Fountain of Youth - Part 3
This week's topic is all about consumption, or more specifically, how we are all over-consumers. This goes beyond just what you are probably thinking about, food, and into the idea that we, as humans, seem to over consume a lot of the things we experience in life. Let me explain.
There are more and more studies being released lately regarding a direct correlation between the amount of time people spend watching television and specific diseases such as heart disease. This really is not all that alarming considering that people, on average, spend many hours a day watching the boob tube. What is surprising, however, is the fact that these studies include people that exercise. That's right, just because you hit the treadmill for 45 minutes this morning means squat diddly if you plunk your keester down in the evening and watch 4 hours of American Idol, House, CSI, and Friends (or whatever you watch).
The key point to these articles is that, yes, exercise and a good diet help, and yes, everyone should exercise and eat as healthy as possible. But outside of exercise, you should still be trying to stay as active as possible. Take the dog for a walk, vacuum your bedroom, go to dance lessons, mow the lawn, shovel the snow, etc. etc. We all collectively need to consume less tv, and consume more activity.
On a similar note, many of us consume too much content. In content I mean internet, e-mail, text messages, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Spending countless hours every day is not only hurting our postures (head down, staring at our smart phones has been shown to cause neck and back pain) but our brains and our moods too. I am even guilty of it myself, checking my e-mail multiple times a day, or logging into Facebook. I think it is time for all of us to start re-evaluating our current situations and coming up with better ways to spend our time. Rather than walking in the door when you get home and heading straight for your computer, go outside and spend some time with your kids, or pet, or spouse, or sibling, etc.
Of course I cannot have a "over-consumption" blog without discussing what we eat. I am not even going to call it food because there are a lot of things in this world that people consume way too much of, that I don't even consider food.
Food, under my definition, is an item that is edible and positively contributes something to your body. For example, eating an apple gives your body carbohydrates for energy, fiber to aid digestion, vitamins and nutrients to keep the body running happy and healthy, and of course water to hydrate you for the countless number of processes water participates in. What in the world does a can of cola have to contribute to your body that is beneficial in any way, besides maybe spiking your blood sugar so high that it causes you to crash and crave more carbs?
Now I don't mean to get all preachy on you here, because let's face it, I can everyone now, "Well everything is bad for you these days!" No, you are wrong, there is a lot of good still out there, people just choose to consume too much of the bad crap.
Take, for example, alcohol. Alcohol, in moderation, has been proven time and time again to have restorative effects on the body, can improve mood, release stress, and even improve blood pressure! Unfortunately, once you start consuming too much of it, these positive effects turn negative very quickly. Moderation, people!
One last thing I will leave you with. There was a study done once, where two monkeys were studied side-by-side. One monkey was fed a filling diet (not overeating), whereas the other monkey was calorie deprived. The surprising result from this study was that the monkey that always stayed full, aged much quicker than the calorie-deficient monkey. Not only that, but the calorie-deficient monkey was much more vibrant and energetic into old age.
How does this study relate to humans? Well, most research into this field of study is still relatively young, but what science is starting to show us is that lower calorie diets create less free-radical damage to our proteins, lipids and DNA.
I by no means advocate starving yourself, because I too like to eat. However, as we age, our metabolisms do slow down, that is a fact, yet most of us seem to increase our calorie intake. The better approach would be to eat less. Try snacking in small portions several times a day and see how you start to feel!