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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Day Five at the Gym, or How to Battle an Angry, Overly Caffeinated Coworker.

Yesterday, I went to the gym.  This is not a big deal, but it was the first visit on consecutive days.  This is not a big deal for most people, but it was huge for me.  Working out is work, and it requires commitment, and a willingness to go two days in a row seems a good omen.

My gym, and in between
the machines you can see
my exercise cycle
There were several people, but it was not crowded.  "My treadmill" was in use, so I took "My exercise cycle," plugged in my podcast about the the Battle of Little Bighorn, (the Protestant Reformation is not a popular podcast subject, despite the influence it had on organized religion, and history) and I was off.  Pedaling, listening, and breathing.  Breathing is an involuntary reflex, it just happens, it doesn't require any thought, or input.  Thinking about it, though, is such a good idea.

Several years ago I attended Tae Kwon Do classes.  When I joined it was with superhero dreams.  Righting wrongs, defending the weak, being the voice of those who could not be heard, leaving a stream of broken, bleeding bullies, and criminals in my wake.  It didn't quite work out that way, though.  It was a lot of fun, some good exercise, and it taught me that breathing, in stressful situations, should be an interactive exercise.

When confronted by an angry co-worker, for example, accusations flying, "you drank the last of the coffee, and didn't make more, you slimy, worthless dog."  Here, I am compelled to point out, I like dogs, there is even a dog working in my department, say hello, Mr. Dog.  It is only the fictitious coworker, enraged by the lack of coffee, who is using the word dog as an insult.  This coworker, who is not based on any of my coworkers by the way, may have had enough coffee already.  As evidenced by the anger at having to brew a pot, which is not really all that difficult...  Wait.  Sorry.  Where were we?

Oh yes, breathing.  Anyway, tension, or fear, create a reaction, and breathing becomes rapid, and shallow.  It is probably useful, primal, helping to generate adrenaline or something, that at some point in our evolution helped us survive.  But, if a person who is tense, or frightened, concentrates on breathing, focusing on deep breaths, it will add oxygen to the blood stream, helping them relax, and maintain control.  Plus, it allows a distraction from the physical demands of "interval training."

Instead of thinking that I had reached my target heart rate, and could wind down, concentrating on breathing, focusing on each breath, allowed me to push a little farther, last a few minutes longer.  Making the pain the next day even more excruciating, just kidding, it is almost tolerable.  But, I finished the cardio portion of my workout, made a round through the resistance machines, and went home a little sore, a lot happy, and worried about the motives of mankind.

It seems a lot of the problems Custer faced in that battle may have been caused by political differences.  Turns out President Grant didn't care much General Custer, Custer had testified against Grant's Bureau of Indian Affairs, something to do with corruption.  Grant punished him by relieving him of command, a phrase that seems a little silly, it is probably not a relief at all, which is what makes it a punishment.  Of course, another reason for Grant's disdain may have been Custer's aversion to following orders.  And, he may not have been following orders when he attacked.  But, he has probably been punished enough for that indiscretion.

I am taking today off, no gym for me.  Tomorrow night I will be relaxing in style.  Feet up, working on my "New Improved Company Newsletter."  And looking for a podcast for tomorrow night, if you have any suggestions, please let me know.