Life was so much easier when the biggest debate at the gym was if the treadmill or elliptical was better.
A Scranton, Pennsylvania YMCA has banned 24-hour cable news channels like MSNBC, Fox News and CNN from their facility TVs because gym members kept getting into political arguments.
Some of the talks apparently got so heated that other members had to step in and defuse the situation.
“[T]here was one near-fight that was broken up by another member that was just about ready to go physical, and we’ve had members step forward saying they’ve felt a little uncomfortable about the arguments that were going on over the politics,” Trish Fisher, the gym’s chief executive, told a local news channel earlier this week.
Fisher told The Washington Post that the decision to cut the cable cord was met with both praise and criticism. She noted, however, that the atmosphere appears to be calmer since the channels were removed.
“I am all about people’s right to have open debate but safety is our No. 1 priority,” Fisher said.
Beyond safety, research shows constant exposure to negative news can take a toll on mental health. Recent polls also suggest that a majority of Americans are stressed over the future of the country. Working out has been shown to relieve anxiety and improve overall well-being, so maybe a little fitness time without wall-to-wall political coverage is a good thing.
We can get our TV privileges back when we learn to play nice. At least at the gym, please.