Normally I write about how to dominate your blog’s niche and work from home but today we need to talk about something even more important. Your health. Earlier this year I had a bit of a health scare and, as it turned out, the problem was largely related to the amount of time I spent on the computer. I always knew that computing could cause some health issues but what I never imagined was how potentially serious they could be.
In this article I am going to talk about a few ways that your blog is damaging your health beyond repair. Please note that the title is not intended to be (entirely) sensational; many of these problems are difficult to reverse unless you catch them really early.
My health scare: from athlete to fat
Before I get into the problems I want to talk a little bit about my own experience so you know why I decided to write this article. I feel quite embarrassed talking about this stuff but on the other hand I know that by doing so I might be able to help a few people out there to change their habits.
As you know I am 25 years old. When I was 24 I went to the doctor and he told me I had the fitness of a 36 year old and that my health was not good. I was overweight, suffering from physiological stress related symptoms and, basically, in the worst shape of my life. All this came as a massive shock to me because from ages 16 to 22 I was an athlete in elite shape. I played soccer at a high level, trained boxing and kung fu for one hour every day and had a keen interest in healthy eating. My body was muscular, lean and I could run all day and not feel puffed. And I never got sick.
In just two years (from age 22 to 24) I went from athlete to someone who the doctor was worried about. And I can tell you now that the problem originated with and was magnified by me starting a business and working from home, all day and most of the night, from my computer.
Why your blogging is damaging your health
My little health scare prompted me to do two things: study and change. I wanted to look into all the health problems and the ways to fix them and then I wanted to start implementing the changes in a way that would last and bring results. What I am about to write about now are the things about blogging all day that really worried me.
1. Being stationary all day and then exercising after doesn’t help
Recent studies have shown that if you are sedentary at a computer all day and then get up and workout for an hour at the gym after work the benefits are minimal. In fact, one study showed that it does nothing to increase your longevity. While I think more studies need to be done on the matter, the message is clear. If you sit still all day you are going to do yourself harm. You need to be constantly moving about in order to keep yourself well.
Now I do a small workout every half an hour. As soon as the clock hits the hour or half past the hour I drop and do 25 pushups, 25 sit ups and two minutes worth of boxing or star jumps. The net result is I get more energy, get the blood flowing and do about 20 minutes of exercise total for the day.
2. Exercising for an hour doesn’t undo your bad diet
This article speaks the truth. You cannot lose weight by exercising. It just doesn’t happen. In fact, the studies now show that if you exercise you are more likely to eat more and thus gain weight. This happens for two reasons:
- You are more hungry
Exercise makes you hungry. You go for a big run or lift some weights and your body wants to replace all the lose energy. You usually end up eating more.
- Your brain’s discipline center is fatigued
The scientists mentioned in the article think that your brain has a discipline clock that gets worn out with exercise. So you might be super disciplined during your workout but end up eating some junk food as a “reward” and undo all the hard work.
Let me just show you some simple maths. A can of soda is around 200 calories. That is an hour on the treadmill, just to burn off that can of coke. So what about all the other drinks, snacks and second helpings you have had during the day? Exercise cannot possibly burn all of that off. You need to start eating healthier, cutting portion sizes and drinking water and tea instead of soft drinks and milk. As full time bloggers we often opt for the easy option, especially when stressed. The problem is that over two years (like I found out) those extra few calories equate to ten kilograms of fat that takes years to lose.
The point here is not to stop you from exercising. You need to exercise every day in order to keep your heart healthy and your mind free of stress. Losing weight is only a very minor concern in terms of weight loss. The point is just to help you realize that it is your diet that will make or break your belly fat, not the amount of time you spend at the gym.
3. Being overweight is as dangerous as smoking
Did you know that if your waist line is waistline is more than 92cm for men and 80cm for women you are an increased risk of developing cancer and heart disease? And did you know that if you are 102cm for men and 88cm for women you are in a dangerously high risk bracket? That is pretty scary. And you know what makes it worse? Recent studies have shown that being overweight is just as dangerous as smoking.
As I said before, losing weight is extremely hard. It has taken a lot of dieting discipline to get my weight back into a safe level and a lot of exercising to get my cardiovascular system something more representative of a 25 year old. Don’t let your weight get out of control just because you are busy writing some blog posts.
4. Your habits of stress are hard to undo
Sometimes when money is tight and you are under the pump you get into all sorts of habits because of stress. It might be a habit of staying up late to get the job done or it might be having three too many coffees. The problem is, when you work from home, there aren’t a lot of people to talk to if you need a shoulder. Similarly, there isn’t anyone around to pull you up on your silly habits when they appear to be getting out of control.
The thing about human beings is that we learn very easily. Modern neuroscience is now saying something that the Buddha said 2500 years ago: you are what you think. Even the act of thinking gets coded into your neural pathways very quickly and hard wired into your brain. And that is very hard to undo. Especially when it relates to gross behaviors like sleeping, eating and so on because these have physiological responses like hormones that help to “persuade” you to get that next hit of caffeine.
I highly recommend you all buy and read The Brain That Changes Itself. This book has some fascinating insights into how impressionable and changeable your brain is. Some of it you will find worrying but, for the most part, it will show you how much potential you have to tap in to. This is a book I simply couldn’t put down.
So what do I do?
The message of this article is to start today. Right now. Change your habits and stick to the changes. Get up and move as often as you can and get healthier food with smaller portion sizes. It will take only a few months of laziness and inattention for your weight and lifestyle changes to get out of control. But if you start now you will avoid being in the situation where your doctor looks you in the eyes and says that you need to do something before it is too late.
How is your health? I would love to know whether the great community here at Blog Tyrant are healthy or whether you have started to notice some problems creeping up. Drop a comment and let us know.