You’ve heard all the studies that suggest technology makes you lazy and dumb. What you don’t hear is how to use technology to promote activity both in the mind and body.
I won’t deny that my increased use of technology has at one point, increased my level of inactivity. I was usually on the couch doing my school work or checking my social media accounts instead of going for a walk in the neighbourhood or riding my bike on a nearby bike trail. My new wallet is now my iPhone. Besides having my contact list on there, I also have there, my rewards cards, my GPS app – Waze to get me around and my easy access to all accounts that require a password. Why do I need to remember anything?
Technology has simplified our lives to the point that it can have a negative impact on our health and mind. Our 21st century digital age is not the first time this problem has occurred. It was first discussed when our society made the shift from the Agrarian society to the Industrial Age. Taking the elevator instead of climbing the stairs or driving your car to the local grocery store instead of riding your bike with the grocery basket on the handlebars. We have always made the adjustment in our activity level with the advancement of technology. The digital age is no different. I will introduce some methods of how the use of technology can help you maintain or even increase your activity level. We will look at the uses of your laptop and your smartphone.
Laptop Use and Activity Level
It is not always necessary to be sitting at a desk or lying down on your couch working on your laptop. When working on your laptop, set a timer on your PC, to allow you to get up and walk around or stretch every 30 minutes. In my classroom, I have an activity website www.gonoodle.com that I have the kids watch and do the activities for 5 minutes midway through their period of French class. You can also use this site at home while working in your room. This can result in noticeable health gains such as increased circulation and energy. If you are required to spend long periods of time on a computer, it’s essential to create a schedule on your PC to remind you of when to take breaks. There is also a web-based tool, Workout Timer which you can download from the Chrome web store. Active Video Games (AVG) can provide users with the opportunity to practice skills and increase physical competence (Martin et al, 2015)
Smartphone Use and Activity Level
The use of smartphones for messaging, blogging and taking pictures can also be extended to promoting an active lifestyle. If you are a person who always has your smartphone attached to you, you can download many apps that can measure and track your fitness level. Pacer is an app that can help you maintain or increase your activity level through walking, running, or cycling. It can help build healthy eating habits and lose weight. You can find a list of recommended pedometer apps , fitness apps, and running apps that can suit your lifestyle. The ability to know your activity level using a device can help motivate you to maintain an active lifestyle.
There is always hope of maintaining an active lifestyle, even with everyone being connected. What we, as a generation, need to do is to know how to use the technology to be creative in managing and maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. Blaming technology for an inactive lifestyle is not the route to take.
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Martin, N.J. ;Ameluxen-Coleman, E. J.;Heinrichs, D. M., Innovative Ways to Use Modern Technology to Enhance, Rather than Hinder, Physical Activity among Youth; Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance; Apr 2015; 86, 4; ERIC pg. 46