It's not so much the extra hours of work, but the shortcuts we take in trying to balance that extra work with our lives. And the cardiology chief at the University of Pittsburg Medical Center says many people don't bother seeing the doctor because they can't take time off from one of their two or three jobs, or they can't afford the fees. Dr. Bryan Donohue says those with demanding lives need to make an extra effort to stay healthy.
"So as the pace of life accelerates for many of our listeners, as they're doing more and multi-tasking with a certain vividness these days, we just maybe don't quite pay attention. As you get busier, you tend to have the kind of the drive-by meal. You don't focus so much on what you eat, and it's exactly in that moment that we kind of make the mistakes that turn out to hurt us."
The steps are simple: exercise — a daily brisk 20-minute walk — sleep better and eat better.
"We should weigh — all of us, throughout our lives — what we weighed, or should have weighed, at 21. Length of life varies inversely with body mass. So as you get a little more prosperous in the middle and a little bit softer and pudgier, the process of aging appears now to be accelerating. The flip side of that is that if we engage in a calorie restriction, the process of aging and the general degradation appears to be slowed."
Dr. Donohue recommends fewer calories, wiser calories, earlier-in-the-day calories and getting to bed early to be up early and active at dawn.