We often hear people say things like; ’50 is the new 40,’ or ‘you are only as old as you feel.’ But despite being an ageing population with a life expectancy that governments claim will extend far past that of our elders; there are great telltale signs that Millennials are peaking much sooner than those that came before them.
Who are the Millennials?
Millennials are those born between 1982 and 2002. Also referred to as Generation Y, this group of people replaces the Baby Boomer generation. Studies have indicated that Millennials vary widely from their predecessors in their lifestyle choices and habits. Regarding health, researchers have concluded that this group of people are more inclined to eat well and exercise yet are still at a much higher risk of disease and premature decline. Although one factor in this may be a reluctance to visit the doctor and subsequently reducing the chances of catching early symptoms; a far bigger cause is likely down to the wider environmental developments.
Scientific developments, improvements in healthcare and exposure to informative literature on wellbeing have all contributed to a longer life expectancy. However, the statistics showing that groups of adults in their 30s-40s experiencing diabetes, cardiovascular health problems and weight issues are peaking an average of 15 years earlier than previous generations.
One of the single and most important causes of this heightened risk of disease is bound to our diets and nutrition as well as rising pollution levels and exposure to chemicals. The technological developments that have enabled us to mass produce crops, for example, have also left us susceptible to dirty air, irritants in the form of pesticides and a cohort of allergies.
We have achieved production of food on a mass scale by compromising the quality of our ingredients. The fast pace of life is encouraging us to eat fast food laden with fat, sugar and gluten ultimately leading us to be governed by a ‘grain brain’ and at the mercy of carb crashes and temperamental moods.
Although researchers have come to identify and agree that there is a significant risk to this generation and those that follow, they are also of the opinion that the risk is not any closer to being minimised. With no real solution in sight, it has fallen into each consumers hands to make educated decisions about their health and bodies particularly the way in which we engage with our environment.
Ways we can help ourselves.
Food and Nutrition
Prevention is key when it comes to looking after our bodies. Start by helping your immune system out by eating vitamin and antioxidant rich foods. Avoid aggravating your body with allergens by shopping organic wherever possible and thoroughly rinsing your fruit and vegetables before consumption.
Some meats are treated with hormones before they end up in your fridge. Avoid this kind of meat and anything else that has been processed. Load up on fresh and organic lean protein rich foods and reduce your intake of more fatty red meat that has been linked with high cholesterol and raised blood pressure.
We often associate millennials with interesting exercise regimes. The rise in alternative forms of exercise such as Barre, Bikram or anti-gravity yoga, HIIT training and rigorous boot camps are a far cry from 80s aerobic videos. Exercise is a fantastic way to keep the cardiovascular system functioning and the lymph moving around the body. However, opt to work out in green areas such as parks rather than heavily polluted streets to maximise the benefits if you want to be outside.
Most people have demanding day jobs and busy extra-curricular lives that often prevent them from attending doctors and dentist appointments. If you are unwell or noticing recurring symptoms for an extended period, go to a medical practitioner or health professional. The rise in millennials suffering from life-threatening diseases has been exacerbated by a reluctance to take time out of their schedules to see a doctor.
Cut down stress
Rising house prices, high debts, long working hours and an overly Instagrammed life make for a lot of stress. Unfortunately, this puts, even more, pressure on our body. Often, stress causes high blood pressure, anxiety and panic and an overreliance on unhealthy habits like smoking and alcohol consumption.
Increasing mindfulness or meditation practices as well as scheduling time to get a decent amount of sleep will stop your body and mind feeling so frazzled. In turn, this reduces anxiety levels and leaves you mentally more equipped to live a healthier life.