A national fitness chain is exercising its right to control what channels appear on its TVs, and that means no more cable news.
Earlier this month, Life Time, a fitness chain with 128 locations in the U.S. and Canada, decreed that all national cable network news stations be eliminated from its TV screens.
The Minnesota-based gym chain posted a statement on Twitter explaining that the decision was inspired by customer feedback.
The goal is “to provide family oriented environments free of consistently negative or politically charged content.”
The statement said the change “is consistent” with the chain’s “healthy way of life philosophy.”
News junkies hoping to catch up on the day’s events will have to make do with USA, A&E, Discovery, HGTV, ESPN and whatever local channels are available, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
There are also plans to make those unhealthy news channels available via personal TVs on the treadmills by the end of February.
Life Time’s decision may be bad news to some, but there is some science to suggest that leaving cable news out of gyms might be part of a healthy lifestyle.
Numerous studies have shown that watching TV news can affect a person’s mental health and mood, The Washington Post notes.
Graham C.L. Davey, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Sussex, told the Post that the change in mood caused by watching the news “exacerbates the [viewer’s] own personal worries — even when those worries are not directly relevant to the news stories being broadcast.”
So far, reaction to the move has been mixed, based on Twitter posts.
Some people protested the change, saying the gym was the perfect place to catch up on the day’s events.
Some critics also felt that Life Time’s decision smacked of censorship and corporate overreach.
However, others agreed with the decision, saying that watching serious news got in the way of their workouts.
And some people pointed out that the channels that are still available may not be airing shows appropriate for a healthy lifestyle, either.