Two weeks ago I wrote about turning 75 and the increasing rate of technological growth during my lifetime. This week I write about some of the possibilities in the arena of health and fitness for the next 20 years for you and me.
For example, are machines taking over? I’m not talking about the machines we see in the typical gym today. I’m talking about esoteric machines that will exercise our muscles and joints in just minutes a day — and that’s all we will ever need. No more sweating in the gym.
I just received an email from the Bulletproof Coffee and Bulletproof Diet guy, who is now promoting a machine that will give you a week’s worth of exercise in only fifteen minutes. All you have to do is stand on his Whole Body Vibration Plate and that’s all the exercise you need. This 24 inch by 25 inch gadget can be yours for only $1345.50, and that’s with a discount. Sure.
But in reality, there are machines being designed by private industry to help astronauts exercise while in space and for the bedridden in hospitals. These are real technological advances but seem to be to be limited to muscle maintenance for now. Machines to exercise and strengthen the bones, heart, lungs and joints may not be far behind.
Will we live to enjoy a future with all our exercise done by standing on, or being hooked up to, a machine? Probably not. We still need to strengthen our bones, keep our lungs functioning and our blood circulating with real exercise for now.
Just this morning, in my illustrious local newspaper, The Washington Post (notice no bold type), there is an article on how scientists are working on a way to put space travelers in a state of “hibernation” (like bears in winter), to allow long periods of isolated travel in space. Apparently NASA is working on it and the head of the private company involved is seeking funding to allow them to study it more. They are also trying to figure out a way to keep the body from wasting away during this hibernation period. The writer, Eric Niller (yes, that’s with an “N”), said that the “benefits include a cut in the food and water required on their spacecraft, a reduction in waste products, smaller living quarters and less space needed for supplies, exercise and entertainment.” Hmm, Sounds like the same thing the mayor of New York wants for his city. Remind me not to sign up.
The point is that technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace and that areas of health and fitness are not being left out. The concept of hibernation, or a way to put humans in some sort of state of suspended animation may become a reality in the not so distant future, and possibly even in my lifetime and yours. But for now, I’ll just do my exercises and my stretches and eat real food to keep myself functioning as well as I can for as long as I can. I hope you’ll do the same.
Of course the standout quote from the Washington Post article this morning is from Matteo Cerri, a scientist pondering ethical issues that hibernation might raise. As a former military pilot, I can appreciate his concern. His quote:
“If you are not conscious, how are we going to know what to do if something goes wrong?”
Good question. Thanks for reading.