If one spends any time reading the internet, there seem to be two separate camps when it comes to the thoughts on technology and health:
Camp 1: technology is what will save us when it comes to our health and fitness. From step counters to apps that track all of our health stats – technology can give us the data we need to live longer, healthier lives. The newest exercise machines can monitor our reps, how hard we are pushing ourselves and give us feedback as to what we need to focus on. Technology enhances our lives and helps us discover our mental and physical potential.
Camp 2: technology has turned our society into lazy couch potatoes. We don’t need to be physically active because we have everything done for us at the push of a button. Think of car windows – not all that long ago we actually had to turn a handle to roll a window up or down. Voice activation has become commonplace (who has time to push a button?), and segways have replaced our legs for many sightseeing adventures in both urban and nature areas. Technology has ruined our active way of life.
If taken at face value, both camps have valid points. Technology can help or hurt our health and fitness endeavors, depending on how one uses it.
If technology is utilized to set goals, track information, and analyze data to see where we’ve been and where we are headed in all facets of living a healthy life, then it can certainly be an asset.
If technology is used as an escape from scheduled exercise (insert favorite Netflix show here instead of working out), and/or replaces any physical activity during everyday life – from yard work to chopping vegetables – then it can be a hindrance to living a healthy lifestyle.
What both of these views miss is the fact that technology does not choose for us whether we are going to be physically active or not. It doesn’t make us watch that season of The Walking Dead or force us to drive to work when we could ride our bike. It is up to us as individuals to take personal responsibility for the use of technology and how it is going to either advance us to a healthier existence or keep us from experiencing a truly active lifestyle.
Because in the end, it can do both.
Personally, I love technology and can see the many benefits of utilizing gadgets, apps and gizmos to bring us closer to a healthy, fit and strong mind and body. Whether it’s a smart watch or a mindfulness app – brain games or a digital display on a cardio machine – I enjoy how technology can help us with our efforts to be more fit and active.
And what I try to recognize is that it is my choice whether I am going to live a healthy lifestyle. As a personal trainer, I try as best I can to guide people that choose to work with me in a way that will help them reach whatever goals they have. I will provide support when needed, guidance when appropriate, and empathy when necessary to help my clients reach their ideal mental and physical state (whatever that is for them).
What I won’t do is allow them to not take personal accountability for their actions. If they continue to do the things that go against their goals, then they need to be held accountable. They don’t need to be shamed or berated… just be made aware (and be empowered) that they are in control of their outcomes.
If we try to blame or give credit to technology for being in control of our wellness decisions, then we are not taking personal accountability for our health, and ultimately whether we will live healthy, active lives.
So yes, technology is both good and bad…and it isn’t good or bad.
It just is.