From years of sun exposure to decades of slouching over our desks…. HEALTH learns that despite these wellness mistakes, we can actually reverse the damage and start afresh…here’s how…
Years of Sun Exposure
We’re all guilty of it….sitting in the sun for long hours without any SPF. To explain, Dr. Jyothish George, Specialist Dermatologist in Dubai’s Prime Medical Center says that UVA rays penetrate more deeply into the skin and cause signs of photo-aging which includes lines, wrinkles, age spots, and broken capillaries. The UVB rays are shorter in length and are primarily responsible for sunburn, blistering, and skin cancer.
Sunscreen is paramount in sun safety and is usually divided into two categories; physical and chemical. Dr. George explains that physical sunscreens are thick, opaque substances that contain titanium dioxide, zinc oxide or talc as their active ingredients. While these are very effective in blocking both UVA and UVB radiation, hey are usually cosmetically unappealing. Chemical sunscreens are the most commonly used as well as are the most effective and include at least one of following three ingredients; avobenzone, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The label should specify “broad spectrum,” which will protect you from damage caused by both UVA and UVB rays.
Too Much Stress
Deadlines, work and life overall can take a toll on us and while experts agree that a little bit of stress is good for us and can charge our imagination and creativity, however in the long run, prolonged stress can be detrimental to our health. Specialist of Internal Medicine Dr. Ajaz Yasmeen explains that elevated levels of cortisol may lead to a rise in blood pressure and blood sugar levels as insulin is blocked from doing its job leading to unhealthy fat building up in the abdomen.
Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses: do you explain away stress as temporary even though you can’t remember the last time you relaxed? Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
Getting eight hours of sleep every night is one of the best ways to regulate stress hormones like cortisol. Since high cortisol can cause a myriad of health problems (such as elevated blood sugar, food cravings, high blood pressure, mood swings, irritability, acne, and muscle loss), keeping cortisol in the normal range is pertinent for good health.
Getting eight hours of sleep every night is the best solution. Fix a set bedtime and stick to it. Keep light out of your room, avoid using electronic gadgets where you sleep and avoid stimulants such as tea or caffeine before bedtime.
According to Lovely Ranganath, Senior Nutritionist at Healthtrendz, many people overeat to cope with the stresses of life. “To break out of the patterns, they must first identify the particular stressors that trigger the urge to overeat,” she advises and then when faced with these situations, they must learn and practice problem-solving skills. These skills will help them to respond appropriately to difficult situations.
So if you grab a donut when you are under pressure to make a deadline, Ranganath says that when the problems that trigger the urge to overeat are dealt with using alternative ways, people may find they eat less and that their eating behaviors begin to respond appropriately to internal cues of hunger rather than inappropriately to external signals of stress.
Not only does bad posture look unprofessional, and unattractive, but Dr. Pamela Leader, Managing Director at the Emirates European Medical Centre, Doctor of Chiropractic says that it also has a massive impact on your health. “Bad posture results in certain muscles tightening up or shortening while others elongate and become weak as a result of our lifestyles,” she says. “The most famous poor posture is probably Upper-Crossed Syndrome (UCS) and this is typically when the head and shoulders are forward.”
The Solution: Tips for Better Posture While Sitting
• Your knee and hip joints should make a 90 degree angle. If your chair allows, and if you need to, adjust the height of the seat until these joints are at right angles.
• Your feet should be flat on the floor. If your feet don’t reach the floor, try using a footrest or place a book under them.
• You should be able to slip your hand in the space between your low back and the back of the chair. A lumbar roll placed between your low back and the back of the chair can support your natural curve if your muscles are weak or tired.
• Most people respond by automatically tightening up their shoulders. Let them relax and drop now. Positioning the shoulder blades (flat bones on your upper back) lower can help support your head and neck. Shoulders and hips should have an imaginary vertical line between them.
• Bring your head back. We tend to forget that our head is connected to our spine and ideally, your ears should be in alignment with your shoulders. Based on your condition, this may not be fully possible. That’s okay. Don’t force it.
(Credit: Dr. Pamela Leader)