Unplug your workout: Why nixing technology can be therapeutic


Related Articles

There’s been a lot of buzz on the Internet lately about taking the time to unplug your world for a little bit. (So, you know, we don’t turn into mindless robot drones or something.) But seriously, putting down the smartphone, skipping social media and reconnecting to yourself and to nature can be very beneficial to your health and well-being. You could reduce your stress, build stronger relationships, and not want to throw your computer out of a window after work hours (oh wait, is that just me?).

If you have the willpower to unplug a little bit each day, why not multitask? Use the time you carved out for exercise to unplug, and you’ll be jotting things off your to-do list every day. Here are a few ways to get in some electronic-free physical activity:


Forget about the apps

The next time you’re biking or running, leave your smartphone at home. Sure, we all like to measure our stats — how far we’ve gone, how much time it took us to get there — but sometimes they can be such buzz kills. When you’re having an off-day, those numbers could bring you down.


Roll up your sleeves and get dirty

Being among nature benefits your health, including seeing an increase in immune function, lowered stress and relief of depression. A new study finds that activities such as gardening, do-it-yourself projects and housework may be as good as formal exercise when it comes to reducing the risk for heart attack and stroke for people 60 and older.

Turn off the iPod

A music-free workout? Who ever though of such a thing? I know, I know. Just try it once while you’re running, biking, doing Yoga, whatever. The world around you is a little more interesting when you are actually in tune with it. There’s a certain primitiveness about running that gets amplified when you can feel your heart beating as your feet hit the ground in a metronome beat of left, right, left. You hear the sounds of mundane existence: the bark of a neighborhood dog and a child crying in the distance.

There’s a great article by Peter Sagal in the November 2013 issue of Runner’s World that says: “I have a friend who wears headphones on long solo runs because, he says, ‘I can’t spend that much time alone in my head.’ I disagree. Spending that much time in one’s head, along with the accumulated dust and the bats hanging from the various dendrites and axons, is one of the best things about running — at least the most therapeutic. Your brain is a like a duvet — every once in a while, it needs to be aired out.”


Buddy system

If your BFF likes to workout, you’ve scored! Give your fingers a break from texting and chat about the latest gossip in person. You'll literally be making your friendship stronger. Besides, workout buddies are a great source of motivation and accountability.

If you feel you honestly have a digital addiction, Coral Arvon, PhD, director of Behavioral Health and Wellness at the Pritikin Center told Fitness Magazine to take this self-test: Remove yourself from technology for three days. If you experience severe feelings of withdrawal, anxiety, irritability, stress or tension, you could have a dependency problem. Contact a medical professional.