Screen Time is Ruining Our Fitness
We spend way too much time in front of the television and other electronic devices. Studies and reports on the obsession with the younger generations “screen devices” proves it, says Lily Rothman of Time magazine. But don’t rely on the statistics from some obtuse government agency or random study. Just look at how much television we as adults watch to determine how it’s ruining our fitness and health.
The Pot and the Kettle
Believe me I’m no different from you. I go home from a busy day at the gym and sit my happy butt down on the couch and flick on the television to watch downloaded shows, while at the same time typing this blog, pretending that I’m really being productive. Unless you’re watching the Discovery Channel that’s a line of B.S., and we should stop thinking that the television, the internet or all the other doo-dads and gadgets that we so enjoy are improving our lives, because, really they’re NOT!
Sure they make our lives more convenient, but look at what it’s done to our children. Kids spend about 35 hours in front of a screen every week. That’s almost a full time job in most countries, which is accompanied by the lack of exercise, physical exertion and play that most young adults need to “learn” how to move. It’s no wonder all this social media flim flam is ruining our fitness.
I remember my mom specifically yelling at me to “get outside” because I was driving her “bonkers” and I was spending far too much time in front of the Nintendo. It’s true, I was hooked on video games as a young lad, but I had set rules of engagement.
I could only play for one hour a day, which as any true gamer knows is gone before you know it and in a couple rampant minutes mashing of buttons and A-B-B-A-A-A-B. You get what I mean. But after that hour was up my mom forced me to either go outside and play or else there were a multitude of chores and homework to do.
At the time I thought my mom was just being overbearing and mean, but as I grew older I became interested in sports and more physical activity. Video games lost their luster. I still watched television and played some video games on occasion but I was much more interested in playing football, lifting and snowboarding.
All those hours I spent outdoors playing, digging in the fields, toting hay bales and sorting steel in my dad’s welding shop all paid off in dividends when I began playing sports. I had an advantage over the children who were constantly engaged in their video games and glued to the television. I was strong; I could run and movement was easy. I wasn’t the most talented young athlete, but I could give my all out on the field, whereas some of my other friends struggled because they were not fit to play.
Fit to Play
That is the reason we train. We train to become stronger, faster, and more resistant to injury. We train to become better at moving and moving well.
Kids nowadays don’t have the luxury of being able to go outdoors all the time and they definitely don’t do many chores. When the time comes to participate in sports they are lacking in the essential skills and strength they need to perform at a high level.
You can attribute much of this lack of physical prowess to the excess “screen time” that they experience. Think about it. If adults are having an harder time getting in shape and moving well due to a sedentary lifestyle, desk job and hours of watching television, why would the younger generation be any different. In perspective many young adults have practically grown up with a cell phone in hand, Facebook account and email address before their 5th birthday. They’re amassed in social media and technology, but they’re not doing any physical activity that is going to benefit them for years down the road.
Doing The Younger Generation A Favor
To be responsible role models for our youth, it’s time to start acting and helping kids get the exercise they need. We as adults set the example with our own exercise habits. Monkey see, monkey do!
With ever reduced hours of physical education, lack of after school sports programs and simple lack of time to play and exercise we are obliterating our youths’ ability to live and thrive through movement.
The best times in my life have been experienced without the aid of technology. You’d be amazed at the relief it is to simply shut down the laptop, throw the cell phone on the couch and go hit the woods for a long hiking adventure for even a day. Technology is great, but its limitation lies in the fact that our bodies were made to move and play. Without this, we cease to function as humans and are prone to a variety of diseases.
Set your kids up for success and toss aside the video games, television, cell phones and internet for a week or limit your kids access to “screen time”. And get them started in some sports or training program that will help them move better. Trust me, they’ll thank you when they’re older.
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