The Current State of Health of An Average Person

• 8 min read 36

The modern age comfortable lifestyle is taking a toll on your health, it’s time that we are concerned about how your activities are slowly pushing you to deathbed.

In this new age, people like to be busy. Being busy is the new black. It’s a badge of honour for us to say “I’m busy” or “I don’t have the time for this” (been there, done that).

Even adding a 7 minutes workout to the routine seems impossible and silly.

However, the real question is, is being busy good for you and how does it impact your health?

In this article, I will run you down through the current habits of an average working person in most of the areas of business, and what we are risking.

You can then decide whether we are following healthy habits or are taking baby steps to land up in a hospital in a few years.

Being a Couch Potato

The human body was built for motion. We were intended to move around to gather food and engage in other activities that required movement of the body – the whole or in parts.

Over time as we have learned to harness machines to do most of the movements for us, our daily activity level has decreased by a significant amount.

What are the common daily activities of an average joe:

  • Wake up
  • Get ready for work
  • Drive to work or take a bus
  • Get ahold of a chair
  • Sit for a good amount of the whole day working
  • Drive back home or take a cab
  • Sleep

A majority of these activities don’t involve much movement of the body as we just sit around comfortably all day long doing our work. There isn’t much option. This is how we work in our modern age.

Sitting down puts 40% more pressure on the spine than standing

Amongst all the other pitfalls of having a sedentary lifestyle such as reduced cardiovascular health, obesity, increased risk of diabetes, brain fog, one of the major damage is being done to your spine.

When we sit down either slouched or straight, we put in about 40% more pressure on our spine especially in the lumbar or lower back region of our spine than we do while we are standing. [1][2]

A study published in PM&R Journal of American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation shows that sitting straight for 4 hours or more resulted in the decrease of the L4-L5 spinal disks.

This finding can be correlated to more pressure on the spinal disks, thus increased back pain.

Interestingly, the disk height didn’t alter too much when the subjects made brief position changes every 15 minutes or so.

Although we are sitting the whole day, frequent breaks can be helpful in preventing spine damage (no that doesn’t mean more coffee breaks). [3]

Most of us know that incorporating a small workout routine into one’s schedule can dramatically improve health. We have been reading articles and seeing motivational videos too often on this topic.

Do we actually do it? Hell, no.

Who’s got the time for that? We are busy, remember?

Putting Bad Stuff in Our Body

With the rise of fast and processed foods, we have shifted our diet from being healthy to junk. Our staple food has shifted to a balanced one to a high carbohydrate and fatty one.

Feeling hungry? Eat a burger or a mouth-watering donut.

Feeling thirsty? Drink some soda.

All these foods mess up our internal body balance. Makes us fat.

Added bonus? A handful of various diseases over a long term.

Most of the food that we generally eat consist of simple carbohydrates which can easily be broken down by the body into glucose.

Whenever there is a rise of glucose level in the blood, the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin to allow the glucose and other nutrients such as amino acids to be efficiently absorbed by the body’s muscle and fat cells.

Consuming lots of simple carbohydrates causes a huge spike in blood glucose level

While this sounds and works pretty good in the absorption of nutrients and maintaining proper body functioning, there’s a slight catch in this.

When there’s an abundant supply of glucose in the blood, the body halts it’s stored fat burning and turns to the readily available nutrients for keeping up with its energy requirements.

Not only that, since insulin signals the fat cells of our body to take in the glucose, those get stored in the body as additional fat to be used by the body in crisis (no, the dad bod isn’t so cool).

A study conducted by National Institutes of Health showed that fat cells soaked in an insulin solution absorbed glucose about 60 times more often than those which were soaked in a neutral solution (🙀). [4]

Another study demonstrated that a spike in insulin level increased hunger and sugar cravings. More cravings = More food consumption (simple math there). [5]

This doesn’t mean that the release of insulin is abnormal. It is perfectly normal and absolutely necessary for the cells to absorb essential nutrients like glucose and amino acids.

A sudden spike, however, is detrimental to health as it causes the above-mentioned phenomenon.

Who’s the bad guy over here? Simple carbohydrates.

Consuming lots of simple carbohydrates like white bread or sugary goodies cause a huge spike in blood glucose level.

This releases a lot of insulin to flush the glucose out of the blood.

If the body gets more glucose than it can utilize at the moment, the excess gets converted into fats and gets safely tucked into the body for later usage.

Carbohydrates aren’t your enemy. They just have a pretty bad reputation in the fitness world.

They are required by the body to produce energy and keep the engine running.

Learning to differentiate and choose between simple carbohydrates and complex ones is therefore essential.

Simply put, simple carbohydrates get broken down quickly, spike up glucose, spike up insulin, results in an overall fat gain.

Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, takes more time to be broken into glucose, keeps blood glucose level consistent, doesn’t spike up insulin and results in healthy absorption of nutrients by the cells.

Sadly, most of us are unaware of this and end up consuming way too much of simple carbohydrates, saturated fats and more of the bad stuff.

Increased availability of processed foods, junk foods and trying to be busy all the time not to think about these little aspects, all add up to the current state of health of a majority of us in this world.

Cluttering up the Mind

It’s not only the body that makes up for top-notch health. The mind counts as well.

Curiously, the mind often ends up being one of the most underrated factors in determining overall health (no it’s not only for the psychos). Do note it is a very important factor for everyone to be healthy.

Our brain controls the body in every aspect from thinking to moving a finger. There, however, exists a “second brain” called Enteric Nervous System (ENS).

It’s a lining of neurons in the gastrointestinal tract (GI) which controls the movement of the ingested food through the tract and the digestion process in our body.

The ENS communicates to and forth with the central nervous system while doing its job. Call it a synchronous connection between both the brains.

This bridge or connection is sometimes referred to as the brain-gut axis.

Ever felt butterflies in your stomach? This explains why.

The gastrointestinal tract is connected with emotions through the axis.

Upset tummy? Upset mind. Or the reverse.

A common scenario when this phenomenon comes to play is when we are stressed out. Which, we often are. Whether it’s due to job dissatisfaction or financial trouble or any other case, stress tends to find a way to crawl up to our minds.

Stress is any real or perceived threat to the homeostasis of an organism (too much of science in there).

Simply put, it’s any threat to our internal balance.

When the mind detects stress whether physical or mental it triggers a fight-or-flight response throughout the body by means of the sympathetic nervous system.

As a response, the body transfers all its energy to counter that threat.

If the body is in a state of digestion when there’s stress, it can slow down or temporarily halt the digestion process to react to the perceived threat (too bad, no multitasking here). [6]

Imagine you’re just a few minutes away from speaking in front of a massive crowd and you’re stressed out about how it will go.

Don’t be surprised if you feel any bloating or uneasiness in your stomach. Your stress stopped all that nice brewing in your stomach.

It doesn’t stop there.

The brain-gut axis has effector cells called Mast Cells which translates the stress signals generated by the brain into a wide range of neurotransmitters and proinflammatory cytokines which affect the physiology of the gastrointestinal tract. [7]

The mind and body are connected, they work like two engines of a jet

If that’s too much of science then here’s a simplified version.

Perceived stress can cause the gastrointestinal tract to function abnormally.

Stress can alter GI’s mobility and cripple the smooth movement of the food from the throat to the rectum.

Another effect is improper secretion of gastrointestinal fluids which helps break down the ingested food for absorbing nutrients from it.

Less acid = More bloating.

Improper digestion is not the only case where a cluttered or troubled mind impacts health.

A cluttered mind also suffers from sleep deprivation which is another rising health problem in most adults. [8]

Whenever something goes wrong with our body or whenever we think of health we generally turn to the physical aspect of our body.

It’s necessary to consider the mental wellness of the body as well.

The mind and the body are connected and they work like two engines of a jet. You can’t keep flying if one of them goes down. [9]

Time to Make a Change

Find anything common with your lifestyle?

Don’t worry.

I have been there. Done all three (not proud of that though).

The world isn’t coming to an end. You can still make a change.

Choose a healthy lifestyle over a busy one.

What’s the point of having a million dollars and lying in a hospital bed unable to witness the beauty this world has to offer?

It’s never too late. It’s your body, take good care of it.

READ NEXT: How your Sedentary Lifestyle is Killing You

comments icon 0 comments
Awesome! Link copied to clipboard
bookmark icon

Write a comment...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *