Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Now I Know Why I Hate Exercise!

posted by Linda Mintle

I saw this story yesterday in the Wall Street Journal on exercise and I had to write about it. Finally, something that made sense in terms of why I hate to exercise!

Like you, I know the importance of exercise. It has so many benefits–controlling weight and maintaing weight loss, helps prevent strokes, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancers, arthritis and falls. It improves mood and boosts energy and I always feel better AFTER I do it. But can I just say that nothing in me gets excited about exercise. Who has time for it? I only do it because I am a grown up. And grown ups do things that are good for them, even when they don’t enjoy those things.


But too many of us are not forcing ourselves up from the couch. Only 3.5% of 20-59 year olds get the recommended amount of exercise!

And baby boomers, well, we are just embarrassing. 52% of us get NO physical activity. Zero! Zip!

So let’s talk biology and how that influences the lovers and haters, of exercise that is!

Apparently, we all have a physical capacity for exertion. New research is confirming the idea that if you push beyond your exertion range too quickly or too much, you can hate exercise. The biology part has to do with how carbon dioxide and oxygen work together. When the balance isn’t good–excessive carbon dioxide is released–the body gets stressed. And when your body feels stressed, you don’t like it. People have different thresholds. If you have a high threshold for exertion like Olympians must have, you enjoy the exercise better than someone who gets exhausted watering the plants.


Experts suggest that if we don’t exercise, use tricks like listening to music, exercising in nature, watching TV (while exercising of course) etc.  When we go beyond our exertion point, feeling bad happens anyway. This means we have to stick with exercise so we can push our limit. In other words, don’t give up because it doesn’t feel good at the moment.

One other point is this: How you react and interpret a physical workout influences your love for it. For example, if you see yourself sweating and breathing hard and think, “This is good, I am getting fit,” versus “Oh my gosh, what am I doing to myself?” you will probably hate exercise less.

Bottom line:

1) Don’t push yourself too fast–do something you like that doesn’t hurt too much. If you are a couch potato, don’t start exercising by scaling a mountain.


2) Make it fun. Do exercise with others. This sure helps my motivation.

3) Find something you are good at. I think my cheerleading days are over here at mid life. Don’t think I could hit a back handspring these days. But, Pilates, yes, I can manage those moves.

4) Use the tricks–I can only do the treadmill or stair machines if I have a TV and music to distract me. Thank goodness someone thought to attach those to my machines at the Y.

OK grown ups, get off the couch. You know what to do!


Source: Wall Street Journal, Personal Journal, Tuesday February 19, 2013. 


Parenting Preschools: One Change Makes a Huge Difference

posted by Linda Mintle

Preschoolers learn by  imitating others. So is it any wonder that if the average preschooler spends 4.5 hours a day (way to much!) in front of a TV, that the content would teach him or her a thing or two?

A study reported in Pediatrics, looked at 617 families in terms of the impact of TV viewing on preschoolers. Apparently, shows like Veggie Tales  may not only breed a love for vegetables, but other people as well. Here is what they found.

When parents changed the content of what preschoolers were watching away from violence and aggression, the preschoolers’ behavior improved. Not only did they see a decline in aggression and being difficult, but they also saw an improvement in social behavior towards others (empathy, helpfulness, respectful, sharing and concern for others). And the impact of that change remained  6 and 12 months after the changes were made.


Important to note was that parents did not change the amount of TV viewing, only the content.

Remember, the recommendation for hours of TV viewing for preschoolers is less than 2 hours every day. So even though the number of hours watched was too high (a contributor to childhood obesity), changing the content made a difference in behavior.

And low income boys in the study who watched television the most, benefitted the most.

The take aways for parents:

1) Provide children with kind, compassionate role models on TV–do away with aggression and violence and you will see an improvement in behavior.

2) Monitor the hours of TV watched. Even though the study did not decrease the amount of TV, the conclusion is clear–what kids watch influences their behavior and too much screen viewing is linked to childhood obesity.

Parents, this is simple change with huge benefits. Monitor what your children are watching!


Is Your Co-Worker’s Affair Any of Your Business?

posted by Linda Mintle

It’s no secret that Andrew and his co-worker, Renee were having an affair at the office.

What is surprising is that no one seems to care!

According to’s 2013 Office Romance Survey, the majority of people surveyed thought that office affairs are no big deal and none of their business. Maybe that is because 56% of those surveyed said they have been involved in office romance and 35% have had an office tryst.


It gets dicier: Almost a third of those surveyed said they had  an office “wife or husband”–meaning, they did not a romantic relationship at work, but had someone in the office with whom they hung out with all the time. Why is this a problem? Because we know that proximity and spending a lot of time together are risk factors for affairs. It’s like playing with fire.

So should we care?

Affairs are about betrayal and secrecy so, yes, we should care. People are always hurt in the end.

And here is the part I find incredible, 76% said that a romantic office relationship did NOT impact their personal or professional relationships with other co-workers. If you are sneaking around, cheating on your partner, blurring the lines of authority, etc., why wouldn’t that spill over to other relationships in the work place? It reminds me of  women who marry cheating men and then expect them to be faithful. If he cheated on you, chances are it will happen again if no changes are made.


Like President Clinton who shook his finger at the camera and told America he did not have sex with that woman, we try to compartmentalize our lives when it comes to office romance. Compartmentalizing is when you put part of your life on one shelf (an affair at the office), another on a different shelf (a family at home) and believe the two shelves will never touch each other. I think we all know how well that eventually works out. Ask the former President. The shelves eventually come crashing down.

In my mind, if you care about a co-worker and know he/she is having an affair, care enough to talk to the person about it. Help the person see that betrayal and secrecy never end well. You might help save a marriage and help avoid a great deal of emotional pain.


Feel Alone in Marriage?

posted by Linda Mintle

Feeling alone in your marriage? Well you are not alone–at least when it comes to that feeling.

According to a comprehensive study of marriage by Penn State researcher Paul Amato and others, couples are spending less time together than ever. Spouses are eating alone, doing friend and other activities apart from their spouses. For some couples this trend is troubling. It loosens the attachment so important to creating a strong marriage.

When emotional connections are stronger with those outside the marriage than inside, there is a risk for affairs. And maintaining the marital friendship is the foundation of what Gottman calls a strong marital house. So what can a couple do if they find themselves drifting apart and vacationing alone?


One idea is to find an emotionally focused couples therapist (EFT–emotionally focused therapy) who works on creating a safe and secure attachment in the marriage. The therapy can help couples develop a feeling of togetherness, become more open and responsive to each other. Therapy helps couples look at deeper feelings under their behavior and resolve hurts and wounds that may be prompting the separateness. Others couples may just need to make spending time together a priority and re-engage in together activities again. When couples spend time together and turn to each other in times of difficulty, the marital bond grows.

So if you are feeling alone, pay attention to that feeling and do something about it. While you may be one of the few people who is not bothered by living a parallel life with your partner, most of us want that secure and safe attachment based on marital friendship and togetherness.

Study from: Alone Together: How Marriage in America Is Changing, (Harvard University Press, 2007)

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