Step Away from the Computer

Sometimes I wonder: am I addicted to my computer? The constant checking of e-mail, Twitter, Facebook: could I actually get through a day without it? Would I suffer withdrawal symptoms?

Yesterday, I decided to find out.

I was motivated for two reasons. First, I was curious just how dependent I was on technology. Second, I'd just finished reading an article in The New York Times Magazine, which highlights a disturbing finding about sedentary living. We've evolved into a way of living and working that promotes disease simply because we do not move enough. This latest article cites studies that show sitting for long periods of time results in an increased risk of disease, including heart disease and diabetes.

That 30 minutes you force yourself to spend at the gym each day? That heart pumping run you just completed? All those sacrifices you made to exercise like you were told? They aren't good enough to mitigate the risks that your body incurs when sitting at the computer or television every day, because a sedentary lifestyle causes unhealthy changes at the cellular level that exercise simply cannot undo.

This finding is not actually new, but it turns how we think about health and exercise on its head. I'm not advocating that people stop exercising, but we need to think more about incidental movement. Think, every day, about how to keep your body moving if just to walk to the copier, stand at your desk, bike to work.

My experiment? Yes, I concluded I'm slightly addicted to my computer, with good reason. The reality is that most of us need it to function on most days. However, a concerted effort to get away from the machine from time to time can be a very good thing. I found myself more active and more present. Of course, I didn't make any money. That's the problem, isn't it?

Photo by Rossanah

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