We’ve all got some bad habits that contribute to poor health. Studies suggest if you sucked your thumb as a child, you’re more likely to bite your nails or chew on pen caps. While that habit might not harm our health, there are plenty of others that can. Here are 5 habits that could kill you if you engage in them consistently:
Sitting could be killing you, so if you have a desk job, it is important that you get up and move around for at least a few minutes every hour. Consider wearing a fitness tracker so that you can try to get those 10,000 steps in each day. “Don’t slump or you’ll get your mothers hump” is both an unfortunate visual, and a true statement. You can look up to five pounds lighter when you stand or sit up straight because your body is more elongated. You can also increase your posture with exercises like yoga or pilates. Consider sitting on a yoga ball at work instead of a chair with a back, or try to improve your posture by not using the back of the chair. Practice your posture, because it won’t improve overnight. Pretend you are resting your shoulder blades in your pants back pockets, with your shoulders relaxed, and your chest out.
We’ve all been there: can’t sleep so we creep to the kitchen for a little sleepy time snack. Despite what we might convince ourselves, these aren’t aiding us in the path to sleep. In fact, it might be keeping us awake at night. We digest food best when we’re moving, specifically during the day when we process energy more efficiently. A study was conducted with mice, who were placed on a high-fat diet. One group of mice had scheduled meal times, while the other mice had 24 hours access to their food. Both groups had equal calorie consumption. The group of mice who ate at any time of the day had numerous health complications, such as weight gain, higher cholesterol, higher blood sugar, liver damage, and motor issues when placed in an exercise challenge. The mice who ate a scheduled high-fat diet weighed, on average, about 28% less than the other group. Sticking to an eating schedule will help your body use energy when needed, compared to confusing your body with unneeded calories at night.
Spending just twenty minutes outside can help increase productivity and give you the same amount of energy as a cup of coffee. The weather might resemble your freezer right now, but it’s still important to get outside and grab some natural Vitamin D. Getting fresh air has been connected to decreasing stress, specifically because it helps cortisol levels drop. A study conducted by The International Journal of Obesity discovered children who spent more time outside were less likely to be obese or overweight than children who spent more time inside. Does this mean watching TV outside will help you lose weight? No, but consider transferring your daily activities outside. Schedule walking meetings at work, or take a walk during your lunch break to get that extra burst of energy your body craves. It’s proven to boost creativity and who knows what you’ll discover!
You might think energy drinks are great to give you that extra boost, but they can lead to weight gain because of calories and sugar. The average energy drink will force your body to metabolize an overwhelming amount of sugars, additives, and vitamins, giving your body a sugar rush and burst of energy. Your body can create a physical dependence on energy drinks from the caffeine. Health risks and side effects include increased irritability, nervousness, anxiety, and blood pressure, as well as induced insomnia and rapid heartbeat. Grab some vitamin B instead, or consider making your own energy drink! Another option is to drink more green tea, which can help clear your skin, prevent certain types of cancer from forming, help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and provide you with tons of antioxidants.
Whether you’re old, young, or somewhere in the middle, regular doctor visits will help you prevent and discover health risks, illnesses or diseases. Statistics suggest flossing can add about six years to your life, but going to the dentist will aid you towards the perfect smile. Prepare yourself with your family health history, and make sure you ask age-specific questions. Women should be concerned with breast cancer screenings every year after turning forty, and they should get a bone density test for osteoporosis after turning 65. Men should get annual prostate exams starting at age fifty. Avoiding the doctor can be easy, but your health will benefit by regularly seeing a physician.