Monday, May 9, 2016

The Line Between Connection and Disconnection

Working in a gym all day, you get to see so many human behaviors. Some good, some bad, some just neutral. I've noticed a particularly disturbing habit in the gym that I manage and I believe its indicative of a larger problem in our society. It started a few years back when people began using their smart phones to play music while working out. Now, its nothing new that people like to listen to personal music devices when they workout. I remember when that yellow Walkman came out. It was like a breath of fresh air for people who love to listen to music when they workout. As time advanced so did the technology. However, while technology has united us in many ways it has also disconnected us greatly as well.

Now, in the case the gym I'm in almost every day, and I'm sure is the case for many gyms, so many people are becoming stagnant participants or prisoners to the connection of their phones. Nine years ago a few people came to our gym with ipods and just played music while they worked out. About five years in people were discarding their ipods for smartphones which would allow you to not only play music but operate other functions on your phone. Currently, I'm seeing people just spend time on their phones checking emails, texting and more while they mindlessly walk on the treadmill/elliptical, etc. I see people doing resistance training and then taking sometimes 10-20 minute breaks to mess with their phone, shoot videos, call colleagues and more. As a life long exerciser and student of both the art and science of fitness, this just rubs me the wrong way.

Shouldn't exercise be about disconnecting from the everyday calls, texts, emails and more that you are in constant connection with? However, equipment manufacturers and other technology innovators are asking us to connect more and more to our devices. They tell us that its supposed to make us closer to those around us, but I've actually seen the opposite. Human beings need time to dive inward and be away from the noise of life. Exercise has always been a great vehicle to consistently do that. However, we are pushing further and further away from that.

Now, I'm not here to say that technology is bad. Don't get me wrong...I enjoy the convenience and ease that technology has provided in my life. However, I know when its time to put it away so that I can focus on what's important. I purposely leave my phone at home when I'm out with my family, I never check any messages or mess with my phone when I'm working out and so on and so forth. There's a time and a place for using the wonderful technology of smartphones in our world. The true power in wielding the technology is when you understand when to let it go. And really, that's a great lesson in life. Connection is critical for human beings in life, but so is knowing when to disconnect.

Until next time...

Dr. D
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