The other day I went mountain biking at the 2012 Olympic Course in Hadleigh, Essex.

It was fantastic!

I’d never really done any biking before, but soon found myself doing parts of the Olympic track that were, quite frankly, pretty terrifying!

I’m making an effort these days to try out new things like this, really just to gain new experiences and do things I’ve never done before.

What’s more it helps to get me out of the house.

Working from home, mainly online or on the phone with clients, can mean I’m stuck inside a lot and making an effort to get out every now and then is good for the mind and the body.

All too often these days many people find themselves stuck indoors, not just because of their job, commitments, etc., but quite often because they are glued to their electronic devices such as TV, phone, and internet.

There’s no doubt that technological developments in recent decades has transformed our lives, in many ways for the better, but we must be aware of the health impacts that it has.

For example, studies have shown a link between problematic internet usage and various health issues included anxiety, stress, depression, ADHD and autism.

To help prevent over use of the internet and electronic devices affecting your health, consider taking the following steps:

Take Breaks

Over use of these electronic devices can lead to sedentary behaviour whereby we simply aren’t moving around enough.

This (which in some circles has genuinely been referred to as “couch potato syndrome”) has been linked with things such as heart disease, increased inflammation, diabetes, and obesity.

To help combat this set yourself reminders to move around, and get out for a walk every so often. When I work during the day I use something known as the “Pomodoro technique”. This is essentially where you work solidly for 25 minutes, and then take a 5 minute break. And start over again. During this break I keep away from electronics and ensure I keep my body moving.

I also set time aside for longer walks (and gym workouts) during the day. This doesn’t only keep me moving (which is great for my health) but also means I’m much more productive when I am working.

Be careful of light

The light from the screens can seriously disrupt our sleep hormone and will therefore reduce the quality of our sleep (which can worsen the symptoms of IBD).

To help with this, use apps on your phone and tablet that dim the screen through the day, so that if using them in the evening/night, they aren’t so bright.

Make REAL connections

Even though these things are designed to connect us with others, over use of the internet, phones, TV’s, computer games, etc can ultimately lead to social isolation. Many of us are too busy with our heads stuck in a screen to actually have social interaction with people, but this has been linked with many problems including increased anxiety and stress (both of which will worsen the symptoms of IBD).

Making sure you make time to put away your devices and schedule in time to interact with real life people on a regular basis is actually surprisingly important for your health.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you stop using these devices. I use them for many hours a day each and every day myself. The internet is a wonderful thing (it’s put you and I in touch after all!).

But being aware of the health impact they can have, and taken action to minimise that, will be a small step in the right direction of helping you to beat the symptoms of your IBD.

Speak soon,

Greg

 

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