7 Habits Wrecking Your Health (Part 2)

Hey folks we are going to be pick up where we left off last week discussing the 7 habits that are wrecking your health, and what to do if you are stuck in one of these cycles.

If you haven’t already read part one of this blog series  HERE. It will help to provide the context necessary for you to get the most out of this blog post.

4. Sitting Too Much and Disease/Death Risk

As a society most of our daily activities take place with us sitting. Everything from our morning commute, the work that you do at a computer or your leisure activities like watching a movie or TV places place sitting.

It’s not that sitting in general is a horrible practice, but the amount of it you do on a daily basis  is where it begins start to damage your health and  increase your risk for diseases, and premature death.

Unfortunately sitting for prolonged periods of time is linked to premature death, and yes you read that correctly premature death and sitting are associated.

The interesting fact is that even if you exercise for an hour everyday, it does not offset the general sedentary lifestyle of sitting too much, these people are at the same level of risk.

Sitting for six hours or more per day can increase your risk of heart disease by 64%! Your risk for certain types of cancer is dramatically increased,  and your life expectancy is decreased by 7 years.

Based on the above factors and the risks they put you at for an early trip to grave site it is safe to say that sitting is killing you... slowly.

Now that we have covered how sitting too much damages your health we are going to take a look at the new habits and patterns you can implement in your life to solve this problem.

Break The Pattern:

The goal is to create periods of moderate daily activity that break up the time spent sitting.

To break up these periods of sitting that take place throughout the day you are going to be focusing on two different actions:

  • Taking a break from sitting once every hour

  • 30-45 minutes of Non Exercise Activity

While your trip to the gym does have huge health benefits, it does not count towards your 30-45 minutes.

These forms of non exercise physical activity could be walking to work, doing yard work, walking your dog the possibilities are endless. The focus is to get your body moving around for periods of at least 10 minutes at a time.

You want your non exercise activity to be done throughout the day, not all at once.

Next we will be looking at some strategies that help you to incorporate these periods of movement into your day and take the stress out of the new habit.

Activity Alarm:

We all live busy lives, and it can get very easy to lose track of time when we feel the squeeze, especially at some place like work.

Set an alarm for every few hours so you are reminded to get up and walk around for at least 10 minutes.

This same alarm system is a great reminder to stand up at least once an hour and  take a short stroll around the office before getting back to work.

Drink More Water:

While consuming more water has its own health benefits, the purpose here is to force yourself to get up more frequently from your desk to fill up your water bottle or go to the bathroom.

Schedule A Walking Meeting:

We spend a lot of time inside and don't get to truly enjoy the fresh air or  beauty outside enough. Break up the monotony of a meeting by scheduling a walking meeting instead.

By combining walking with a client or business meeting it can enrich the process and  provide mental and physical stimulation.

Make All Your Phone Calls While Walking:

This is a great trick for remembering to make phone calls, but also using the phone time to increase your daily movement.

This is a great habit for sneaking in an extra 45-60 minutes, that you would have otherwise been sitting.

Afternoon Slump/Food Cravings Walk:

Everyone has experienced the afternoon slump that typically results in a cup of coffee or a sugary snack.

Sometimes it is just boredom or the fact that you have been sitting down for too long. Use this opportunity to wake your body up, go for a walk and have a glass of water instead of hitting the vending machine.  

For people who experience strong food cravings for poor foods I encourage them to go on a walk.

5. Eating Too Fast Or Stressed

To properly digest food you need to be in a relaxed state, otherwise your digestive system will not function properly and cause dysfunction.

Do you ever experience bloating, gas or burping shortly after meals ? Trying chewing your food better and see if those symptoms improve.

Eating quickly can appear to be a time saver, but it causes people to overeat and not pay attention to the signals the body is sending.

As a society digestive problems, stress and rushed eating all go hand in hand, and are interrelated.

When you are distracted while eating your attention is not on how full you feel, or your digestion.

You have an innate system in your body that connects your digestive system to your brain. This system is designed to regulate hunger in your brain based on the amount/quality of  food in your stomach.

The signal from your stomach to your brain takes 15-20 minutes. However if you eat an entire plate of food before your body can send or receive the signal you can easily overeat.

Break The Pattern:

To help break this pattern you will need to become more aware of your habits around food, and whether you are eating on the run or sitting down and relaxing.

By incorporating more mindful eating into your daily life you will naturally reduce stress and eat in a more relaxed state.

This relaxation when eating allows for better digestion and a person to be more in tune with their hunger from the brain and stomach stand point. 

Here are the top five ways you can start to incorporate more mindful eating in your everyday life and   meals, starting with the next bit of food you take!

5 Ways To Increase Mindful Eating

  • Get away from screens and stressful activities - Take 5 deep breaths

  • Think about three things you are thankful for in life before taking your first bite of food

  • Admire the colors and smells of your food

  • Put your fork down in between bites. This habit leads to better chewing and digestion

  • Eat until you are no longer hungry for the next bite, not until you are “full”

Part 3 Next Week!