About 30 percent of adults in the U.S. spend over nine hours in front of a screen per day. If you’re one of them, chances are you’re overexposed to technology and experiencing one of the following symptoms.
You don’t get enough sleep
Are you starting your days sluggish and a complete mess because you barely slept the night before? Gadgets like your smartphone or tablet emit blue light that your senses might confuse with daylight, which causes your body to suppress the release of melatonin, a key hormone that regulates your internal clock. That’s why overexposure to these devices can make it impossible for you to stick to a proper sleeping schedule.
Why is this important?
Apart from making you less than a joy to be around, lack of sleep—typically, less than six hours a night, has a negative impact on your productivity and, even more importantly, your overall health. If your sleep is messy, your days will be too.
Playing table tennis in the evening is great way to clear your mind after a busy work day. Better yet, have your entire family put down the electronics for a while and have some fun UnPlugNPlaying together. Ping pong is just one of those rare things that is healthy AND fun at the same time.
You find it hard to concentrate
Can’t remember where you put your keys? Too much technology can contribute to decreased concentration and memory. How? In order to be stored, the information needs to be passed from your working memory into long-term memory. Any break in the process, like stopping to check your email or a new Twitter mention can cause the information to be lost.
Sometimes you just need to take a break
There’s a limit to the amount of information your working memory can take in within a certain amount of time. Think of your brain as a sponge. If you soak it too much, it'll just stop absorbing water. Sometimes, you just need to take a break and let it rest.
Let table tennis keep your brain sharp. Tracking the ball, planning your shots, anticipating the opponents’, and figuring out spins activates various areas of the brain simultaneously, stimulating your overall state of awareness. This is why table tennis is widely used to help prevent Alzheimer’s and several types of dementia. It also increases your concentration, alertness and tactical thinking skills, earning the nickname “high speed chess” in the process.
You’re sitting too much
How’s your back? Research has shown that some 32.6 percent of adults experienced neck/shoulder/back pain when exposed to digital devices for two or more hours. “But I’m going to the gym after work”, you may say. That’s great, but if you’re sitting behind your computer for 3 or 4 hours at a time, your workouts could be pointless.
What are the implications?
Prolonged sitting causes two types of problems: musculoskeletal and metabolic. It puts your lower back, neck and shoulders under pressure and you are at risk of a compromised posture. Not to mention you slow down your metabolism raise your risk of obesity by sitting all day.
Getting together with your colleagues around the ping pong table is a tried-and-tested way of boosting productivity and team morale but it’s also great for your health. Break long periods of sitting with a 5-10 minutes of table tennis, relax, and wait for your body to start thanking you for it. It won’t take long.