Early Death for Couch Potatoes
Recent research is pointing to the fact that one of the worst things you can do is to sit down for three or four hours straight and totally relax. This is especially true if you are snacking on chips or cheese puffs or other types of junk food snacks while you are relaxing.
Believe it or not, this type of behavior can take years off of your life.
Sitting all day at work is also bad, but tends to be a bit better than being a couch potato because people are less relaxed at work, and they do tend to move around more regularly.
Unfortunately work stress leads to the production of cortisol in your body, and that is hormone that is linked to the production of fat deposits both in your blood stream and in the abdominal area of your body. So sitting at work all day in a stressful job can lead to a beer belly, even if you do not drink.
The worst combo is a sedentary, high stress job riding a desk all day at work, coupled with being a couch potato at night. This will cut more than a decade from your life on average.
So why is this true?
When you are sitting and relaxed, your body does not digest food the same way and there is a rise in fats entering the blood stream. Your body also tends to produce cortisol as a result of normal daily stress, but the couch potato does not give the body a change to purge this hormone from their bodies. The result is an even more dramatic build up of plaques and fats in your blood stream.
If you have too little cortisol, you may suffer from fatigue, chronic fatigue and exhaustion. If your adrenal glands are producing too much cortisol, you may develop conditions such as weight gain, especially around the abdomen, depressed immune function with all of the consequences, accelerated aging and stomach ulcers. OUCH!!
Cortisol is elevated in response to stress -- that stress can be real or imaginary.
If you have a stressful job, then you have to find a way to remove the stress. That may require finding a new job, but not necessarily so. Stress is often self-induced, and often the cure is nothing more than changing your attitude about your work performance. If fear is driving you at work, try to do what you can to develop a more comfortable relationship with your boss. You may find that the boss holds you in higher esteem than you perceive. If that is the case you will develop a better sense of job security, and the stress you feel day to day will diminish significantly.
The other major source of stress is over committing yourself in your day-to-day life, so reduce your debt load, reduce demands on your time after work and live longer!!!
The actions required to stop and reverse this trend are easy:
a) Exercise is the key element to reduce cortisol levels in your body. Walk around more at work. If you are on a break, do not spend it surfing the internet reading columns like this one, but rather, walk around the office, or go outside and walk around the block at a fast pace.If your kids are in sports, do not sit in the stands watching them. Instead, walk around the arena or field watching them. Just keep moving.
b) When at home, do not park yourself in front of the TV for hours on end. If you are tired, this does not help. It is part of a vicious circle of being tired because you are out of shape. Use some of the time to push yourself into doing some exercising at home. This will reduce cortisol levels and help you sleep better, which in turn also reduces cortisol levels. DO YOU SEE WHERE THIS IS HEADING???
c) Look for ways to reduce your debt load. Buy less expensive vehicles, do not buy a big house as your first home. Start small and work you way up to a larger property over two decades. Keeping your mortgages and financing payments low will reduce your stress significantly.
d) The fourth thing is -- THERE IS NO FOURTH THING! The three previous steps above are enough to add years to your life.
Move, work out, live long and prosper!
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