The Importance of a Healthy Body Image
This week's podcast is all about young people's health and the digital fitness world. I spoke to two college students about their experience and interaction with digital fitness tech. Several themes came out of this conversation, some that surprised me even in the capacity of a doctor.
Digital fitness tech is a relatively new trend filled with big names that have come to the fore, from Fitbit to Apple to Samsung and more. The use of digital devices to enable and monitor good health practices is now being adopted by people from every background, young and old. Previously fitness watches were either the domain of the older generation wanting to keep a track of pulse changes or fitness fanatics keen to know as much about their progress as possible. What's becoming apparent now is that younger people with no previous health concerns and with lives not necessarily devoted to fitness are taking to gathering and using health data in a very practical way. The data is being used to make small shifts in their busy lives such as sleeping earlier resulting in significant health improvements in the longer term. Both students I spoke to had fitness devices, one a Fitbit and the other an Apple Watch.
The social media world has placed undue pressure on young people, dictating the way they should dress, look, eat and ultimately feel. A sad aspect has become the, at times, toxic fitness culture that encourages young people to look a certain way through exercising a certain way and eating a certain way. One of the college students I spoke took a rightfully dim view of this culture, expressing her exasperation and declaring to the listening audience that people should not feel dictated to in this regard. On the opposite side of the spectrum was Zayd stating that college life brought maturity with it and encouraged healthier lifestyles rather than a pure focus on body image.
Regardless of which side of the fence you place yourself in the fitness culture craze, what is true as with most things is balance is essential. I've just finished watching the Karate Kid movies for the hundredth time and the Cobra Kai series (if you haven't watched it, it is fantastic!). I still get thrilled and inspired by the late Mr. Miyagi's calm demeanour and wisdom. A grandfather figure for all generations. His immortal words still ring through time: “ Lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance. Everything be better".