A little bit of sunshine – and less technology – is what you need

By Kelsi Gately
Staff Writer

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Photo courtesy of debate.org

Today, the average person spends 11 hours of his or her day with technology and doesn’t spend enough time outside. Ironically, I am writing this on my laptop, but I am doing so while swinging in my hammock.

According Nielsen’s Total Audience Report, most people are awake for about 16 hours a day, and only five of those hours are spent without interacting with technology. It’s not uncommon to have the television on in one room, be in the kitchen cooking and talking on the phone.

Kids today sit in front of the TV, with a laptop playing video games, and also have a cell phone next to them texting all their friends. They no longer take the time to run around outside or ride their bikes. It’s no wonder there are so many health problems among America’s youth.

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Chart courtesy of Statista.com

“I’m worried about our generation growing up with technology in every aspect of our lives,” said James Pitts, president of the Argonaut Outdoor Club. “Younger generations are a concern as well. It seems both generations increasingly find their escape in technology, whether it be phones, internet, video games, etc., rather than in nature and the outdoors. Perhaps I am a bit biased, but spending time outdoors also seems the healthier option, both psychologically and physically.”

Simply putting down the phone, shutting the TV off for a few hours each week and going outside will help improve your day-to-day life. Taking a walk around the neighborhood or riding your bike is a great way to start getting outside more.

Jason Strahan, medical director of UWF’s Student Health Services, said that going outside and being active has health benefits. Limiting the amount of time spent on a computer will decrease stress and also keep you from becoming nearsighted, he said.

As college students, we are constantly studying, and that’s usually inside. Next time, grab your textbook and find a place under a tree to study instead. If you don’t already have a hammock, get one. They are easy to put up and are a great place to study and even take a nap on long days. I personally love mine and hope to start using it even more.

Those of you who need a laptop for homework, do any work that doesn’t require Wifi outside. Do any research for a paper beforehand, and then take the work to your favorite tree and write.

It’s easy to lose track of time surfing the web. Instead, channel that wasted time to breathing fresh air. “Just be self-motivated,” Pitts said.

What’s your favorite way to spend time outside? Or do you spend all your time in front of a computer screen? Tweet me your response @kelsi_gately_