As anyone coming from an older generation can tell you, a lot has changed in the past fifty years. The world no longer looks like it did in the 60s. Changes in communications, technology, and infrastructure have changed how we live our lives, from what we eat in the morning to what kind of car we drive. So, exactly what has driven this shift?
Since Jane Fonda hit home VCR players in the 1980s, aerobic exercise has been a popular way to stay in shape. However, over the next few decades, exercise equipment became a popular alternative as coed gyms gained popularity amongst men and women alike. However, even though cycling and Zumba classes are more popular than ever, obesity is also on the rise in many countries. Car commutes, more desk jobs, and longer work hours have forced millions of Americans into a more sedentary lifestyle. Since the 1980s, childhood obesity rates have tripled, while obesity rates currently soar at more than 20% in all 50 states.
In addition to activity levels, diets have changed over 50 years, and not necessarily for the better. Less time to cook and more choices at the supermarket have led to an increase in the consumption of processed foods. Luckily, in the past ten years or so, there has been a push back to the organic, farm-to-table meal options that were once the norm for American families.
Fifty years ago, communities were more localized, and businesses often dealt with their customers face-to-face. Nowadays most companies don’t operate on such a personal level, with most modern businesses communicating primarily through phone and email. With the advent of the Internet and mobile apps, businesses are also able to offer goods and services to a global population, allowing for growth on a global scale.
Some companies operate entirely online, saving money on overhead costs by avoiding rent on a brick-and-mortar space. Skilled remote or telecommuting employees can be hired from just about any corner of the globe to help with daily operations. Now, worldwide growth isn’t just limited to big corporations, as even small businesses have access to the same online resources.
Not so long ago, the only way to answer your question was to either speak to an expert or head down to the library. Information was more difficult to access and share, even among the academic community. Now, students can simply hop online to look up anything from ancient texts to research papers from anywhere in the world. Modern technology has removed the barriers that used to stand in the way of progress and academic achievement, allowing teachers, students, and researchers to all easily communicate with one another. Study apps on mobile devices offer a portable way for both students and lay people to learn at their own pace, helping them to further their education or their career.
We’ve come such a long way in the last 50 years, from what we eat, how we exercise, the way we do business to how we learn and study. It begs the question, what will our lives be like in the next 50 years?