When we think of technology we tend to think of it as damaging to our health. The general connection we make is that technology means spending time in front of a computer screen or hunched over at a desk, and that this in turn means we’re not getting fresh air or exercise and that we are straining our eyes and giving ourselves headaches.
To an extent there is truth in that. Technology can sometimes be all-too distracting and thus prevent us from doing other things like getting exercise or just exploring outside.
But at the same time we shouldn’t entirely blame technology for this. Really this comes down to our own innate laziness as much as anything, and before we started wasting away indoors using computers, we were already wasting away indoors with our heads in books.
And actually technology isn’t as bad for you as you think. You know that eyestrain everyone goes on about? It’s not actually that much of a big deal. Looking at screens doesn’t cause any problem for your eyes unless visibility is poor or you’re in a dark room – and even then it’s still only the same as reading a book by candlelight which we’ve been doing for centuries.
More to the point, technology is actually instrumental in improving our health in a vast number of ways and this is only becoming more true as more technologies are developed all the time. Here are some of the amazing ways that technology is already improving our health and fitness, and some of the even more amazing ways that it will in the future…
Believe it or not, technology can encourage us to exercise and in many cases it already is. Head over to your local gym for instance and you’ll find it’s probably packed with ways to work out and to get into shape that all rely on technology. An example is the treadmill, or the stationary bike, but there are a number of more ambitious devices finding their way into gyms now too.
Then there are things like the Nintendo Wii and the Xbox Kinect which trick us into getting intensive exercise that feels like we’re just playing a video game. The Wii was particularly popular thanks to its various health-related games that trained users in yoga and a range of other activities.
And let’s not forget all the various different tracking devices that are now available too. Watches, headbands, trainer tags and more can all measure your steps taken, calories burned and much more allowing you to increase your activity and improve your fitness in a controlled manner. Even the new Samsung Galaxy S5 is going to come with a built-in heartrate monitor showing just how much commercial technology is moving towards fitness and health as a priority.
Then there are the hundreds of different technologies for helping with specific problems – from electronic cigarettes which can help to cure smoking addictions, to heart rate monitors, to pacemakers, to blood testing devices for diabetics.
Most importantly though, technology is also instrumental in modern research that is constantly finding new and better treatments for diseases. Again this is becoming more and more impressive the more technology develops: already researchers are looking at things like virtual reality in order to treat phantom limb syndrome and PTS, while another amazing example of technology aiding in medical research is the mobile app ‘Genes in Space’.
Genes in Space is an app that makes a game out of assessing data used in cancer research. Users can play to their heart’s content as though it was any popular computer game, but as they do they will be helping researchers to work through data and to find cures for cancer. Incredible right?
So next time you accuse technology of ruining your health, think again. Could it be the way you’re using it that is causing the problem rather than the technology itself?