Tag Archives: Technology

What Will Exercise Routines Be Like in a Hundred Years?

A new fitness fad comes along every decade or so. There were gentle stretching exercises for ladies in the 1910s, twist dances in the 1950s, aerobics videos in the 1980s, and Zumba classes in the 2010s. (If you haven’t seen it already, this video shows 100 years of fitness in 100 seconds).

A hundred years ago, exercise was built into everyone’s day. The vast majority of people didn’t own cars or many other modern conveniences back then. They walked or rode a horse into town, chopped wood, scrubbed their clothing by hand, planted, weeded, and then harvested their crops, preserved food, repaired their wagons and tools, carried buckets of water to the plants and animals under their care, and did many other physically demanding chores from morning until evening.

The First Half of My Prediction

As fossil fuels become far more rare and expensive, humans will start adding some of these activities back into their daily lives in order to save money. Walking a couple of miles to a nearby destination only costs as much extra food as it will take to fill your stomach once you need to eat again. While this has already been a common thing here in Toronto for many years, I see it becoming much more socially acceptable to walk to all kinds of places in suburban and rural communities, too, in the coming years.

Eventually the price of driving to all of those locations is going to be too high to do anything else on a regular basis. As grocery store costs rise, I wouldn’t be surprised if it also became more common for people who own a patch of unused land to start growing and preserving some of their own food again as well.

Exercise will no longer be about purposefully lifting weights or setting aside half an hour a day to break a sweat. People will naturally need to do these things during their daily routine in order to save money or maybe even to survive in general. This is going to change everything from what folks do for fun to how far away from their jobs or schools they’ll be willing to live.

I wouldn’t be surprised if tele-commuting became almost universally available for students and workers alike, especially for those who aren’t able to live closer to town for any number of reasons. Why physically go into school or the office if you can get all of the same information online while saving valuable money and time on the commute?

The Second Half of My Prediction

The other thing I see happening with exercise in the future is it becoming much more technologically-aware. We have just entered the age of digital fitness trackers, and I only see them becoming more important in the future for many different reasons.

Imagine students who are enrolled in online schools getting credit for gym class while they’re digging potatoes out of the garden or wiping off the solar panels next to their house. Some kids would respond much better to this than they would to playing the kinds of team sports that are generally shown as examples of staying active. I know that I would have been much more interested in gym class had I been shown a wider range of ways to stay fit and then been allowed to pick a few that interested me the most. There’s nothing wrong with liking football or basketball, but there are so many other forms of exercise out there!

Think about how much information your family doctor could get about your health if he or she was able to see an average of how many minutes of exercise you’ve gotten per day for the last year as well. Maybe he or she could also see your blood sugar levels, blood pressure numbers, and resting and active heart rates, too. I’ve known people whose blood pressure rises dramatically whenever they have it checked at the doctor’s office because they get so anxious around people in the medical profession. These sorts of changes to the way health data is collected could give doctors a much more accurate picture of how their patients are really doing.

Insurance companies could give discounts to people who agreed to share their activity levels or who showed a steady increase in the number of minutes of exercise they did every week as well. While I would never agree with forcing people to share this kind of information in order to qualify for insurance coverage, it could be a nice incentive for folks who want to save a little cash and begin some healthier habits at the same time.

Will some of these predictions come true far sooner than 2117? I wouldn’t be surprised if they did, to be honest. It will be interesting to see how technology and exercise continue to develop over the next few decades. Only time will tell if I’m right about some, all, or none of the societal changes I think are on their way.

Why Automated Direct Messages Are a Terrible Idea

monday-blogs-1This is a repost from my old blog. I will be back on Thursday with new material. 

An automated DM (direct message) is a private message that an account sends to you as soon as you follow it. I’ve been seeing far too many of them on Twitter lately.

They are usually used to promote something the account holder is selling like a book or an album. While some DMs don’t follow this rule, all of them are impersonal spam.

Here’s the thing: Twitter is a social media site. People use it to make new friends, share their thoughts, and stay up-to-date on current events. Trying to exploit this to market your product is an excellent way to annoy or even alienate 98% of the people you meet.

As an author, I understand the urge to reach out to potential new readers. I’ve found new readers on Twitter. I’ve also bought multiple books that I first heard about from other tweeps, but it was never due to the author telling me to buy their stuff.

In fact, an automatic DM is one of a handful of things that will prompt me to immediately unfollow someone. It leaves a horrible first impression that is hard to shake off.

Why have I purchased all of those books, then?

Because their authors didn’t make their Twitter streams or their private messages into nonstop commercials. Yes, they shared links when their newest book came out and occasionally mentioned older projects as well.

Most of the time, though, they talked about all of the other things that were going on in their lives. Some of them shared hilarious stories about the  naughty things their pets did, while others talked about more serious subject matters like grief or recovering from child abuse.

They retweeted other people’s links regularly. I can’t count the number of times that I discovered a new author, blog, or Twitter handle to follow because someone chose to share something that they enjoyed.

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Just as importantly, they kept tabs on their followers lives as well. They regularly responded to people who asked them questions or said something they found interesting.

I often saw them cheer for friends who had finally reached a big goal and support others who were going through a hard time.

In short, they were genuine and generous.

So please don’t send out an automatic DM when you gain a new follower any more than you would use pop-ups on your website.

Get to know people as individuals instead.

Build your following one person and one friendly interaction at a time.

Don’t rush it.

Twitter isn’t a race.

It’s more like a party. Slow down, relax, and enjoy the festivities. Nobody is going home anytime soon.

Why Everyone Should Stop Using Pop-Ups

StopThis is a repost from my old blog. I will be back next week with new material. 

I don’t normally rant on this blog, but I’ve been having issues with pop-ups lately. Pop-up advertisements are one of the fastest and most efficient ways to drive me away from a site. It doesn’t matter how much I loved the article I was reading, what the pop-up is saying, or how long I’ve been a fan of that blogger or website.

If the administrators interrupt my concentration with an unwanted pop-up, they’re going to lose a reader for good. If their ad includes a video that starts playing automatically, I’ll be so annoyed that I will tell friends and family members to avoid that site as well.

No, I’m not opposed to the use of advertisements on websites in general. They’re a necessary part of making money on the Internet, and I completely understand that. Banner ads are fine, as are advertisements that are inserted halfway through whatever essay or article I’m reading as long as they don’t make noise or cover up the text.

I don’t care what kinds of racy pictures an ad might include or if they use clickbait titles to grab the reader’s attention. Those are some of the things I’ve come to expect from the web. Non-intrusive online ads are like billboards: sometimes they’re silly; often they’re cheesy; rarely they might even be helpful or interesting.

When a website decides to interrupt me when I’m reading one of their articles by launching a pop-up that I never wanted, though, they’re sending a very clear message about how little they value my time and attention.

It would be like a server interrupting you in the middle of a meal in order to take your half-finished plate away and ask if you wanted to order another entree. I can count the number of times that is acceptable on one hand, and every single one of them would begin with you asking for help due to something like undercooked meat, a fly in your soup, or food allergy issues.

You don’t just randomly start taking things away from people if you want them to keep coming back.

So, please. For the love of pete, stop using pop-up ads.