Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Morning Musings

"Screen-Free Week" Starts Today: What to Do without the PDA?
 Turn off your tablet, step away from the computer and pull the plug on the TV. Texans are being challenged to do that for a week in a nationwide campaign to alert families to the enormous amount of time they spend with electronic entertainment. Screen-Free Week, April 18-24, is an effort to encourage parents and their kids to get outside for some physical recreation, take in a community event or just stop texting all the time. Jaci Clement with the Fair Media Council admits it won't be easy. (contd.)  Podcast and entire story available: http://www.newsservice.org/index.php

While that is tempting. There is no way I could be away from the computer for an entire week right now. I have several editing jobs lined up that have to be taken care of before I go on a trip the end of May. Although I suspect this is aimed more at those who use the computer for games than at those who use it for business and for those who are at risk for health problems due to inactivity.

It is true that our sedentary lifestyles have a negative impact on our health. Individuals who are physically active during their leisure time appear to be biologically younger than those with sedentary lifestyles, according to a report in the January 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.  Regular exercisers have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, obesity and osteoporosis.

So what are we writers supposed to do to combat the bad effects of the hours we spend on the computer? I thought it was enough to start my day with a walk of a little over a mile, some work in my garden, and then throughout the day take short periods to work outside or do housecleaning tasks. But a recent study shows that might not be true. This is what I found on the Diet Blog
Scientists say the findings show the health benefits of exercise are not enough to cancel out the effects of sitting in front of a screen for too long; part of a sedentary lifestyle.
To help "Fight the Sedentary Lifestyle," the American Heart Association suggests tracking your daily physical activity and daily dietary intake, creating personal walking maps, keeping weekly summaries of your progress, and researching valuable information to help you achieve your lifestyle goals.
While I am not going to get as organized about it as the AHA suggests, I do think I will pay more attention to how often I get up from the computer and move around. If nothing else, walking from one end of my house to the other every hour on the hour might make a difference. And maybe another walk in the evening could be on the agenda.

What about you? How do you combat the bad effects of hours of working at the computer? Do you find it hard to stay motivated?

7 comments:

Terry Odell said...

If only getting up and walking around didn't end up with me in the kitchen.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Maryann Miller said...

LOL, Me, too. I walk around then get a handful of almonds. Geesh!

Being Beth said...

I literally set a timer: 45 minutes writing or sitting at the computer followed by 15 minutes on my feet. Ten minutes of that time is spent walking around my house or the backyard (about 1/2 mile in a 20 min. mile pace), and the other five is refreshing my water, pit stop, petting the dog.

I have a hard time since all my favorite activities are sitting down (writing, blogging, embroidery, piano, reading, etc.), so I have started doing my embroidery at the kitchen bar standing. It actually works and isn't any harder. The lights good in the kitchen too. I do my reading standing up as well.

I've considered investing in a computer desk that is built for standing. I've tried to write standing at the bar, but can't seem to get the computer at a comfortable height for both my eyes and my arms.

It all takes much more discipline than writing every day does, but in the long run I think I'll be glad I'm doing it this way.

Helen Ginger said...

Uh, what the AHA is telling us to do is counter-intuitive. How would we track all that? By sitting at our computers and creating a log and filling it out.

I do 25 minutes on the elliptical trainer. Yes, I admit, I'm a slug.

Maryann Miller said...

Good point about the AHA, Helen. I didn't connect with that the same way. You are great with ironic details. LOL

Beth, I am not sure I could do embroidery at the kitchen counter, but I do stand to read the mail and take care of bill paying, etc. And you are much more disciplined than I am. I've already gone over my hour of sitting, so I guess I'd better move my butt while I still can. LOL

Recovering Church Lady said...

I am forcing myself to get up and do a chore or some stretches. So much of my life is online, writing, promoting, connecting and reading for pleasure. Organizing photos is another big job that I enjoy.
The timer idea is good because time sure does fly when we are....well you know!

Helen Ginger said...

This is the first I've heard of Screen Free Week. It's not being promoted down my way.

I walk on the elliptical trainer in the morning. Other that, my butt's primarily in my desk chair. I do occasionally get up and walk outside to look at the garden and breathe fresh air. Or go to the mailbox. Or go to the coffee pot for the twelfth refill.