There are two things Denise Lewis does better than almost everyone in the UK: athletics… and not looking at her phone all the time.
The Olympian, who won a gold medal for the heptathlon at the Sydney Games in 2000, is the host of a new Google-backed podcast, Runtetheredwhich explores the benefits and joy of focusing on a sport, task or challenge rather than your phone.
And she really is the best person to present it.
Phone addiction among UK adults is worse than ever, with 35% of mobile phone owners rarely more than a few centimeters from their device and 17% saying they don’t can’t go more than 20 minutes without looking at their phone. Surprisingly, 16% can’t even go half an hour without needing to check their device.
The stats are simply mind-boggling (and certainly familiar to most of us), but Denise has managed to develop and maintain a very healthy, hands-off relationship with her handset, using it sparingly to plan trips, search for recipes, and for small intentional social media checking moments. She even takes her dog for walks regularly. without headphones, choosing to hear the sounds of nature and his four-legged friend rather than listening to a playlist.
Denise said women’s health: ‘I think it gives you the space you need to think. I really just like to inhale. Just walk. Listen and don’t talk, except the dog. I like calm. I actually wonder if it has anything to do with being able to have laser focus because I was an athlete. It could be partly generational. Maybe it’s partly because I’m an only child, I’m quite happy in my own space.
And while it’s certainly impressive that Denise can happily walk around without wanting her phone right next to her, it still presents some challenges.
She laughed, “I keep misleading it. So usually I run around trying to find it, that’s why it helps to have a wearable, like my Google Pixel watch. Then, if I need to check an alert or the time, I can just look down and fast forward, as opposed to that ridiculous dash I do when reaching for my phone.
Runtethered will see Denise joined by five guests who have accomplished brilliant things through focus and consistency, and she hopes to hear about their journeys and how to be “unattached” to other people’s opinions, previous self-limiting beliefs or cultural nuances will make the pod an inspiring listen for people who want to wean themselves off their smartphones and embark on a new challenge or a new routine.
“I would like to compare it to a sort of five-room couch,” she said. “But her end goal is just to engage in an activity that you enjoy, where you can enjoy listening, but still feel like you’re free.”
Click here to listen Runtethered with Denise Lewis on Spotify now
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