feeling realllyyyyyy loooooong :lol:

07-06-2007, 11:48 AM
time dilation....;)

indoor cardio....slooooow - after about 15 minutes I am in mental agony regardless of music or tv distractions

outdoor cardio flies on by. Doesnt feel like its been even 20 minutes some days and its been 75 - feels way shorter than an hour of tv.

07-06-2007, 12:48 PM
I find it goes my much quicker when I am not watching the clock. I also read while on the elliptical (thank goodness for large print books!) and listen to music. By setting my time at the beginning and then covering up the time counter, I think less about how long I have been on and just let myself get into the workout and the book.

07-06-2007, 01:56 PM
I cut back satelite at home because I wasn't watching it enough, bought rabbit ears and only have five stations. So I need to figure out how to use this to my advantage at the gym, pick some shows I really want to watch and go at those times. Seems sick but the last time I went and watched some celebrity show I used to like and time flew. Before I was flipping through magazines and that helped time go by too. Perhaps it is my mind set, that I'm "making" myself do cardio and I don't really like it. Truth is once I'm done I feel better and it improves my moods, and I like to see the scale going down too. I think I'm doing some negative self talk like "see how lazy you are"... "you won't lose the weight"... "you know you'll quit again"... "you buy all of these magazines, books on fitness and can't stick with it"... etc. Rather then thinking of how step by step I'm getting more athletic, I'm losing a little weight, I feel better, it's paying off, and heck, look at these women at this website that lost more then 18 lbs that I have to go, if they can do it I can!

07-06-2007, 02:04 PM
I also find it interesting that every day I do the same workout at the same time (for now), yet some days I really struggle with it and other days I could go on forever. This does NOT necessarily correlate with how much sleep I got, or if I woke up feeling good or not.

I have the same problem. Some days I get on the treadmill and fly and other days I struggle just to walk on an incline. I wish I could figure out what it correlates to because it is annoying.

07-06-2007, 02:06 PM
Indoor cardio does seem much longer than outdoor. :) I do several things: I cover the timer when possible (and I can't see the wall clock); I listen to audiobooks; I watch/listen to TV (the ones in my gym are kind of far away, but for a music or talk show they're okay, and on the elliptical, the sound goes off if you're not moving). When I want to do intervals (or HIIT) I use a podcast that was made for C25K. My knees won't let me run (outside or on treadmill) but I can use the elliptical just fine. So when the running sections come up, I just up my rpms and play a little game with myself keeping them in a 5 pt range.

07-06-2007, 02:12 PM
LOL yeah, I had a rude awakening when I got on the treadmill and found out what 4mph felt like. I'd assumed that, since I'm considered a fast walker, I was walking at 4mph when I walk outside. Not so!

I happily truck along at 4mph on a treadmill, walking. I increase intensity, incline, or time if I need to vamp it up, but I'm afraid of running. I could do it, yes, but carrying an extra 100 pounds would surely wreck my knees. I heard that when running, on full impact your foot experiences three times your normal weight. Maybe I will run when I am near goal weight.

07-06-2007, 02:57 PM
My cardio is my recumbrant bike, and I watch General Hospital while doing it. :rofl: During the winter, I watch others teams' hockey games on TV. I'm too interested in watching the show or game to notice that I'm doing cardio, however, I do check to make sure my heart rate is up at all times. Otherwise, I don't watch the clock until commercial time, to see where I am at in terms of minutes. One night, I was so engrossed into the Pittsburgh Penguins/Ottawa Sens game, the period lasted almost an hour, and I didn't even realize I had been doing it for that long without checking the time. :rofl:

Without TV, hockey games, or music, I wouldn't be able to do it. :D

07-06-2007, 03:06 PM
I wish I had a TV in my workout room. Just an ipod and that isn't enough....I get bored looking at the walls! But it's too hot to exercise outdoors right now (116 anyone?).

07-06-2007, 04:44 PM
I think I'm going to mostly do the recumbant bike with tv from now on. I can't stand the epil. trainer, bores me to death and I'm with Steelslady, kick back, relax and watch tv. I'm going to try that, stop watching the timer and just keep an eye on my heart rate to make sure it's up, pick a good show and let time fly by a little faster. The articles say you don't get as good of a workout if you watch tv or read but so what, at least I'm doing it.

07-06-2007, 05:49 PM
That's why I always have to change up my exercise. If I get bored doing it it's harder for me to continue. Also I listen to podcasts so that helps pass the time.

07-06-2007, 08:08 PM
I like mixing up exercise dvd's too.

07-08-2007, 11:41 AM
It sounds counterintuitive, but the more intensely I work out, the faster the time goes by. Maybe I'm so focused on surviving the experience that I don't have time to think about how long it is? Or maybe it's an endorphin rush?

The only cardio I can do now is the elliptical due to bad knees. So I play little games ... the first rule is that I have to hit 5000 strides in 30 minutes, no matter how high the resistance is. Then I do all sorts of intervals, like 2 minutes at 85% max HR alternating with 1 minute at 95%, for the half hour. And change the incline up and down every two minutes and go backwards and just change it up all the time. I'm never doing the same thing for more than two minutes in a row. The final rule is the last two minutes have to be over 200 strides per minute. I make it into a big game, with different rules every day, and it keeps me interested.

Of course, I have my iPod! Can't do cardio without music. And for whatever reason, the time flies by. :D

07-11-2007, 12:55 PM
I think great music is the key. Of course, my cardio is a step type class. The first 5 or 10 are hard because i am tired from sitting all day at a desk and you are warming up muscles that would rather just go home and lay in the bed. But once i get warmed up, i find the music in class helps me to keep my eyes off the clock...for the most part. I'm not saying my class goes by too quickly or anything....nooooo....but it doesn't drag on as much as if i were at home trying to workout to a video tape. I just need that music pounding in my ears and other people to help me stay motivated to keep going to the end.

when i used to walk on the treadmill for my cardio, i thought 45 minutes would never go by. I would try to find a magazine with a really interesting article in it and get lost in that.