People like to people watch. It is in our nature. It’s a muscle we must exercise, a itch we must scratch. We are curious creatures. I am not immune to people watching. I admit to sitting in coffee shops, window facing, watching the world go by. Wondering what everyone is doing with their days, why they are rushing, where they are going.
It’s relaxing. Helps me clear my mind. Regain focus. I observe movements, patterns, behaviours. Each one in itself no more significant than the next but fascinating regardless. It is the repetition of these movements, patterns and behaviours which spikes my curiousity.
The modern pace of life and the rapid growth of technology has changed the way we as humans relate to the world and our bodies.It has changed the way we do things, when we do them, and what we do.
In many ways this push has made things easier for us. Tasks are quicker, automated, require less people. Medical technologies continue to improve as does life expectancy. We can access anything we want. All from the click of the button. Information is endless. The internet has opened up access to knowledge which previously would have only been accessible to the GURU’S.
There are so many great things about modern life but is their a cost to this new way of life?
I fear so…….
A GENERATION OF ZOMBIES
Empires can be run from behind a desk without the need to interact with other humans face to face, or even move from your seat. When we do choose to move our smart phones are glued to our hands with emails, calls, texts, and social media messages keeping us occupied as we attempt to balance our whatsapp chats whilst avoiding collisions with other pedestrians and cars.
Train journeys are silent and depressing. 100’s of humans grouped in one carriage but none dare to make eye contact or even attempt a smile. Instead we assume the position we know best, one that’s comforting and entertaining – Phone in hand and head hunched forward looking at the screen.
We walk the whole length of a packed train in desperation for a seat even though our journey is short. Standing, simply, is not an option. We sit whilst commuting, whilst working, whilst watching TV and whilst eating. Walking 5 minutes to the shop is something we “haven’t got time for” or “can’t be bothered” to do. Instead we get in the car and drive for 20 seconds and happily sit and wait outside the shop for a parking space.
Movement is dead and its turning us into zombies!
You are probably wondering what the hell I am talking about when I refer to zombies. Well let me tell you all about it. What has movement got to do with Zombies? Firstly Halloween is steadily approaching so I thought it would be rude not to post something timely related to the subject. That point aside let’s break down a zombie, break down a human and compare/contrast.
According to Wikipedia Zombies have the following characteristics:
Mobile (able to move) but technically dead, without a heartbeat or other vital signs
In a decaying (rotting) state, with discolored skin and eyes
Non-communicative (groaning and howling instead of speaking)
Unemotional, with no mercy toward victims
Hungry for human flesh (zombies ignore animals like dogs or cats)
Clumsy and violent
Vulnerable to destruction of the brain, which kills them
Unaffected by injuries, even normally fatal ones, as long as they do not hurt the brain too much
Contagious: a person that is bitten by a zombie will become a zombie
Does not attack other zombies, leading to swarms of zombies
Now let’s look at a human from a similar standpoint :
Mobile-ish (able to move), but bearly alive, with a heartbeart and other vital signs
In a decaying (rotting state), with pale skin and bags under their eyes
Communicative through technology but struggle with face to face interaction
Hungry for sugar, alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine
Clumsy and violent
Vulnerable to destruction of the brain which nearly kills them but they are kept alive with powerful computers
Prone to injury, even minor ones cause major damage
Contagious: If it’s cool, it’s cool, even if I don’t know why it’s cool.
Attack other humans, look out for themselves.
As you can see above, we are more like our zombie counter parts than we would traditionally give ourselves credit for. Of course, what I have said above is a little tongue in cheek. There are however, some serious points to take away from this…… The zombie apocalypse is near!
There are a few things that are very quickly slipping away from our finger tips in this technology era. Social Interaction, Communication, Physical Fitness, Health and the ability to move as humans are designed to move. Let’s focus on MOVEMENT for today.
NOTE : This affects us all. I am definitely not immune to this. After all, I am currently sat behind a desk typing a blog post.
MOVEMENT IS LIFE
Movement is a major requirement in life. Our bodies use the pressures generated from muscle contractions and joint movement to pump blood around the body and drain blood back to the heart. This movement brings nutrition to areas which keep them healthy and robust. Movement makes our hearts stronger, our muscles functional, our skeletons dense, and our organs healthy. Without this movement we begin to struggle.
As a society we are struggling….we are really struggling. Our lack of movement is making us weak, stiff, immobile, fat, unfit and unwell.
We are living in a world which despite advances in medicine, we are sicker than ever. Chronic disease is at its all time high, obesity figures continue to rise, children for the first time in history are getting type 2 diabetes. Lack of movement in modern society is a problem. A very big and expensive problem.
It is estimated that by 2020 the cost of managing type 2 diabetes in the UK is going to bankrupt the NHS. Type 2 diabetes is 90 % of the time a lifestyle related disease. A little more movement/little less food and this huge problem becomes much less significant. Obesity rates in the UK are the highest in Europe with 25% of the population Obese costing the economy £3 billion per year.
Back pain rates are up to record highs, depression the same, suicide the same, joint replacement surgeries the same. Our habits, lack of movement, reckless lifestyles are making us sick. But things need to change….
THE SAFETY NET
Oh the NHS…..What a beautiful thing it is. It is so reassuring to know that no matter what I decide to do to my body, no matter how much I choose to abuse it, misuse it, undervalue it, the NHS will always be there to pick up the pieces.
I have news for you…..The NHS will not exist in the form we know it for much longer. The costs of healthcare for an aging population of sick people is rapidly growing and there is going to be a point (in the not so distant future) that this no longer becomes sustainable. And BAM, there is no state funded NHS anymore. Privatisation of the NHS is going to happen a lot sooner than most of us expect. There is simply no way around it.
What does that mean for us? More than likely monthly or yearly insurance premiums, just like we have in traditional insurance models such as house, car, life etc. Yes we will all have to pay them. There will be no state system to bail us out.
Here is the most interesting part…..
The premiums will probably work on a risk basis. If you are considered high risk you will have to pay more. Lower risk and you pay less. So now is probably the time to make some serious decisions….your safety net is about to be pulled from under your feet. There is going to be no one to catch you either.
Choose to invest some time in your health. Increase your activity. Drop your poor eating habits. Get some sleep. Move a lot more! Now is the time to do something. Stop putting things off until Monday, stop making excuses, stop looking for an easy way out.
MY CHALLENGE TO YOU
From tomorrow onwards, I want you to commit to doing 10 extra minutes of physical activity/movement. This commitment is not for me, it is for you and your health. 10 minutes, every day, for a month! 300 minutes of extra exercise.
What do you say?
ONE IN ALL IN?
Good. Time to stop behaving like zombies and actually start to act a little like humans. We have to start somewhere and there is no time like the present!