What you don’t know can literally kill you

Future disorders you aren’t looking forward to

Photo Caption: Sorrowing Old Man ('At Eternity's Gate'), an oil painting by Vincent van Gogh

Jordan Zy

You’re slowly dying right now. Puberty is ending, our metabolisms are getting to us and the decisions we make now will start affecting our bodies forever. This is the phase of life that we learn that living on our own means realizing we need to take more care of ourselves. Science and medicine, while not perfect, is getting better every day at keeping us alive and well. Nonetheless we must still take responsibility for our own health and the sooner the better. By looking at older generations, we can adjust our habits now to avoid their health problems later. But what are some future ailments this generation might face from our prominent habits? Here are some habits you may or may not realize could affect you later in life.

1.     Earbuds and headphones could cause hearing problems if we listen to music on too loud a volume. While headphones have been around for generations, ours has a constant access to portable music like the world has never seen. How loud is too loud? Earpiece designer site, earHero.com, suggests setting your volume, then holding the ear bud at arms length. If you can hear your music from that distance, it is too loud. When most headphones max volume is about the same amount of decibels as a working chainsaw, healthy volume is something to consider.

2.     Texting or browsing your phone while looking down is creating an intense strain on our necks. Chiropractors everywhere are begging us to realize an adult head weighs nearly 12 pounds by itself, and when you are tilting it down it puts up to 60 pounds of pressure on your neck. They even call the pain it causes “text neck,” which could potentially lead to early onset arthritis in our neck. It is suggested that we hold our phones level with our face, to avoid the wear and tear created by looking down at our cell phones all day. More info at spine-health.com.

3.     Sitting in class all day, as well as at computer desks and couches, is killing us all. A meta-analysis of 47 studies shows that despite daily doses of exercise, sitting for more than half the day is associated with higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and death. Technology has given us an easier life than our ancestors who had to walk everywhere just to make a living or even survive. Dr. David Alter, a scientist for the University Health Network said, “It is not good enough to exercise for 30 minutes a day and be sedentary for 23 and a half hours.”

4.     Standing desks are starting to be installed in workplaces to combat the health effects of constant sitting in chairs, cars and couches. Only now people who are standing all day at work have created spinal pain and lower limb problems. Doctors and podiatrists alike suggest finding a good pair of shoes. If you find yourself standing up a lot in the workplace, check out the tips on Healthline’s website.

5.     Social networking and texting are creating a new addiction for the human race. Those little notifications and alerts are fostering mini spikes of dopamine in our brain. Dopamine, previously associated with a pleasure chemical, is the chemical that creates “wanting” or “seeking” behaviors in our mind. That means we are craving more and more responses to our online activities. And it is so quick and easy to satisfy this “seeking” behavior, that our brains begins “wanting” more. It isn’t enough to have a Facebook, we have Instagram, texting, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter, Tinder, LinkedIn, and Kik. Do you realize that these apps, sites, and programs are getting very redundant? You’re addicted! Read more about this on Psychology Today.

6.     Salads are super unhealthy. But aren't they? Salads aren’t only fresh and unprocessed vegetables. Items that sabotage a healthy dish of salad are croutons, tortilla chips, chicken or linkettes, cheese, craisins, eggs and a half-cup of cream based dressing (looking at you, caesar, thousand island, and ranch). If you want ridiculously healthy alternatives to unhealthy salads, check out prevention.com’s article about it.

I suggest we all reevaluate our daily habits. Our habits we make and break today could carry on throughout our lives. Consider this: 50 years ago we assumed smoking tobacco was absolutely healthy, and the physicians were wrong. Be skeptical, because our actions today could cause us diseases and disorders unforeseen. You have only one body to live in, make good choices.

Jordan is a senior studying psychology.