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Sharp Health News

10 bad habits to tackle

July 5, 2019

10 bad habits to tackle

Smoking, overeating and lack of exercise are all known hazards to your health. However, do you have other daily habits negatively affecting your overall well-being?

Here are 10 bad habits to break to improve your health and quality of life:

1. Sleeping with the cellphone by your side.

Not only does the blue light emitted from smartphones disrupt sleep, but scrolling through work emails or social media before bed or immediately after waking up can boost stress and anxiety. Make it a rule to store and charge mobile devices outside the bedroom overnight, and take a few minutes to meditate — rather than lose yourself in the digital world — before getting out of bed in the morning.

2. Skipping breakfast.

All meals are important, but breakfast provides your body the fuel it needs to start the day. Also, studies have shown that people who eat breakfast have better blood sugar control and perform better on cognitive tests than those who skip a morning meal. Make sure you balance your breakfast with protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and fiber for the best results.

3. Caffeine all day, every day.

There’s nothing like a cup of hot coffee to start the day. But do you continue to drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks until the sun goes down? If so, it can cause anxiety, stomach trouble, rapid heart rate, “caffeine crash,” a frequent need to urinate and insomnia. Caffeine has its benefits, such as boosting your mood, metabolism and energy level, but drinking more — or all day — isn’t necessarily better.

4. Sitting for long periods of time.

If you perform your job at a desk or drive several miles throughout the day, chances are you’re sitting for long periods of time. Unfortunately, this puts you at greater risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. In fact, too much sitting could lead to early death, even for those who regularly exercise. While it’s nearly impossible to avoid sitting for some of the day, remember to take breaks every 30 minutes and move your body.

5. Skipping the sack lunch.

Late nights, early mornings and generally busy schedules can make packing a lunch each day difficult. But grabbing takeout or grazing from the office vending machine can decrease your bank account and increase your waistline. Set aside some time to plan your lunches for the week. Get creative, and go beyond the basic sandwich and snacks. Consider veggies with hummus dip, Greek yogurt and nuts, a well-stocked salad or a tasty vegetable soup. Chances are, your packed lunch will provide better nutrition with fewer calories, and less sodium and saturated fats, while also saving you money.

6. Daily drinking.

While a drink with friends or on a special occasion is OK for most, drinking alcoholic beverages every day might be problematic and can lead to a variety of health issues, including alcohol use disorder, heart disease, liver disease and certain cancers. Try to skip the drink on “school nights,” or limit the number of nights you drink each week, and you might notice an improvement in how you feel, on the scale and in your wallet.

7. Constant stimulation.

Are you talking to, listening to, reading or watching something or someone from the moment you wake up to the time you lay down to sleep? If you’re a parent with children and a full-time job or someone with an active social life, busy career or love of constant distraction — or all of the above — you probably need to give yourself a timeout every once in a while. A quiet timeout gives you the chance to rest and renew your physical, emotional and spiritual energy while also reducing stress, clearing your mind for better concentration, increasing self-awareness, and better preparing yourself for what comes next.

8. Working out for all the wrong reasons.

You should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. But are you doing it for the right reasons or even enjoying what you’re doing? Working out for weight loss only or doing an activity you don’t enjoy — or, even worse, causes you pain — will likely lead you to either give it up altogether or get injured. Keep up the level of activity, but find something that brings you joy, is done in a group to add a social element, makes you feel strong, and best suits your personality, skill level and schedule. The better the exercise fit, the greater benefits you will enjoy.

9. Switching around your sleep schedule.

Whether you prefer to tuck in early or stay up late binge-watching new shows, staying out with friends or catching up on housework, it’s important to stick to a single sleep style. Listen to your body and let it show you your natural rhythm. It might feel best when staying up late or when waking early in the morning. What’s most important is keeping the schedule consistent and getting between seven and nine hours of sleep nightly.

10. Wake, work, sleep, repeat.

Doing the same thing the same way every day may provide a sense of order or stability. However, it can also be boring, stifling and leave you wishing for more. Shaking things up every once in a while, even if it’s taking a different route to work or eating dinner on your back patio instead of the dining room, adds a little spice to life and gets you out of a rut you might not even know you’re in. Change allows you to grow, learn to be flexible and gives you the chance to see your own strengths. It might also open you up to new opportunities you might not have found if you’re always doing the same ol’ thing.

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