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Why Young Adults Need Time Away From Electronics

Why Young Adults Need Time Away From Electronics

Today, teenagers constantly plug into technology. They’re always playing on smartphones, gaming, and sharing their lives on social media. On average, those between the ages of eight and eighteen spend approximately seven hours a day on screens. Unfortunately, this is a habit that could have a seriously dangerous impact on their health.

While banishing technology completely from a teenager’s life may be impossible and possibly even counterproductive, students, parents, and influential figures alike should be working together to impose guidelines on the amount of exposure young adults get. After all, studies are proving that too much time spent in front of a screen can damage the growth and development of teenagers. From harming sleep patterns to increasing body fat, reducing physical activity, and even promoting the development of depression, anxiety, and stress, electronic screen-time may be as detrimental as it is convenient.

The Impact of Electronics on Sleep and Concentration

According to research, young adults who spend too much time on electronic devices often have more trouble sleeping at night. Studies have found that cumulative screen time affects how long and how well teenagers sleep. The more time young adults spend on electronics, the less sleep they’re likely to get.

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Though scientists are still exploring why screen time impacts sleep, some experts suggest that the light from electronic devices interferes with the human circadian rhythm. What’s more, devices could be responsible for stimulating the nervous system, making it difficult for you to fall asleep.

Sleep deprivation is a dangerous thing in all stages of life; however, it can be particularly detrimental to adolescents whose brains are in the process of developing. Sleep deprivation causes teenagers to perform badly in cognitive tasks and experience less control over their emotions. Sleep supports the brain processes critical to memory, learning, and emotional regulation.

Choosing to Unplug

It’s understandable that young adults navigate more towards the benefits of technology. After all, many career options involve the use of technology. The ability to remain connected to peers can also provide a useful solution for making plans and keeping in touch. However, it’s also important to weigh the risks associated with too much screen time.

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Without the right amount of balance in a young adult’s life, it can be impossible to develop crucial time management skills essential for academic success, or devote enough time to outdoor activities and personal growth. Too much time spent online can lead to concentration and memory problems, reducing a teenager’s ability to make crucial decisions, set goals, and act appropriately around others.

Recent studies suggest that choosing to set aside technology in favor of exploring nature could help boost creative thinking and bypass some of the negative effects associated with excessive screen time. With that in mind, the aim should be to find balance between encouraging technological development and understanding in teenagers, ensuring they have the opportunity to explore other aspects of life.

The Benefits of Time Away From Electronics

The only way to lower the negative impact that excessive electronic exposure can have on teenagers is to promote the benefits of unplugging — even if it’s only for short periods of time each day. An inability to escape technology can lead to “tech stress”, leading to an increased chance of depression and emotional turmoil in young adults.

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Scheduling regular time to unplug from technology is important, as the brain needs recovery time in order to grow and develop. For instance, one study conducted by the University of Michigan found that patients who took a walk after learning something new were more likely to retain the information. In other words, time without technology can help the brain to reboot.

On top of this, scheduling time away from technology can also:

  • Reduce discomfort and pain throughout the body. The issue of “tech neck” is growing prominent, thanks to the strain that texters place on their spine and neck through staring down at a computer monitor or phone screen for too long. Through unplugging, individuals can enjoy better posture, less eye strain, and fewer aches in their muscles.
  • Increase awareness of your surroundings. When unplugging from technology, you’re removing a huge distraction from your world. As such, teenagers will be more likely to notice small details, places, and things they never noticed before.
  • Allow for better sleep quality. As mentioned above, the human circadian rhythm depends on darkness in order to prepare the body for sleep. Banishing light emitting devices can be a huge benefit to the body, allowing for a more complete and restful sleep cycle.
  • Improve mood and memory retention. Even taking the opportunity to unplug for a couple of hours every day is enough to allow the brain to reboot, lift your mood, and improve memory skills. Less technological stimulation gives teenagers the time to focus on activities that grow and develop the brain cells.

Be More Creative and Productive

The constantly connected world that we live in today has made it easier than ever to assume that we need our web browser, email inbox, and social media accounts in order to be productive. However, the truth is that the accumulation could be interrupting a young adult’s life, making it difficult to get things done.

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By powering down every once in awhile, young adults can find new ways to be creative, contributing to the world around them by developing their skills and minds. From getting out into nature, a concept that many cognitive psychologists believe is essential to improving mood, to taking the time to grow new brain cells,  moments taken away from the online world are crucial to the growth of any young adult.

Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via thumb9.shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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