headshot-ianhartTechnology is a great thing. It has allowed us more freedom, time, productivity and efficiency than ever before. We are a “button-clicking” society, clicking the mouse, the remote control, the garage opener, etc. (It lets us save our energy for our stressful “desk jobs.”) As a matter of fact, I barely even have to work to brush my teeth anymore because my electronic toothbrush does most of the work for me. All I do is click a button and gently move my hand. We have robotic vacuums and microwaves, and are mesmerized by revolutionary fitness equipment claiming that, with a simple click of a button, presto! you’re in great shape. Yeah, right.

Although clicking a button is easy and convenient, it is also a huge component of our packing on the pounds. New research has stated that an extra 10-30 calories a day leads to obesity. Let’s remember that 1lb of fat equals 3,500 calories. Quick math: 30 calories extra a day x 365 days = 10,950 extra calories. That is an extra 3.12 pounds of fat per year. Multiplied by 5-10 years and you have obesity.

Nowadays we are eating more than ever before, and because of our high-tech gadgets, we are also moving less. Meaning that we are consuming more calories and burning fewer than ever. Factor in eating extra calories each day with burning fewer, and you have a MAJOR problem. As adults, we know this technology isn’t great for improving our fitness, but the kids don’t know this. They don’t know any better, and they probably will not grasp the consequences of their “easier” lifestyle until it’s too late. It seems that bikes and outdoor play are becoming more and more obsolete. Kids have electric cars, or they are on the Internet communicating with friends rather than biking to their houses to talk. Their fingers are in great shape from texting and other button clicking, but unfortunately, that does not improve muscular strength and cardiovascular capacity.

I believe that we have a responsibility not to totally give in to these luxuries, whether we’re adults or children. A parent told me the other day that her kid wanted to throw his manual scooter out because everyone else on the block has an electric one. Physically active kids are healthy kids; not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. I strongly encourage parents to limit these luxuries that weaken their kids; by doing so they can stave off early onset diseases and help their children live longer, healthier and happier lives.

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