If your to-do list never seems to get any shorter, the stress from your hectic life may be taxing your body. “People think multitasking is good, but you don’t actually get anything doneyou just create more stress,” says Raymond Casciari, MD, chief medical officer of St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif. Several studies show that chronic stress triggers the release of free radicals, the unstable molecules that damage cells and are responsible for aging. Instead of trying to do it all, Dr. Casciari suggests concentrating on one task at a time and only moving on once you finish it.
YOU GET . ON FEWER THAN FIVE HOURS SLEEP A NIGHT
Skimping on sleep not only results in dark bags under the eyes it has also been linked to a shorter lifespan, says Dr. Casciari, who founded a sleep laboratory at St. Joseph’s Hospital. “Sleeping within the seven-hour range is optimal,” he says. Get to bed earlier if you have the symptoms of sleep deprivation, which include a lack of daytime energy, mental sluggishness, attention problems, or weight gain, Dr. Casciari says.
YOU WATCH TV FOR A LONG TIME
Binge-watching the latest season of House of Cards is one thing; regularly gluing yourself to the TV is another. In a British Journal of Sports Medicine study of about 11,000 Australians ages 25 and older, researchers found that for every hour of television watched, adults cut their life expectancy . 22 minutes. What’s more, people who spent an average of six hours a day watching TV lived five years less than their non-viewing counterparts. “This effect is more about sitting and being inactive than the TV watching,” says Dr. Casciari. “When you sit for more than 30 minutes your body begins to deposit sugar into your cells, which makes it much more likely you’ll be overweight as well.” Whether you’re watching TV or at your desk, get up every 30 minutes to walk around, says Dr. Casciari.
YOU SPEND MOST OF THE DAY SITTING
The dangers of a sedentary lifestyle are well-documented: People who spend most of their days parked in a chair are at increased risk for kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, not to mention obesity. Naturally, exercising regularly helps to prevent these health issues and keeps you living longer, according to a study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Study participants who exercised 150 minutes or more a week lived 10 to 13 years longer than the inactive bunch.
YOU DON’T USE EYE CREAM
Even a no-fuss skincare routine needs to include a good eye cream to keep aging wrinkles at bay. Skin around the eyes is thinner than the skin on the rest of your face and shows age faster, says Dr. Stuart. Keeping the eye area moisturized can take years off your face. “Eye creams that are most effective contain Retin A, a form of vitamin A,” says Dr. Stuart. Other important factors include emollients and moisturizers that trap moisture, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C. “These promote formation of collagen and elastin to tighten the skin and reduce fine lines around the eyes,” Dr. Stuart says.
YOU WEAR TOO MUCH MAKEUP
Metallic blue eye shadow aside, excess makeup can age you in less obvious ways, too, says Dr. Stuart. “Wearing excessive amounts of makeup, especially oil based products, can clog your skin pores and cause outbreaks.” In addition, overusing skin products with fragrances, irritating chemicals, and alcohol agents may dry out the skin . removing its natural oils, which causes premature lines and wrinkles. Consult with your dermatologist for guidance.
Slumping in front of a keyboard for hours on end can cause your spine to form an unattractive and potentially harmful hunched posture over time, says Jeremy Smith, MD, orthopedic spine surgeon at Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, Calif. “The spine has a well-balanced S-shaped curvature in order to stabilize and support us,” Dr. Smith says. “Poor posture or slouching deviates the spine from this normal alignment, and as a result, the muscles, disks and bones become abnormally stressed.” Pain and fatigue often follow, and possibly spinal degeneration and a permanent deformity. Practice good posture . checking it throughout the day: ear, shoulder, and hip should form a straight line when seated.
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