Image Credit: GaudiLab/Shutterstock
-Williams Owoeye (Dawillty)
With each human invention, there most certainly is a trade-off. When we invented the electric bulb in a bid to mimic the sun, the trade-off was constantly supplying it with energy and the fact that it gets to blow up once every two months depending on your purchasing power. Solar-powered gadgets would have generally been a big win, but just look at what we are doing with the cost. What a shame!
When the existence of humans as we know it socially, economically, and politically got threatened by a deadly virus called COVID-19 throughout 2020, humans’ response to it was to deploy an alternative way of doing things that will help bypass the need for physical contact. Our education is not also left out of this disruption, and since our culture is already at the cliff; binge-consuming everything online from our news, entertainment, finance, down to our social interactions, remote or virtual transfer seems to be the panacea.
However, when our cave-dwelling ancestors started out, they did not get the memo from the future about doing things remotely. Their daily routine was to rise with the morning sun, forage into the wild and retire into their comfy caves when the sun went down at the end of the day. This, they have passed to us and it has been stamped into our essence. Thus, it feels natural to go out; be it to the market, farm, office, or to attend physical classes in the morning and return home in the evening. But, here we are, the 21st-century humans, trying to edit the timetable after thousands of years. Unsurprisingly, this came with a lot of health issues.
Remote Learning and Compromised Mental Health
Is it not quite interesting that the source of the ideas that gave birth to virtual innovation suffers the biggest casualty? It has to be the paradox of the century that in a bid to attain a better life, humans have exposed their mental health to costly dangers. The uncertainty and unreliability that is pervasive during this period, including a lack of face-to-face interaction, have been a trigger whose shots keep echoing as increased anxiety and depression among students. These might as well echo into the future in the form of a progressive decline in logical functioning of the brain due to damage (dementia), delusions, or abnormal perception, thinking, behaviour, and emotion (schizophrenia). Those are not made-up claims; it says so in this research.
It is a shame that we’ve grown so smart we have started shooting ourselves – the most intelligent species on the planet with its 4 billion brain cells – in the mud. If we want to get any chance at redemption, leveraging every channel available to get quality social relationship in good quantity during this period cannot be overstated: meet a dear one over a cup of ice cream under a shed in a sunny afternoon, initiate that meet up to see those individuals you have been dying to see, make that date work this week and stop procrastinating. Let go of your ego; you will be doing yourself a lot of good investing in those social bonds and don’t forget to adhere to COVID-19 precautions.
Virtually Clicking Away, Physically Wasting Away
Can you guess how many clicks of a computer mouse are needed to burn just 1 calorie of energy? Do you think a 100 or 500 of rapid clicks? Multiply any of those by 1000 and you will still be wrong. It takes a whopping 10 million clicks. But it seems you have been doing a lot, right? Hopping at great speed between different Zoom classes and chasing those notifications like a cheetah. Sorry to burst your bubble, but you have not been expending much physical energy as you will like to think. Virtual learning would have been a big plus if it were a strategic way to build an energy reserve for the next pandemic, but unfortunately, your body is not a silo. In fact, rather than be an asset, just sitting down in a place and getting holed up in your room affects your physical health negatively.
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Do you even know that the reason most people that get admitted into a hospital or clinic lose weight is not just because of the loss of appetite or the diseases they are experiencing alone? Muscle atrophy, which is a deterioration of our muscles, occurs when we don’t use them as frequently as we should. This is well pronounced in those that have lost some functions of any of their limbs to paralysis. The apparent shrinkage in the size of the limbs is not due to any other thing other than the fact that they are not being used because blood and nutrients supply has been cut off from such limbs. But you don’t need to be reminded about how it goes for those that use their muscles actively maybe in the gym or while at their day-to-day activities. It is just the simple law of nature; you use it, it grows but if you don’t, it wastes away.
While you might want to argue that you have not seen any obvious decrease in your body size in recent times – perhaps you might have even observed an increase – trust me, dear, that is not muscle increase; it is rather fat increase, and if you need a reminder of the harms inherent in that, the video below is all you need, and it comes with golden nuggets of better ways to maintain an active lifestyle.
The source is known; thanks to Revd. Sister Francisca Ndulue for sharing this video on the BMLS 2k21 WhatsApp group page.
All in all, life, they say, is what happens when you are busy planning something else. It sounds like life is some elusive entity beyond our comprehension but most times we get dazed because we have simply not been paying enough attention to the things that are happening around us. As our health is also not something that plays physically right in front of us, we should not get played by virtual impressions. It is important for us to listen to what our body is trying to tell us and feed it with its needs among which social interaction and maintaining an active lifestyle is an integral part.