Bad Habits (Schlechte Gewohnheiten)



Sie halten sich für ziemlich gesund? Sie essen mindestens 5 Portionen Obst und Gemüse pro Tag, schleppen sich zweimal pro Woche ins Fitnessstudio und sehen nicht übergewichtig aus?


Aber wussten Sie, dass es trotz aller Bemühungen eine Reihe von Alltagsgewohnheiten gibt, die sich negativ auf Ihre Gesundheit auswirken könnten? 


Der folgende Blog auf Englisch von unseren Partnern von Bio-Kult klärt auf.




You consider yourself fairly healthy; you manage 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, drag yourself to the gym twice a week and don’t look overweight. But did you know that despite best efforts, there are a number of everyday habits that could be having a negative impact on your health? Read on to find out more. 


I. Sitting


With so many jobs now being desk-based and increasingly sedentary life-styles outside of work, many people are now sitting for upwards of 12 hours a day! In the past 5 years, an accelerated amount of evidence has been published on the links between sitting and the leading causes of morbidity and mortality (cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers). This could potentially be because sitting has also been shown to increase fat storage. The American College of Sports Medicine therefore recommended that predominantly desk based workers should aim to work towards accumulating 2 hours/day of standing and light activity during working hours, eventually progressing to a total of 4 hours/day. The easiest way to meet these goals is to convert to using a standing desk, which many employers are now introducing, and taking regular sitting breaks (try setting an alarm on your phone or PC to remind you).


II. Technology


Contributing to our ‘sitting culture’ is our increased use of technology and the internet. In particular the rise of the smart-phone, now means we are never truly “off-line”. Research is increasingly showing an association between ‘problematic internet use’ (ie. an over-reliance or addiction to the internet) and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Increased computer use also means many people are spending more time indoors, limiting their sun exposure which could negatively impact on vitamin D levels. For a week, why not trial limiting recreational internet usage to 1 hour a day and monitoring what benefits you experience in terms of mood, energy and motivation. There are apps which can be downloaded onto phones and computers which block access to the internet during certain periods if you think will power might be an issue.


III. Eating too late


Whilst our grandparents generation may have thought it normal to sit down to dinner at 5pm each day, in recent decades the average time people eat their evening meal has gotten considerably later. Whilst this may allow you to work late or pack more social events into your evenings, eating too close to going to bed has been linked in studies to higher weight and body fat. It also puts additional strain on the digestive system, which should be using the overnight fast to repair and carry out much needed spring-cleaning (a process known as autophagy). In fact, some evidence suggests that having a longer over-night fast of around 16 hours (known as time-restricted feeding), could have a number of health benefits. In light of this, try bringing your evening meal forward by an hour or two. Ideally you want to have eaten by 6-7pm at the latest (this may require some batch cooking or taking a packed-dinner with you). 


IV. Hydration


We all know we need to do it, but many people are still not drinking enough water to maintain adequate hydration (particularly in the hot weather). Drinking fluids is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the function of every system in the body, including your heart, brain, and muscles. Fluids carry nutrients to your cells, flush bacteria from your bladder and aid detoxification. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is around 3.7 litres for men and 2.7 litres for women, with around 20% of this expected to come from food, and the rest from drinks. The best way to judge whether you are drinking enough water is to monitor the colour of your urine which should be a pale straw colour. 


V. Not getting enough sleep


Sleep plays a vital role in brain function and in the functioning of the body. However, many people aren’t getting enough of it, and even when they do get to bed, sleep quality can be poor. Unfortunately, consistently not getting enough sleep has substantial adverse health consequences. Short-term consequences include increased stress responsivity, nerve and muscle pain, mood disorders, and cognitive, memory, and performance deficits. Whereas in the long-term it is associated with an increased risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, weight-related issues, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer. The amount of sleep each person needs is individual, but if you regularly get 6 hours a night or less, or find yourself struggling to stay awake during the day, you’re not doing your health any favours. Why not make a resolution to go to bed 1 hour earlier? Sticking to a set bed-time routine and avoiding blue-light from electronic devices in the evening will also help to regularise melatonin production (our sleep hormone) and circadian rhythms.  

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