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As society advances, a greater emphasis is placed on improving health. While there is much more information available about how to live a healthy lifestyle, this unfortunately does not mean personal health is advancing.
There have been many improvements associated with the modern lifestyle, but there are also alarming health risks as well. Studies show a concerning increase in the number of individuals experiencing chronic conditions because of lifestyle factors.
This includes issues like sleep, stress and nutrition. Some of these issues are a direct result of living a modern lifestyle, but there are several changes you can make to try and improve your health.
While there are many health concerns with a modern lifestyle, it is not all grim. Modern living has also created several advantages that were not previously available.
Listed below are some of the biggest impacts that your lifestyle can have on your health, as well as ways to try and improve your well-being.
What is a Modern Lifestyle?
Before looking at how a modern lifestyle affects your health, it is important to understand what is being discussed.
Your lifestyle refers to all the decisions, both small and large, you make throughout the day. Some of these are conscious decisions, while others occur because of outside factors.
Modern lifestyle, also known as a technological lifestyle, focuses on how recent technology influences the way society functions. No matter when you were born, you are currently experiencing a modern lifestyle.
The exact time may change depending on who you ask, but most sociologists classify it as starting around early or mid-2000’s, as this is when recent technology became more readily available.
Decline in Exercise
A common complaint about modern lifestyle is it does not encourage exercise. This is because more adults spend most of their time sitting throughout the day.
A 2019 study showed on average, adults in the United States sit for around six to seven hours, while teenagers spend seven to nine hours seated. This is largely due to an increase in sedentary work styles and an increase in computer usage.
Lack of exercise can not only lead to obesity, but it can have a negative impact on blood circulation and causes weaker bones and muscles. These issues often become worse with age.
For many adults, the biggest challenge with exercise is finding the time to work out.
Many professions are either experiencing longer workdays, or employees are expected to do more work at home. This is due to modern technology making it easier to transfer information and work remotely.
Adults also tend to have additional responsibilities, such as taking care of family members that can further limit exercise time.
Health experts are trying to combat sedentary lifestyles by focusing on lower-impact exercises that can quickly be performed at home.
A common misconception is it takes hours of working out to stay healthy. Doctors recommend aiming for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, but even 10 to 15 minutes can make a notable difference.
Activities like walking, swimming, yoga and cycling can be great ways to lose weight. Simple exercises, like squats, pushups and lunges require limited space and no special equipment.
Increase in Stress
One of the biggest concerns of a modern lifestyle is an increase in anxiety and burnout. Increased work hours with reduced downtime are part of the problem, but so is virtual connectivity.
Smartphones have practically become a requirement in everyday life. This means you are constantly connected to the world, with many adults and teenagers spending their free time reading social media or watching videos.
In moderation, this can be relaxing. However, with content constantly being produced, it is easy to get addicted.
Even if you try to isolate negative news and videos, technological addiction can cause stress whenever you are away from a screen, making it difficult to focus on healthier activities.
Unfortunately, reducing stress can be difficult because it frequently requires significant lifestyle changes. Avoiding stressors is ideal, but not always an option. Instead, focus on finding healthy relaxation techniques to help manage your stress.
Decline in Sleep
There are many downsides to increased anxiety, including reduced sleep. Your body needs sleep to recover both physically and mentally.
According to a survey from the CDC, one in three adults are not getting enough sleep.
Technology addiction is one cause. Even in bed, many adults are still attached to their phones. An increase in chronic conditions, such as obesity and high blood pressure are also factors.
There are a few ways to try and improve your sleeping patterns. Following a nightly schedule can be an effective way to condition your body to sleep.
Try not to bring your phone or other screen into bed. You can also try to limit napping during the day and reduce the amount of caffeine or nicotine you consume in the evening.
A growing concern with modern lifestyles is a decline in nutrition. Adults often do not have the time or energy for home cooked meals, instead opting for cheaper processed foods or eating out.
This has been thought to contribute to an increase in obesity and heart disease. Nutritionists are also concerned that more adults do not know how to create a balanced diet.
Creating a meal plan is one way to combat poor nutrition. If you have limited time to cook, try to plan bulk meals that leave leftovers for the rest of the week.
Not all aspects of modern living are negative. One of the positives of modern lifestyles is greater access to information.
Many students, both teenagers and adults, are taking classes online to improve their education. Information is more readily available online for practically every subject.
While this is mostly positive, the downside is an increase in misinformation. Before treating an article as fact, make sure you consider the source and look for other articles confirming what you read.
It may seem like a contradiction, but while health issues are increasing under a modern lifestyle, healthcare is also improving.
More medicines and procedures are available thanks to advancements in technology. There is also a greater emphasis placed on mental health.
General health practices are also improving. For example, employees are more frequently encouraged to stay at home if they are sick instead of being pressured to come into work and risk spreading their germs.