The Fit List

What’s Killing You Today

And how to put off being totally, utterly f*ed

What’s Killing You Today

Everything in moderation, then forget about the rest. Photo: Peter Zelei/iStock

You’re gonna want to sit down for this. Actually, don’t sit down. Stand right there. Just like that. Well, a little more upright—shoulders back. Head up. Like there’s a string sticking out of your skull or something. Yeah. OK now you’re ready. 

Here’s the news: you’re going to die. Well, probably not right now, but someday, this body that you’ve pushed to countless marathon PRs will perish, and as far as we know, you’ll cease to be. Yes, you should cry about it. Or scream. No, seriously, go bat-sh*t crazy—repressing your emotions is one of a zillion ways to cut short your earthly existence according to science and pseudoscience and lifestyle-blogging starlets. 

In case your ultimate goal, like mine, is to do an Ironman at 100 then drop dead at the finish line after finally qualifying for Kona (quelle tragédie!), I’ve compiled a list of what’s killing you today, so you can avoid these terrible time-stealers and live the full century to which you were never entitled if you were born before 2057.

First up: Your job. Now’s the time to ask yourself: Do you really need it? Because Harvard and Stanford researchers just published a study that found work stress can take up to three years off of your life. Do people pay you to do something? BAM! Now you’re down to 97. Just kidding. It’s not that simple. 

The Washington Post titled their article on the study “Your job is literally ‘killing’ you.” Astute readers will note that using the word literally before a word encased in single quotes is like a double negative—the words cancel each other out. An equally valid alternative title might be: your job is not killing you. If you work an instable job with no health insurance, the researchers found, your gig could cost you up to three years. But if you’re a desk jockey with fabulous benefits but no UpDesk or Ergotron, you’re still going to perish too soon, a fact that brings us to…

Your bum. If you like to sit on it for more than three hours a day, you’ll be down two years according to researchers from Louisiana State University and Harvard Medical School—no matter how much you exercise. (Harvard researchers: crapping on life since 1636.) But if you do exercise a lot, you’re doing yourself a disservice because…

Too much exercise, or, more specifically, running more than 2.5 hours a week, will also cut your life short, according to heart researchers in Pennsylvania, Missouri, and New Orleans whose claims lit up the internet in 2012. How short? Who knows. Caballo Blanco collapsed during a long run and he was only 58. Does that prove anything? Absolutely not, but those researchers from Missouri and Nawlins certainly think it does. Still, other researchers would’ve lauded Micah True’s love of low-sugar, high-fat chia seeds given that…

Sugar is killing us. Yep, too much sugar may shorten your lifespan. I know it’s a spoonful of downer to hear right before the holidays, but several studies, some more poorly designed than others, have linked a diet high in added sugar to a brief existence. 

Last year the World Health Organization lowered its sugar intake recommendation from 10 to 5 percent of daily calories. As CBS news points out, that’s just six teaspoons, or 25 grams, of sugar per day. Yoplait Original—the kind currently marked "TASTE YOU LOVE, 25% LESS SUGAR"—the kind an adorable, quirky Frenchwoman has been telling us about since June—still has 18 grams of sugar per serving. So the obvious lesson here is: if you eat more than one Yoplait a day, you’re going to die young. If you dip into your kids’ Halloween stash, may the Lord have mercy on your soul. Particularly if you cut out fat in the ‘90s, since...

Low fat diets pluck years from your life like a lover with a daisy, mostly because sugar gets added to your non-fat food so it doesn’t taste like the flavor apocalypse. Wait, what’s that? High-fat, low-carb diets also decrease lifespan? That’s what the Aussies are saying? So might bad posture, being alone, eating bland food, suburbia, and taking the dad bod too far? How are any humans still alive?

So I guess what I’m saying is this: it’s probably best if you spend your life standing around trying not to work too hard while perfecting a diet low in everything. Or maybe what I’m really trying to say is: everything in moderation, then forget about the rest, since tomorrow there will surely be another announcement that something you do regularly will keep you from seeing your great great grandchildren grow up to become stressed about the stress their jobs might cause them, then die young because that generation never read this article telling them to chill out. Because none of us know our expiration dates, and what’s the point of living to 100 if worrying about it snatches the joy from just one single day between now and then? 

Filed To: Fitness, Nutrition

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