For the first time in history, a new generation is on the road to having worse health than their parents, Science Alert reports. It seems that Millennials — classified as being in their 20s and 30s — are so stressed about their lives that they’re putting themselves at risk of serious diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease in their future. Researchers blame job uncertainties, lack of home ownership and digital factors like social media as major disease-risk contributors to Millennials’ future ill health. Surprisingly, chronic loneliness is another factor.
It’s true that social media and loneliness can cause huge detrimental issues with your health — and I talk about that below — but I also believe that Millennials may be on the road to illness because their digital life makes them virtually immobile. Most adults spend 10 hours or more each day sitting, and that is a danger in itself, as inactivity is the fourth biggest killer of adults worldwide.
That’s why I urge everyone, Millennial or not, to simply stand up more. Increasing your daily walking is another key strategy that pays significant dividends, both short-term, and long-term. If nothing else, the very act of moving will force you to get away from your computer or smartphone, which addresses the other disease risk concerns.
The internet has made connecting with new business partners, discovering health information and finding long lost friends, easier and cheaper. However, while digital connections have distinct advantages, digital dependence does not, and it comes at a psychological and physical cost, not the least of which is putting you at risk for chronic disease.
In a recent study involving 144 people between the ages of 18 and 33, researchers discovered both heart rate and blood pressure are affected in those who report spending extended periods of time online. And, odd as it sounds, this effect is partially caused by the feelings of isolation that being digitally dependent can cause.
This is because your digital life can overtake face-to-face interactions, paradoxically making you feel even more lonely, rather than more connected. And this rings true whether you’re a Millennial or not. I encourage you, for your life’s sake, to break free, move more, sit less and connect personally with friends and family, old and new. You’ll feel better all over for it, both now and in the future, I promise.