Sunday, April 30, 2023

Electronic minimalism around the exercise bike

 When I used to train as a junior rower, one of the things I identified about aerobic activity is that if someone interrupts you during it, your reaction might be more severely annoyed than if you were at resting heart rate.

I've experimented with all manner of electronic distractions to put in front of an exercise bike.  In grad school, one of the projects I worked on was a VR rig for indoor cycling.   At home years later I had a big TV and Chromecast on a mount in front of the bike.

None of these were ever that satisfying for riding.

I had an insight today on my indoor bike:  the visually-heavy solutions for distraction can be an annoyance, where something calmer might be more sustainable.

Currently I have my bike facing out a big window where I can see some trees, I had a "keto" podcast playing, and I had a heart rate readout on my wrist.  Built into the bike is an RPM monitor and difficulty control.  This was a pretty calming combination, and I didn't feel like I missed more of a distraction.

When I was a rower, I didn't even really like headphones in, much less a TV to stare at.  I can foresee a point where the podcast becomes annoying at higher exertion rates, and I just want to listen to techno, or nothing at all.

So maybe try a bit of minimalism around your exercise experience?