Is This The New Cancer?

We’re running wild when some new technology is launched to stay in touch with one another.

We read and watch what others are doing on the other side of the world, outscoring an unknown fellow gamer in another online challenge. Additionally, humanity is being made aware that downloading this ‘free’ app just makes you feel that much better.

Perhaps opt for a paid upgrade in between? Just to keep us even for a more extended amount of time watching progression record on some remote database?

A revelation of an introduction by all means?

A long thought process goes behind every single one of these launches. Even I am aiming to keep you longer stuck to your mobile device. 

To get fully immersed, we must focus. Giving undivided attention not to lose out on the many options of what these amazing gadgets can do. And especially how to keep us engaged. Without these technological advances, living satisfactorily in the 21st century seems to be next to impossible.

It is one of the main targets of Chinese-born and bred, social media, all-in-one platform WeChat. By integrating a plethora of other options to break average screen time KPI’s, the company wants its users to stay online as long as possible.

From getting in touch with a friend – while ordering takeaway and ordering a delivery guy to pick up your laundry – to running your company with a touch of the screen, WeChat will go that far to keep your eyes primed to their screen.

Longer and longer and reaching a larger audience.

The above was one of the goals I heard during a 2019-held seminar I attended. A senior executive from WeChat outlined its strategies – from human behaviour to relentlessly expanding its capabilities. A wondrous piece of technology where you can basically delete any other app from your phone. Yet, you have to live in China or be a Chinese-speaking country to truly dig deep in the maze of what this software mastodon can do.

As it becomes a master puppeteer in running the country, the flipside of WeChat surfaced. Unfortunately, this was not mentioned in the article and was only was sourced through an independent journalist. His views were on the health side of what companies such as WeChat were responsible for, too.

The Chinese population is growing. And not in terms of population but in circumvention.

There is no need to move as soon as you have WeChat. Close to 10% of the country’s population (1.4 billion people) is now said to be obese (BMI exceeding 30). Everything is available at the tip of their WeChat fingers. While many of its residents are not aware of what good nutrition entails, this journalist outlined that the Chinese are moving less and less at an alarming rate.

WeChat can even measure how long you are sitting or lying down while its user browses on and on. It is in our human nature that we don’t want to move to watch the latest rage unfold on a live video stream. Or order a new set of clothes for Chinese New Year. Like we all do, we want to put our mind and attention on checking the right boxes and clicking the appropriate links.

Getting visual satisfaction and comfort, the best way to experience this is by getting physically comfortable. We are comfort creatures after all.

I just take WeChat as an example simply because of this seminar. However this can be translated to any digital media channel. Sitting, lying down or sloughing, the well-known 10,000-steps day target is replaced by the 10,000 finger taps a day. Yes, we use calories but not effective in keeping a healthy balance.

And not only the Corona-era has made that a bigger challenge. It is also those software companies that have profited from the Work-From-Home situation through government-instilled restrictions. I haven’t followed all the developments that are unfolding across the planet, but I am fairly certain that what happened in 2020, 2021 and 2022 in numerous countries resembles what I write below.

The logic of closing fitness centres, jogging tracks, sports fields, open-air training facilities, public parks and whatnot more made no sense. 

No sense whatsoever. 

A number of fitness and well-being centre are now forced to close permanently.

To make matters even worse; fast food chains and liquor stores remained open as it was seen as a “basic necessity for society”. And some enhanced their mobile accessibility to make it easier to order and consume.

Movement is medicine. 

Governments may have thought they would be able control the spread of this pandemic. But ignored they supported this new ‘cancer’ – sitting more and being less active. In an era where we are chatting more than talking, this is causing an incremental growth for anti-social activities. 

Agree, we had a rise in video chats and conferencing to stay in touch. However, it is not the same. We humans need to see other humans not to feel alienated.  And for Zooming with each other, you again can do this from the comfort of your bean bag, hammock, or flat down on your bed.

Real-time travel soon may not be needed any longer. No more commuting to meet and laugh in person. Soon, we grab our virtual glasses and wander through a museum? Without moving a lot.

The travel industry is one great example where human encounters and experiencing new cultures have by far a more positive impact on one’s health (mental in particularly) than locking it down. During our travels, we can be more active, meet other people and explore the unknown. These activities increase pleasure hormones, increase various neural pathways and decrease stress. 

Particularly stress and sitting still, connected to the uncertainty of these challenging times and incremental demand not seeing the number of likes you get on your last Instagram post. Technology knows how to keep you on the tip of your chair.

Without moving a lot.

All these negative effects and impacts of what we go through as people of this world create new cancer that is ignored. We are getting technologically so dependent that we feel no need to move. Because we have everything under control and within hand’s reach.

The connection between moving less and one’s health has been studied over and over again by many universities. Incremental changes of getting anxiety, dementia, weakened immune systems, your brain not being able to work efficiently, neurotransmitter pathways failing, and of course a sense of having less energy. I leave the chances of getting cancer out of it (which, too, has been a reason for increased chances of getting cancer) as the title of the article captures this.

Sorry to say this, but you are not getting smarter through your socials.

Certainly not healthier.

Yes, we are almost obliged to follow the footsteps of the ease of technology, but our mind and body do not work like this.

Our body wants to be challenged, to be pushed beyond its limit, to be kicked hard in the proverbial butt to improve and evolve. As much physical activity increases health, so does the mental side of doing something constructive. Movement is a perfect stimulus to get your upper regions properly working.

It is never too late to start now and get moving. Don’t let your inactivity, for the sake of what technology has done, do and will be doing, increase the risk of getting caught in its unhealthy wake.

Covid has entered the history book as a pandemic that causes the loss of many lives, but I see another pandemic popping up with more casualties. Only this one, you take control over.

Let’s explore this together.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. | Albert Einstein

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