We are all familiar with the cry from our elders bemoaning how we, as human beings, used to move more and sit less. This isn't just a perception, but sadly, a fact. There are those who blame modern society as the evil responsible for this change which has created so many of our societal health problems. And this too, is less a perception and more a cruel reality.
What Has Changed
On average, we now drive to most places instead of walking. The comfort and convenience of doing so, along with a natural spreading out of communities well beyond the small confines of yesteryear's towns, has driven us to prefer our car. Instead of physically processing documentation, requiring us to get up and move around, we swipe, enter, and scan.
Factory floors are aided by computerized technology, making jobs which were previously active ones now very passive.If the lack of physical movement were not enough, the added stress of today's lifestyle (facilitated primarily by the saturation of technology in our lives), is making us unhealthy. Jobs synonymous with high levels of stress are linked to obesity. Stress increases cortisol levels which decreases our will power and increases our craving for foods high in fats, sugar, and salt.
Even with the onset of more home-working, where people work online and from the comfort of their own homes, work hours are often longer. We are constantly connected, and often, constantly stressed. As our communities have got bigger and more impersonal, we drive our kids to school instead of making them walk. More and more parents are forced to use the television as a baby sitter - for a multitude of reasons - lessening a child's activity level right from the start.
More efficiency should indicate more free time, but instead, it actually means our productivity levels have increased over the years. Now we spend more time working and less time playing. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Walking an average of 10, 000 steps in a working day 50 years ago would have been no problem, but today we are sometimes lucky to get 3000 steps in.
The Bright Side
It doesn’t have to be bad news. On the contrary, with modern society comes an increased working knowledge of the body, metabolism, and the physical dynamics of movement. Modern technology has allowed us to be able to measure our heart rates daily while we exercise so that we can work in our perfect weight loss, fitness, or muscle-building zone. We now know what that zone is, according to our weight and height and age.
Thanks to technology, being an asthmatic for example, does not preclude you from exercising or fitness. Diabetics are able to monitor their blood sugar levels easily so that they too can partake in exercise safely. It might have seemed the realm of fantasy when on ‘Star Trek’ years ago when we saw gadgets which monitored vital signs so effortlessly. But now there are technologies like the Thermodock, which plug into the iphone and takes your temperature.
Thanks to technological research and gadgets as portable as our mobile phones, we know the best times to workout, do cardio, lift weights, and we are also able to change our body shapes for competitions, self-esteem, health, and weight loss. Access to communities around the world allow us to find support, information, and guidance for just about any health or fitness endeavor or issue we may come across.
The Bottom Line
So why, with all this knowledge and technology are we becoming more obese throughout the different parts of the world? Sadly, industry and technology has gained itself a reputation for bringing with it fast food and TV dinners. Convenience makes the rest of our lives easier, and we're choosing this convenience over our health.
Building a healthy body and healthy mind requires time, and in a world where we choose the things designed to save us time, we seem to have forgotten how to slow down and appreciate time and the tasks within it. Maybe its time we stopped making time a factor or choice, but rather health and happiness
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