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Improving My Health One E-Book at a Time

June 21, 2012
English: Photo of a criterium road bicycle rac...

I can read and ride a bike at the same time (kind of), but doing so in this situation might not improve my health. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a writer, I want to live as long as possible because the longer I live, the more opportunities I have to be successful (even if I weren’t a writer, I’d want to live a long time).  It’s not like being an athlete, where if you haven’t made it by the time you’re 30, your options are kind of limited (coaching, broadcasting, selling insurance).  Writers can hit it big at any time, so we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves and give ourselves the greatest chance possible of being successful. 

Unfortunately, some recent studies say e-readers and tablets can be bad for our health.   At first I was skeptical (great, another study), but now I can understand the studies’ point. 

People who read/write too much on their tablets look down a lot and get back/neck problems because of poor posture, and that can be bad for your health.  People sit too much when they read/write on their tablets, and sitting down for too long is bad for your health.  People who read/write on their tablets and walk at the same time trip over curbs, get hit by 18 wheelers, or get conked on the head by deviants, and all of those things are bad for your health.  

But it doesn’t have to be like this.  Using e-readers and tablets to read and write have actually helped me to improve my health. 

Tablets have helped me to improve my posture because they’re light (even if I’m reading Atlas Shrugged, which I’m not) and I can hold them up face-level with one hand, which means I don’t have to look down all the time.  I alternate hands/arms when I read, so an arm doesn’t get tired, and I can look up the entire time.  Try that with a book.  It might be possible with a paperback, but then I’d have to squint.  I’m too old to squint.  It’s the 21st century, I have the technology, and I don’t want to squint anymore.  But I do want good posture. 

English: PEARL HARBOR (Jan. 20, 2010) Senior C...

That’s not me, but reading and biking like this has improved my health. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also, I can use the stationary bike when I read/write on a tablet.  I can pedal fast and read from a tablet at the same time.  It’s one of the few times I can multitask effectively (the other is watching football and folding laundry at the same time).  I can read and get my heart rate up (without having to read 50 Shades of Gray).  Writing on a tablet is a little more difficult than reading.  I have to slow down the pedaling a little bit when I write.  If I were really biking, I’d call it coasting. 

Unfortunately, this combination of cardio activity and reading/writing is limited to the stationary bike.  I wouldn’t try this on a treadmill (because I might fall and break something, and I’m not talking about the tablet).  I wouldn’t try this on a real bike (because an 18 wheeler might make me two-dimensional).  I wouldn’t try this on an elliptical (I’d get motion sickness trying to follow the tablet with my eyes). 

I consider myself pretty lucky.    I like my stationary bike.  I like reading/writing on my tablet.  I’m lucky that I live in a time and a place where I can use my stationary bike and my tablet to … aaarrgh!  I hate it when I can’t think of a good concluding sentence!

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4 Comments
  1. Oh man, not another excuse not to go to the gym…;-)

    • No kidding. There are never enough reasons not to go to the gym. I do all this at home because I don’t think I could read/write at the gym.

  2. The requirement of my treadmill and my elliptical were that they have ledges for my iPad, so that I can read and workout!

  3. Judy permalink

    I’m just glad I can read or write on my tablet while watching tv.

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