The word “Pandemic” triggers an array of emotions related to coronavirus. Basically these consist of horrid memories of covid. But there is another pandemic, which is silently grasping a substantial population of world. This is pandemic of “lifestyle-related-diseases”, which are far more deadly than corona. Hence how to make lifestyle changes and get rid of lousy habits, is need of the hour.
What are lifestyle-related-diseases?
In general it includes certain diseases, that are mainly ascribed to bad lifestyle. These are
- hypertension (high blood pressure),
- obesity, hyper-lipidemia,
- cancer, psychiatric illness,
- pcos etc.
Day after day number of people affected by these slow killers is rising up. These diseases are chronic, hence once you are diagnosed with these, there is no turning back.
From corona you may get cured after few days or weeks, but a lifestyle disease inhabits your body lifelong. And till date there is no absolute cure for most such ailments. Further more in long run these invite other deathly diseases like heart attack, stroke, kidney failure etc.
Only way to do away with these, is prevention. Therefore to curb such diseases, we must avoid below mentioned bad lifestyle habits.
1. Sedentary life
‘Sedentary life habit’ tops this list. In this day and age human mostly rely on technology to make life easier.
To take part in this digital run, first came automobile, mobile, remote and appliances like washing machine, mixer-juicer and so on. Then we discovered internet, which was a massive breakthrough. Owing to easily accessible and cheap internet and apps, we can do online shopping, booking, meeting and even consultation with a swipe of a finger.
Further to add to this, come about technologies like artificial intelligence and Alexa. Hence we no longer need to lift even a finger. As a result we can accomplish a plethora of tasks, sitting at home and without moving an inch.
But sedentary life is turning out to be a misfortune. This bodily comfort is killing us like a slow poison.
The more we behave like a couch potato, the more we attract diseases like obesity, diabetes, hyper-lipidemia etc. These in turn lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and so on.
Following are some countermeasures to overcome sedentary lifestyle:
- Walk : Walking briskly for at least 15-30 minutes a day should be embedded in daily routine. In fact it the easiest and cheapest way to put an end to sedentary life habit. Running, cycling and swimming fall into the same category.
- Exercise : If you are wild about gymming, that would be best. But every individual may not happen to like it. In such cases simple stretching exercises, yoga, pranayama are good alternatives.
- Home task : We have so much to do at home to keep us mobile and active. Hence start doing house hold chores to avoid being desk-bound.
2. Junk food
“Junk food”, the name says it all. Eating junk food means stock-piling junks inside body. Everyday we dump these trashes into our tummy. Junk food comprises of pizza, soft drinks, chocolates, ice cream, processed-pre-packed food or any deep fried food.
The reason why we stick to such products is, these give an instant calorie-burst, hence a sense of euphoria. As a result we feel like snacking more and more.
Only plus point about such food items is, they are taste-bud pleasing. But once they gain access into your system, they can only and only harm you.
Fast foods are packed with refined carb, trans fats, sodium, chemicals, oxidants and carcinogens. When ingested repeatedly these calorie-balls gradually erode our body, just like junk erodes metal leaving behind a hollow structure.
Below are unwanted effects of having too much fast food:
Thus while putting these into mouth, pause and think about their after effects on body. Rather than mis-spending money on junk foods, replace them with healthy alternatives like curd, dry fruits, home made drinks and juices etc.
3. Sleep habits
When you lie-down on bed and you start dozing in minutes then you are among few luckiest people on earth. Because being able to induce sleep quickly and naturally is so hard to achieve now a days.
Primary reason why we fail to sleep quickly is, we are obsessed with gadgets like television, mobile etc. We check out mobile and laptop when we are not sleepy. Again we can’t sleep as we are glued to these gadgets. This cycle goes on and on. And finally when we subdue this urge and try to sleep, thousands of thoughts pop up.
From my personal insight, whenever I sleep late at night, the next morning I will be exhausted, irritable, less energetic and less productive. On the other hand, when I sleep early and have a sound sleep of 6 to 8 hours, it’s refreshening and inspiriting.
Evidently night owls are more at risk of following conditions:
- heart diseases
- type-2 diabetes
- psychiatric diseases like anxiety and depression
- impaired immune system ( frequent infection )
As per a study in United Kingdom, people who don’t sleep on time, are at 10% higher risk of early death. So never try to mess with biological clock of your body.
But, how to reschedule bedtime? Here I am sharing what I follow routinely. While going to bed, I keep a safe distance from tv, mobile, tab etc. Before I lie down, I switch off lights and minimise noise. The moment when tons of life problems and guilts crop up, I block each and every thought.
Thought is like a butterfly. Once you chase a thought, you will be lost in a vast dense forest of mind. Thus I consciously prevent my brain to go after thoughts, each time it wanders.
However if you have insomnia because of some stress, then consult a psychiatrist or counsellor and also seek support of friends and family.
4. Water intake
Do you recall those days, when you are occupied with something and you sense that your mouth is drying up! Yet you decide to hold off thirst for few more minutes till you are done. Eventually you don’t realise when those minutes turn into hours. This is how we let our body suffer in dehydration on busy days.
For proper functioning, a young human body has 60% water as it’s constituent. Commonly we lose water in form of not only urine and motion but also in breathing, sweating and other secretions. We depend on water for metabolism as well.
So, on an average a human body needs at least 8 glasses i.e. 2 litre of water daily for maintaining equilibrium. If we can take 3-4 litres of water then also it’s kind of a bonus. As it will drain out toxic substances from body more proficiently.
What if we take less water?
Inadequate intake of water subjects our body to following :
- dry skin
- kidney stone
- joint pain
- loss of concentration and cognition
- susceptibility to infection
- heart disease
- stroke etc.
Depleted water inside body instigates false sensation of hunger, known as pseudo hunger pain. This is a strange scenario when body confuses thirst with hunger. So you end up eating more and put on weight.
Thus how to match up your water requirement?
- Always keep a water bottle nearby. Also keep a track of amount of water that you are drinking.
- Avoid too much tea or coffee, as these brings down water content inside body.
- Take fresh fruits and vegetables, as these have reasonably high percentage of water.
- Drink more juices, lemon water, coconut water etc.
- If you are dehydrated, consume a glass of water with a tea-spoon of sugar and a pinch of salt. If you have an aversion to sugar then add only salt to water. Salt helps in retaining water inside body. ( But this is not recommended for people who have hypertension or high blood pressure. In such circumstances consult a physician )
The bottom line is never ignore thirst, as it is a way how body signals to drink water. After all water is the most vital nutrient.
5. Smoking, alcohol and drug abuse
Movies and series have significant impact on our lives. When we see our favourite actor smoking or drinking and then thrashing villain, we are in awe.
Then subconsciously we presume that smoking and drinking is kind of cool. Everyday-stress, peer pressure and FOMO ( fear of missing out ) also lead the way towards addictions.
You may debate, “So what? It’s just a habit!” Let me be clear that addiction is not merely a habit, but a proven chronic illness. I would rather call it “Death in disguise.” Considering that human body systems develop psychological and physical dependency towards it.
Smoking results in COPD, asthma, lung cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure etc. Alcohol consumption gives rise to neurological diseases, heart diseases, liver failure etc. Not to forget, alcohol is a major cause of road traffic accidents. Addiction also drives one’s social and family life towards misery.
I have watched people in their 30’s being diagnosed with cancer and liver failure. All that is left for them is painful and premature death. So open your eyes before it’s too late. No govt is ever going to outlaw these substances. No movie star will dare to reveal this truth in his movies.
You need to learn how to do away with it. But never try to discontinue these addictions right away. It can bring lethal consequences. Wherefore always look around for expert advice and rehabilitation for de-addiction.
Another uprising addiction irrespective of age and gender is gadget and social media addiction. Below are some ways to deal with it.
I want to highlight here that “discipline” is what we all need, to keep away from above mentioned bad lifestyle habits. If we practice discipline in our thoughts and actions, then it will lead us towards an orderly and healthy life.
Today corona pandemic has taught us that, good health is beyond any price. Whole world is currently shifting it’s focus towards better-quality health. So why not make ourselves fitter by bringing forth some basic lifestyle changes!
Share your thoughts on this topic and add let me know what else is left. Share it with your family and friends and let them live a healthier life too.