- 1. Knuckle-cracking
- 2. Nail-biting
- 3. Building a sleep debt
- 4. Headphone blasting
- 5. Bedtime browsing
- 6. Sitting for Long Periods
- 7. Excessive drinking
- 8. Overeating
- 9. Eating Too Quickly
- 10. Thinking it is okay to skip flossing
- 11. Indulging in Junk Food
- 12. Spending Too Much Time Alone
- 13. Smoking
- 14. Using Tanning Beds
Staying healthy is not easy, especially when we have bad habits to break. But it is never too late to work on them and develop healthy habits. Here are 14 bad habits to break to make sure you stay healthy.
Ever had to hang around someone who constantly cracks their knuckles? So annoying, right? But here’s the thing. It is not just annoying for others but also unhealthy for the knuckle cracker and here’s why. Our joints move easily because of something called the synovial fluid. And the sound that we hear when we crack our knuckles is created by the tiny bubbles pop in that fluid. Doing this constantly not only results in swollen hands and a weaker grip over time but also raises the risk of arthritis. Arthritis is really tough to live with. So knuckle-cracking is the first of your bad habits to break.
We grew up being told not to bite our nails. Not only is it disgusting but it can also damage your teeth as well as the skin around your nail bed, leading to infection. Biting your nails also puts you at risk for more colds and falling sick when you put your fingers, which often carry germs, into your mouth. Keep your nails neatly trimmed. If stress makes you bite your nails try to manage it through exercise. It is okay to seek help. Start by talking to your doctor.
3. Building a sleep debt
Inadequate sleep leaves you lethargic during the day time. You are also likelier to develop high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. You will also find it harder to learn and remember things as it affects your memory. Set up a proper sleep routine and make sure you stick with it. Try and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep at night.
4. Headphone blasting
It is never a good idea to wear your earphones/headphones for hours together and especially at high volumes. To give you perspective, normal conversation is about 60 decibels. If you have to wear headphones, keep the volume at around 75 decibels to be safe. Avoid using headphones for more than two hours at a time. Being around loud noise constantly puts you at risk for hearing loss as you grow older. Hearing loss in older adults is linked to thinking problems and even brain tissue loss.
5. Bedtime browsing
It is now common for people to get in bed with their screens – phones, tablets, computers, and TV. Browsing at bedtime is not recommended if you want to get a good night’s sleep. The blue light given off by electronic devices messes with your sleep.
Studies show that too much of any nighttime light has been linked to cancer, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. As bedtime arrives, opt for calming activities. Read a book. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet for a good night’s sleep. So, bedtime browsing is another of your bad habits to break.
6. Sitting for Long Periods
With most people now working from home, it is inevitable that we spend too much time sitting in our chairs. As if that weren’t bad enough, we slouch over our computers for hours together, losing track of time. Not only does this slow down the metabolism, putting you at risk for weight gain, but it is also linked to other health issues such as heart disease. Fortunately, there is an easy fix. Just get up and move around at least once an hour. Aim for a minimum of ten minutes of walking daily.
7. Excessive drinking
Several studies have explored alcohol use and your health. Men who consume more than 14 alcoholic beverages per week and women who consume more than seven are likelier to develop kidney disease, liver disease, digestive issues, heart problems, bone damage, and even some cancers.
Of course, there are also studies that claim moderate drinking can lower the chance of heart conditions. But if you don’t drink alcohol, don’t start now! Most people find that it is one of the most challenging bad habits to break.
Eating more than you need to is never a good thing, even if it is healthy food. It makes you gain weight, which leads to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, and it can raise your chances of certain kinds of cancer.
Mind your portion sizes at mealtime and make sure you are careful about how much you eat at snack time, especially if you are in front of your TV so you don’t lose track of what you are eating and how much.
9. Eating Too Quickly
For food to have a healthy effect, you must eat slowly, peacefully, mindfully. Eating too fast can leave you dissatisfied. It is also likely to make you overeat as you are not paying attention. You end up snacking more in the course of the day.
When you slow down, you feel fuller with less. You are more aware of what you are eating and your body has the chance to know when you have had enough. When you sit down to eat, take small bites, chew well and enjoy your food.
10. Thinking it is okay to skip flossing
So, you brushed your teeth – after you woke up this morning and at bedtime. You did a full brush. Enough, right? No, it isn’t. You need to clean between your teeth to get rid of plaque (that sticky film of bacteria that leads to cavities).
Plaque build-up can lead to gum disease that is linked stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. So, don’t skip the flossing. A few seconds flossing can make the difference between staying healthy and developing a chronic condition.
11. Indulging in Junk Food
Junk food like soda, candy, and pastries are not just heavy in empty calories but mean zero nutrition usually. The sugar in junk foods spikes your blood sugar levels quickly and can lead to serious health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Try to focus on complex carbs with more fiber and nutrition. These are found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and take longer to digest, while satisfying your hunger, and giving you steady energy. Make good fats like nuts and seeds a part of your healthy diet. Too much reliance on junk foods that may seem convenient at the time can be one of the hardest bad habits to break, but making the effort is worth it.
12. Spending Too Much Time Alone
Our relationships keep us healthy and happy. Loneliness can cause serious health issues. And it is not about how many people you know but the quality of your relationship with them. When you don’t have a circle of friends, you are likelier to have high blood pressure, depression, brain issues (like Alzheimer’s), and inflammation.
Feel lonely? Why not join a club or connect with family and friends? If you enjoy sports, join a sports club. Love books? How about a book club? Stay healthy by staying connected.
You’d be a millionaire if you had a penny for each time you saw the advertisement “Smoking kills. It causes cancer”. One of the hardest bad habits to break, smoking destroys almost every organ in the body. It can lead to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, bronchitis, emphysema, and other health problems.
It also increases your risk of tuberculosis, eye problems, and immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. Even if you don’t smoke, spending time with a smoker can still put you at risk for asthma, heart disease, lung cancer, or a stroke through passive smoking. If you are struggling with breaking this bad habit, seek help to quit smoking. Kick that butt. Now!
14. Using Tanning Beds
Sure, that tan looks attractive, but tanning beds are a bad idea especially for women with lighter hair and skin who are more prone to cancer. And there is no such thing as a safe or healthy tan. Tanning damages your skin cells and speeds up visible signs of aging and can lead to skin cancer.
Tanning beds are especially harmful for light-skinned and light-haired people who start using them at a young age. If you must have that tan, opt for topical sunless tanning products as a safer alternative. Use as directed. Do not inhale or apply to areas around your eyes, lips, nose and mouth.
Work on the above 14 bad habits to break to stay healthy!