Everyone has some kind of vice; everyone does something that they shouldn’t do, or that they shouldn’t do as much. Yet we keep on, even if we know what we’re doing is bad for our health, because these things quickly and easily become a habit. Here are some of the worst habits we can have when it comes to keeping healthy, and how to stop them if possible.
Watching TV is a great way to unwind at the end of the day, but too much of it can cause problems including strokes and heart attacks; this is true even if you also regularly exercise. The problem is that sitting for a long time without moving affects the levels of blood sugar and fats within your body.
If you do find that you’re sitting still for long periods of time on a regular basis (whether it’s watching TV or sitting at a desk at work, or for any other reason) then the best advice is to get up every now and then (perhaps once an hour for five minutes or so) and move around. This keeps your circulation flowing more readily. It’s even better if you can do something more active during that time, but you may need to build up to that if you have only just begun.
Not Getting Help
If you keep telling yourself and others that you’re fine even when you’re most definitely not, that can easily become a habit. The words will just come from your mouth before you’ve had time to process the question. Yet if you find that you’re feeling angry, depressed, stressed, or anxious, you’re not fine – you’re unwell and you need to get help. For some, it’s difficult to admit that they have a mental health problem, for others it’s hard to understand that these feelings can be fixed. Yet they can, and they should be.
Make an appointment with your doctor in the first instance. They will be able to talk through your symptoms and refer you on to a specialist if need be.
Snoring isn’t a habit as such, but it is something that we do without realizing and it is something that can have an effect on our health (or rather, snoring is sometimes a symptom of a more serious issue). In some cases, snoring can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea when breathing is interrupted throughout the sleep cycle. Not only will this disrupt your sleeping pattern (leaving you at risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other illnesses), but it can make your blood pressure rise dramatically too.
If you are told that you snore – or if you wake yourself up snoring – then don’t brush it off and be embarrassed because it really could be something serious. It’s far better to speak to a doctor about it than to ignore it.
Not Brushing Your Teeth
If brushing your teeth, as well as flossing, seems like a waste of time and you’ve got into the habit of only doing it on special occasions, you could be putting yourself at risk. There is, studies show, a strong relationship between gum disease and heart disease. Although the exact reasons aren’t yet known (studies are ongoing), it is thought that it could be due to the plaque that builds up over time. This is a sticky substance that is packed full of bacteria and it attaches itself to teeth and gums. Regular brushing and flossing will remove it before it can do much damage, but leaving the plaque where it is can cause these bacteria to inflame the body. This inflammation can damage the heart.
If you don’t currently brush your teeth at least twice a day, then you need to get into the habit of doing so. It is better for your overall health, but it will also prevent bad breath and hefty dental bills.
Hiding From The World
There will be days for everyone when it seems far better to hide away from the world than to try to interact with people. Having one of these days every now and then is normal – staying all by yourself to recover and regroup is actually a good idea, and when you do go back out into society you will be all the better for it.
However, it’s when you fail to go back out, or you find that every interaction is something that causes you anxiety, that this becomes a problem. Being with friends and family, even being with strangers to some extent, is good for our health according to studies, and those with a small circle of friends whom they see regularly tend to live longer than those who are more reclusive. Although it can be hard, it’s important to get back out into the world if you can – you’ll have more fun than you think you will.
Drinking Too Much Alcohol
If studies are to be believed (and the advice does change from time to time so be careful), drinking small amounts of alcohol on a regular basis can actually be good for your heart. However, drinking too much is extremely bad for it. Excess alcohol is linked to heart failure, high blood pressure, and high levels of blood fats. Plus there are many calories in alcohol which can lead to massive weight gain. Not only that, but alcohol inhibits our ability to function properly, and this can be dangerous particularly if you drive or operate heavy machinery.
If you feel that you drink too much and you know that you won’t be able to stop, there is professional help available. Visit an alcohol rehab center to completely rid yourself of the habit, as much as possible. It may always be a temptation, but once you’re clean you will find it easier to resist.
When you don’t have much time during the week and your only real chance to exercise is on the weekend, it is extremely easy to overdo things. You can go from one extreme to the other and make yourself unwell by going over the top and trying to do too much in a short amount of time. This can cause injury and make you feel unwell, and then you simply stop exercising completely in case you hurt yourself again. This happens a lot.
The best way to exercise is slow and steady. Even if you don’t have a lot of time during the week, exercising for a little while more regularly is better than going overboard all at once.