When you go to the gym, do you jump on the cardio machine and stare off into space while working out? Or, are you watching the gym’s television, listening to your iPod and checking your phone? A recent article in the NY Times bets you’re doing the latter. Technology today has become an extension of ourselves, that we rarely tune out and just. . . rest. When we do have a spare minute, we’re doing a quick check of our email, playing a video game on our phone, or shooting of a text message. Today’s idea of relaxing is not picking up a book or sitting in the sun–it’s picking up a gadget.
The problem with this is, as the article states, is “. . . when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas.” Loren Frank, assistant professor in the department of physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, where he specializes in learning and memory is quoted as saying, “Almost certainly, downtime lets the brain go over experiences it’s had, solidify them and turn them into permanent long-term memories. When the brain was constantly stimulated, “you prevent this learning process.””
So, what is today’s modern citizen supposed to do? Turn it off. Go outside and enjoy the sunshine. Take a quite walk. Clear your head–the old fashioned way. It will do you good.