Monday, July 21, 2014

HEALTH SERIES: Unseemingly daily unhealthy habits

Unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive drinking can
have a detrimental effect on our physical well-being, but certain
daily activities that we deem harmless may also be leading us
down a path to an early grave. Sitting most
of the day, wearing
an uncomfortable outfit, or spending too much time on our
Smartphones are just a few of the ordinary behaviors that we
fall victim to as a result of carelessness and relaxation. Here are
seven everyday activities that are destroying our idea of a
healthy lifestyle:

1. Sitting for Too Long
At one time or another, we all end up spending too much time
at our desk staring at the computer screen. Research shows
that extended periods of sitting can increase our risk of heart
disease, diabetes, depression, and certain types of cancer. What
we may not know is that even an adequate amount of exercise
cannot reverse the unhealthy effects of sitting for eight hours.
"Smoking is bad for you even if you get lots of exercise," said
exercise physiologist at the Healthy Active Living and Obesity
Research Group, Dr. Travis Saunders. "So is sitting too much."
Sitting, an unnatural position for the human body, can cut off
blood flow to our legs and feet while contorting our spine over
time. A 12-year study conducted 17,000 Canadians at the
Pennington Biomedical Research Centers revealed that
regardless of age, body, weight, or amount of exercise, people
who spend more time sitting have a shorter lifespan.

2. Wearing Uncomfortable Shoes, Bras, or Handbags
Women who fight through the pain of an uncomfortable bra,
handbag, or pair of shoes in the name of fashion may think
they are doing so only for that moment; however, health experts
say their current discomfort can lead to lifelong back problems.
Aside from back pain, wearing an ill-fitting bra can cause skin
rashes, tendonitis, and even gastrointestinal problems such as
irritable bowel syndrome. Even if that bulky handbag is the
hottest trend this fashion season, ladies may want to avoid
putting too much weight on their shoulders if they hope to
avoid back-related issues. The American Chiropractic
Association recommends that women carry no more than 10
percent of their body weight for extended periods of time.
“What we wear on our feet has a huge influence on our posture.
In fact, some of the worst shoes for your feet are also likely to
cause spine degeneration and even precipitate the need for
spine surgery,” chief medical director at Laser Spine Institute,
Dr. Michael Perry, told Medical Daily in an email. “High-heels
are the obvious culprit when it comes to poor shoe choices for
the feet and back. Heels pose a risk of falls, ankle sprains,
rapid degeneration of the joints in the feet and problems with
abnormal posture.”

3. Burying Our Heads in a Smartphone or Tablet
We may not think we’re causing too much damage by spending
a lengthy amount of time hunched over our Smartphone or
Tablet, but iPosture is very real. Poor posture triggered by
mobile device use is not only affecting older people, but also
those under the age of 24, who are finding it difficult to turn
their attention away from their iPhone for even a second. A
recent survey conducted by UK health care provider
Simplyhealth revealed that 84 percent of respondents between
the ages of 18 and 24 were suffering from lower back pain
caused by spending as much time on their Smartphone, tablet,
or computer as they did sleeping.
“Smartphones/tablets: Studies show that the progressive use of
smart phones and tablets can lead to an increase in medical
problems — the main culprit being ‘text neck.’ Text neck is
caused by leaning the head forward over a cell phone, tablet or
gaming system for an extended time.” Dr. Perry added.
“According to Forbes, with 2.19 trillion texts being sent
annually by U.S. customers, there are millions of potential
sufferers. The added strain on your neck and shoulders creates
muscle tension and an opportunity for an injured spine, as well
as disc herniation, muscle strain or pinched nerves. “

4. Not Getting Enough Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation recommends a healthy adult take
in anywhere between seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Aside from hindering our physical development and
contributing to our obesity risk, failing to get a healthy amount
of sleep can also impede on our neurological development. A
study conducted at the Uppsala University in Sweden found that
going even one night without sleep can result in an increase of
molecules that are biomarkers for brain damage.

“I enjoy late night TV shows." “If you habitually don't get enough sleep, you're at a
higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and many other
health problems. On a more vain level, less shut-eye means
bigger numbers on the bathroom scale. A meta-analysis in the
Sleep research journal reviewed 696 different studies from
around the world and found a strong link between sleep
deprivation and increased obesity among both children and

5. Daytime Napping
Now that we’ve covered the unhealthy side effects of not
getting enough sleep, let’s talk about getting too much sleep.
That midday nap could be an effective way to improve
productivity throughout the rest of our day, but spending too
much time napping can have an equally negative impact.
Experts in the art of napping suggest limiting naptime to just
less than 30 minutes to prevent our body from going into deeper
stages of sleep. On the other hand, data from the European
Prospective Investigation Into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk shows that
people who constantly nap for more than an hour each day
increase their early mortality risk by 32 percent.

6. Drinking Sugary Soft Drinks
At this point, we should all know that a diet riddled with soda
is anything but healthy. Some may not know the extent of the
damage their sugary soft drink addiction is having on their
health. For example, people who drink a can of soda a day
increase their risk of suffering a heart attack by 20 percent
according to a recent Harvard University study. The amount of
sugar in a single can of soda, 10 teaspoons, or 100 percent of
our daily recommended intake, can also increase our risk of
pulmonary complications such as asthma and chronic
obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).
“If you have a cola or your favorite soda beverage at lunch
every day, it may seem harmless,” Duvauchelle explained.
“However, in one year, drinking just one 12-ounce soda a day
is like eating nine of those generic 4-pound bags of sugar in
the grocery store! A study in the New England Journal of
Medicine followed 120,000 adults for two decades and found
that people who drank a single sugary drink once a day gained
extra weight, while other studies in other journals have linked
sugary beverages to diabetes, heart attacks, gout and more.”

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