It feels hard to stay in shape and remain healthy sometimes. Despite having more information and technology at our fingertips than ever before, the modern lifestyle makes certain essentials for self-health more challenging than they used to be. If you want to get healthier, consider the barriers presented below and what you might do in order to overcome them. By identifying the challenges of today, you can make tomorrow better for you and those close to you.
A Sedentary Lifestyle
While our ancestors had to farm and gather, more and more modern-day conveniences keep us on the couch or at a desk at the office. Between working in an office, commuting, and sitting on the sofa at home, many people struggle to get the levels of activity they need. Ideally, you should target 20 to 30 minutes of vigorous exercise at least three times per week, but people often struggle to reach that goal. A sedentary lifestyle leads to lower energy and higher risk of a variety of health complications, including diabetes and heart disease.
If you work in an environment where you have to sit for long stretches of time, it helps to make sure that you get up and take a short walk at least once per hour. Just the act of stretching your legs can boost your cardiovascular health a little bit. Many people nowadays use fitness trackers or pedometers to keep track of their movement, aiming for 10,000 steps per day. If you don’t get enough movement, try to add a 20-minute walk or run somewhere into your schedule.
An Unhealthy Diet
Processed foods, high-sodium meals, and a plethora of added sugar all contribute to health conditions that include heart disease, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. Most prepackaged food is very high in sodium, and a hectic lifestyle forces people to eat meals on the go more often than they should. These meals usually have a lot of added sodium and sugar with very few vegetables.
To avoid this health pitfall, you should pay extra attention to the nutritional information on the food you eat. Avoid eating meals that have a sodium content greater than 20% of your recommended daily allowance. Cut down on snacks that have a lot of added sugars, and avoid sugary drinks like soda whenever you can. Finally, try to add more vegetables into your diet. Although the recommendation is four or more servings of vegetables per day, even one extra serving beyond what you normally get can make a difference.
Stemming from the sedentary lifestyle that has become commonplace, modern lighting has a negative impact on people’s health. People need natural sunlight in order to boost their immune systems and maintain a balanced mood. Unfortunately, most of us spend many daylight hours inside at work or watching TV. Not only does a lack of sunlight impact a person’s health, but constant exposure to artificial lighting, especially computer screens and fluorescent bulbs, cause eye strain and can have a negative impact on mental health.
The best things to do in order to overcome this health challenge is to take up an outdoor hobby. This could be a sport or workout routine, but it can also be something as simple as a weekend hike or a 20-minute jog every couple of days. If you live in the northern United States or Canada, long winters could deprive you of valuable daylight and make it even harder to get outside. If you fear that you are not getting enough natural sunlight and can’t reasonably fit more outdoor time into your schedule, talk to your healthcare provider about whether dietary supplements might work for you. Vitamin D tablets, for example, can provide essential nutrients. However, be sure to consult a physician before you choose to take any such supplements regularly.
As wonderful as our modern conveniences are, they also cause health problems. In order to keep your quality of life high, use the advice outlined above to get more exercise, improve your diet, and provide your body with essential nutrients and medications. Although it takes effort to incorporate these into your lifestyle, the simple steps outlined here can help you live a longer and happier life.