4 Ways Even Healthy People Are Neglecting Their Health
Modern living does not want us to be healthy. It conspires to keep us sheltered under artificial light sitting in front of computer screens for hours at a time. It encases us in boxes of metal, glass and plastic, hurtling down the freeway in excess of 70 miles per hour. It litters our path with temptation, ensuring that we’re never far away from addictive high calorie, low nutrient sugary, fatty, salty convenience foods yet making us feel guilty when we succumb to their ubiquitous allure.
We all face an uphill battle to stay healthy in the 21st century. But as hard as we try, many of us are hindered by the fact that we can be somewhat myopic in our understanding of what it takes to be healthy. We are told a great deal to consider the impact of diet and exercise and while these are two enormously important pieces of the puzzle, they are not the only aspects of our health that we must consider. In order to be truly healthy and get the most out of life in our work and our play, we must embrace these aspects of health that even healthy people can often neglect…
Working from the outside in
When approaching our health, the main reason why people can gravitate towards our diet and our exercise is because these are the aspects of health that we wear the most on our proverbial sleeves. If we work out regularly and eat a healthy, calorie controlled diet, there’s a good chance that we’ll have leaner and more toned bodies. But making dietary choices based on how they affect our appearance rather than how they benefit our overall health can be a dire mistake. It can lead us to spend years on potentially fatal diets like the Atkins diet or see us hop from one faddy “detox” to another. If you’re to be truly healthy, it’s vital that you eat a balanced diet comprised mostly (or even entirely) of fresh veggies and fruit. This will ensure that your intake of harmful saturated fats and additives (there’s a reason why processed meats are classified by the World Health organization as type 1 carcinogens).
In today’s increasingly hectic and busy climate it seems as though none of us ever have enough time. Between the demands of work, maintaining our homes, taking care of our kids and trying to scrape together enough time for something that resembles a social life, it can feel as though there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to squeeze it all in.
And so we sacrifice something that is absolutely vital to maintaining good health… our sleep. But sleep is not a luxury. It’s not something we can go without so that we can squeeze in an extra episode of Westworld before we turn in for the night. If we don’t get at least 7-9 hours of sleep and every night this can lead to a range of unpleasant side effects including weight gain, lack of concentration or focus at work or on the road, mood swings and accelerated aging.
Our teeth are extremely important both for our health and our appearance. A dazzling smile is an integral part of making the right first impression in the boardroom, at the interview table or on a first date. But the benefits of staying on good terms with a great dentist don’t stop at the cosmetic. Poor dental hygiene will result in receding gums, bad breath, tooth loss and an inability to chew your food. A 2013 study even linked poor oral hygiene with mouth cancer.
Posture and spine health
When your Mom told you to stand up straight as a kid, she wasn’t just worried that you looked slovenly, it was because she was worried about your ongoing health… Probably. Bad posture can affect your health in a range of negative ways and it doesn’t do your appearance any favors either. It can push your head forward giving you the appearance of a double chin, while also pushing your stomach out to make it look bigger. It can also impede your digestion making it harder to process food. It can even increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
The trouble is that we spend so much sitting at work, at home and on our way from one to the other that bad posture seems an inevitable consequence… But it needn’t be. Walk or cycle to work, engage in more active hobbies, spend less time in front of screens or at least get up for a quick walk to the bathroom or the water cooler every half an hour.
Your lifestyle may be working against you, but only you have the power to take your health into your hands!