Health Maintenance and Living Habits


Lifestyle Habits and Eye Care

Dry eyes are a concern for one in five adults. It’s generally believed that this condition worsens with age, particularly among individuals over 50. However, there’s been an increasing trend of dry eye issues among younger individuals.

The rise in prevalence can be attributed to the widespread use of smartphones and computers. The extended screen time for work and leisure has led to a reduction in blinking frequency, causing modern individuals to strain their eyes. Additionally, stress is also a significant factor affecting dry eyes. Recent research has even revealed a strong correlation between conditions like PTSD, depression, and dry eye.

So, how should we address this problem?

Firstly, it’s important to choose appropriate eye drops. Products containing preservatives for long-term use might exacerbate the symptoms. The most reliable option is to get prescription eye drops from an ophthalmologist. Secondly, improving the environment around us is crucial. Enhancing dry indoor conditions or wearing sunglasses that block irritants like wind and light can be effective.

From a preventive perspective, reconsidering our interaction with smartphones is also essential. According to Anders Hansen’s book Smartphone Brain, modern individuals pick up their smartphones every 10 minutes and spend an average of 4 hours a day looking at screens. Such habits not only contribute to dry eyes but also increase the risk of depression and disrupt sleep.

However, living without smartphones is unimaginable for most. One approach is to utilize features like “Screen Time,” which monitors screen usage, and contemplate our habits and health.

How to Help Relief Dry Eyes (NYT)


Choosing Exercise Wisely

I’ve been searching for a bicycle for a while now. The options include fixed-gear bikes, cross bikes, and E-Bikes. E-Bikes, in particular, have been gaining popularity, and I assume many of you are familiar with them. To put it simply, they are sporty bicycles with electric assistance.

Especially due to the pandemic, the popularity of E-Bikes has skyrocketed. While they accounted for less than 1% of bicycle market sales in 2012, they reached about 15% in 2019.

E-Bikes are now gaining attention not only for convenience but also for their health benefits.

Firstly, they remove barriers such as long distances, hilly terrains, or the desire to avoid sweating while riding. These factors reduce the physical strain while providing more people with opportunities for exercise.

Secondly, recent studies show that E-Bike users burn almost as many calories as traditional cyclists on the same route. While E-Bikes make exercise more accessible, the difference in calorie consumption can be compensated for through distance and frequency.

Introducing a new exercise routine and sticking to it isn’t easy. I can easily imagine past failures in maintaining a training regimen. However, what if we replace a current behavior with something new?

Consider swapping your commuting method from trains or buses to bicycles. This change offers not only health benefits but also upgrades your commuting experience. You can explore the city, stop by interesting places, and make the most of your time.

Continuing my quest for a companion that supports my mental and physical well-being, I keep searching for the perfect bicycle.

E-bikes get up to speed in popularity, providing a workout easier on the heart (The Washington Post)

Longevity Through Exercise

It’s been about a month since I started my life in Sweden. Looking around, I’m faced with the question of whether I’m getting enough exercise to maintain my daily health. It’s a topic that hits close to home.

The reduced opportunities for outdoor activities due to the pandemic have turned the term “quarantine weight” into something not only relevant to others, but also to me. Back when I was in Japan, I engaged in cycling, jogging, and various forms of exercise as much as possible. However, after my living environment changed, I found myself making excuses like rainy days or excessively cold weather to stay indoors.

In light of this, The New York Times presents intriguing research about exercise during the pandemic. According to the latest findings, it’s recommended to aim for an average of 7,000 to 8,000 steps a day, or about 30 to 45 minutes of exercise, in order to extend one’s lifespan. On a weekly basis, this translates to a minimum of 2.5 hours of exercise. The research also suggests that the right type and amount of exercise can reduce the risk of premature death by as much as 70%. Additionally, overexertion can have counterproductive effects.

As autumn arrives and the weather becomes cooler, more people are venturing out for workouts in the early mornings. This trend aligns well with the concept of “autumn exercise” and the desire to maintain health or embark on a weight loss journey.

During this season, which is often referred to as “appetite for autumn,” maintaining a balance between exercise and diet becomes crucial.

How Much Exercise Do We Need to Live Longer? (The New York Times)

The New Ecosystem of Healthcare

The annual fall Apple Event, a spectacle that usually doesn’t interest me much due to my limited involvement with gadgets, caught my attention with one announcement. It was about the release of Apple Fitness+.

Fitness+ is a fitness service centered around health data measured by the Apple Watch. It offers a wide range of workout programs catering to beginners, enthusiasts, and even seniors.

Personally, as someone who started weight training, I faced challenges such as inconsistency and lack of balanced training. The visualization of exercise metrics and personalized programs offered by Fitness+ appear quite appealing.

Additionally, the affordability and portability of an Apple Watch, which comes at about one-seventh the price of fitness equipment that costs hundreds of thousands, make it an accessible option.

This announcement also included new features like guided meditation and Pilates. Apple’s active foray into the mental health field, like their reported efforts to detect depression through iPhone sensor data, adds more dimensions to their offerings.

Anticipating the creation of a comprehensive “mind and body” health ecosystem from a product with nearly a billion users is exciting. However, given the sensitive nature of health-related data, it’s crucial that the handling of such information is transparent and ethical.

Apple Fitness+ heralds a competitive new era for home workouts (Mac Daily News)

Autumn, Exercise, and Appetite

October is creeping in unexpectedly. With cooler mornings and evenings, I’ve noticed more people at the park for early morning workouts. Many of you might be starting your “exercise-filled autumn” for the sake of health or weight loss.

Amidst this, there’s an intriguing article in The New York Times. According to recent research, there’s a discrepancy between “measured calories” and “actual burned calories” during exercise. The body’s mechanisms automatically save energy, resulting in only about 72 out of 100 kcal actually being burned during a 100 kcal workout. This amounts to a more than 25% margin of error. There’s even a possibility of consuming more energy than expended through post-exercise eating, making me wish fitness trackers provided more accurate data.

Health and exercise, as well as diet, are interconnected, and maintaining health through exercise alone is challenging. Particularly in terms of calorie control, managing food intake is crucial. However, this season is often referred to as “autumn appetite,” which presents its own challenges!

Your Workout Burns Fewer Calories Than You Think (The New York Times)