Can Facebook, Text Messaging And Blogging Shorten Your Life?
I have taken a semester off from my high school teaching job to promote my book, Millionaire Teacher.
But is the added isolation taking years off my life?
I do more blogging, Facebooking and basic online communicating than I ever did before. I used to be surrounded by people most of the day. Now I sit in front of a computer.
I’m not a total hermit, but I’ve found that my new, online, semi-secluded life has drawn me further from the ideals of the Blue Zone.
As someone who recently overcame cancer, I’m very interested to learn how to increase my longevity, and focussing on the characteristics of people who live in the world’s Blue Zones (where people live the longest) seems like a first step.
Pasted directly from Wiki, the Five Blue Zones that have been identified by Buettnerhere are:
- Sardinia, Italy: One team of demographers found a hot spot of longevity in mountain villages where men [often] reach the age of 100 years.
- Okinawa, Japan: Another team examined a group that is among the longest lived on Earth.
- Loma Linda, California: Researchers studied a group of Seventh-day Adventists who rank among America’s longevity all-stars.
- Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica: The Nicoya Peninsula was the subject of research on a Quest Network expedition which began on January 29, 2007.
- Icaria, Greece: The April ’09 expedition to the island of Ikaria uncovered the location with the highest percentage of 90 year-olds on the planet – nearly 1 out of 3 people make it to their 90s. Furthermore, Ikarians “have about 20 percent lower rates of cancer, 50 percent lower rates of heart disease and almost no dementia”.
Residents of the first three places produce a high rate of centenarians, suffer a fraction of the diseases that commonly kill people in other parts of the developed world, and enjoy more healthy years of life.
The characteristics shared by Blue Zoners:
- Citizens are involved in their communities. Human interaction is paramount. One on one relationships are vital.
- Plant-based diets transcend a reliance on meat.
- Continual exercise
- Fewer people smoke
- Family is prioritized over work… and families often work together
Where Am I Slipping?
- I work in isolation, rather than with other students and teachers in a school setting
- I have become mildly addicted to blogging, Facebooking and online communicating. With only so many hours in the day, one on one relationships become a casualty
- I’m exercising less as a result of the first two above. At work, many teachers congregate at the school’s gym, and we work out together. There’s even a daily organized “Boot Camp”. I have isolated myself from that community.
- My daily schedule isn’t determined by a school timetable, so I’m less effective with my time. Yoga and meditation are important life extenders for cancer survivors. Now that I’m not working, I don’t seem to have the time for those things (can you spot the irony?)
What Am I Going To Do About This?
- After finishing this post, I’ll finish my breakfast (is it healthy to eat and blog simultaneously?)
- I’ll drink my organic green tea, read a paper, and when my food settles, I’ll do push-ups, chin-ups, dips and some core exercises at the playground beneath our condominium. To fulfil the socialization gap, I’ll knock on my neighbour’s door to see if I can drag her into it.
- After lunch, I’ll head up to my school to watch some student sports competitions, before running the 11km home from school.
And I’ll make a daily schedule, ensuring that I fit the blue zone elements on a daily basis. I’m not disciplined enough to be self-employed, it appears.
But I can creep back towards the Blue Zone.
How about you? Like me, has technology taken you away from the Blue Zonisms? Or have you exercised more balance than I have?