Habits to Avoid for a Happier, Healthier Life
Age is just a number and shouldn’t be something you dread. Getting older doesn’t have to mean losing your health and mental wellness. Obviously, you need to take the right steps to stay on track at any age.
From drinking and smoking to skipping necessary beauty sleep, some bad habits leave a lasting negative impact on your body. If you want to live longer, it’s time to start avoiding the bad habits on this list. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Indulging in Sugary Snacks
Everyone loves a good snack now and then. The snacks you choose may help — or hinder — your quality of life. The problem with eating too many processed snacks or unhealthy snacks that are loaded with sugar is they won’t really give you a proper energy boost.
Buying takeout or delivery every night is not only expensive, but it may also be cutting years off your life. Eating out means you probably aren’t eating the healthiest foods at your meals. Eating fresh foods, prepared at home can help you get the fiber, protein and antioxidants you need to help keep age-related conditions at bay.
Spending Too Much Time Indoors
Spending too much time indoors isn’t good for your body or your soul. You need to get outside to help improve your quality of life. While you may not want to spend hours outside if the weather is terrible, just a little time outside each day can make a big difference.
Getting Too Little Sleep
Most of us aren’t getting enough sleep. Sleep is so crucial to keeping your body healthy and running smoothly, and that includes boosts to your mental health. If you’re constantly not getting enough sleep, it could cause a host of problems that could decrease your quality of life overall.
Not Drinking Enough Water
Drinking water is key to keeping your body operating smoothly. Staying hydrated not only helps your body internally, but it also helps ward off the signs of aging on the outside. Hydrated skin has fewer fine lines and wrinkles.
Drinking Too Much Alcohol
While drinking alcohol isn’t all bad, too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing if you’re not careful. Too many alcoholic drinks can cause spikes in your blood sugar, dehydration, inflammation and liver problems. Some alcohols and most wines are packed with sugar and calories. The more you drink, the more weight you may gain.
Sugary sodas may not be a problem in moderation (as long as you aren’t diabetic), but drinking multiple sodas per day may age you faster than you would like. The problem with soda is that it’s packed with sugar and calories. The more you drink, the more calories and sugar you’re adding to your diet each day.
Not getting exercise isn’t good for anyone, young or old. The less time you spend working out, the more sedentary your lifestyle becomes. If you want to stay active to improve your health and lifespan as you age, the key is to be active while you’re younger and stronger.
Not Managing Stress
Stress can definitely age you much faster than you’d like. Although there is no way to get rid of all the stress in your life — kids waking up before the sun on the weekend or a surprise meeting on a Friday afternoon — but you can learn to manage stress in other ways.
One of the best ways to let loose, have some fun and get out of your comfort zone is to travel. While many people save traveling for retirement, there’s no reason you can’t work some travel into your life in your younger years as well. In fact, some adventures — running with the bulls in Pamplona, for example — may be better suited to younger ages.
Humans actually only need a surprisingly low amount of protein every day. According to a study published by Harvard Health, you only need 10% of the calories in your diet to come from protein.
It’s no secret that smoking can literally kill you. From lung disease and dental problems to deadly cancers, the effects of smoking are among the worst things that can happen to your body. Smoking will almost certainly take years off your life — there are few exceptions. However, even if you are a heavy smoker, there is always hope. Your body begins to heal after only one hour of no smoking!
Not Using Paid Time Off
If you have paid time off from your employer, make sure you actually use it. This is free money and free time that you often lose if you don’t use it. When you look back on your life at 80 years old, you want to remember the time you spent with loved ones or traveling. You won’t remember that random workday you didn’t take off.
Eating Processed Foods
Processed foods are almost like a silent killer. Not only do they contain harmful chemicals and additives, but, more importantly, they don’t contain the beneficial nutrients found in real whole foods. Besides essential proteins, those ingredients include antioxidants and immune boosters, such as vitamins and minerals.
Never Moving Around
Many people live a sedentary lifestyle, both at work and at home. A lot of people sit in traffic for long periods on long commutes, and then they arrive at work and spend the day behind a desk. After the long commute back home, they eat dinner and settle in for an evening on the couch. All of this sitting isn’t good for anyone.
One of the worst things you can do for your body and mind is hold on to resentment and anger. These negative emotions linger in your mind and body for years, and that kind of long-term stress is hard on your body. This can greatly impact your quality of life and your stress levels.
Staying in Your Comfort Zone
If you always need to stay in your comfort zone, you may be missing out on some awesome real-life experiences. From trying new things to meeting new people, doing things that take you out of your comfort zone can help you feel young and alive. Socialize, take risks and enjoy life in any way you can.
The benefits of reading are almost endless. Not only does a good book enrich your mind, but it also keeps you away from less fulfilling time traps, such as television and social media. These traps are known to interfere with good sleep and can even cause increased stress.
Ignoring Your Health
Ignoring your health and not taking care of yourself can take years off your life. If you haven’t had a checkup in a while or you aren’t taking care of a pre-existing condition, you may be putting your health and your life in serious danger. Get a regular physical and stay on top of any health issues you may have.
Not Saving for Retirement
While you may not think finances matter in terms of life expectancy, that isn’t always true. Money and retirement savings can actually help you live longer in many cases. When you retire, you lose your normal monthly income and the insurance provided by your employer. You may replace it with social security income and Medicare insurance, but they don’t usually measure up to the previous levels.
Disregarding the Little Things
If a lot of change seems overwhelming, don’t underestimate how small changes can really make a difference. When it comes to making any change, nothing should be taken for granted or ignored. Take exercise, for example. If you increase your duration by a minute a month, you add 12 healthy minutes to your monthly routine by the end of the year.
Walking is one of the best things you can do for your body. Not only is it physical exercise that gets you outdoors, but it’s also something you can do at any age. Even if you need to go slow to accomplish it, walking just a few minutes a day can breathe new life into your body and your mind.
Blaming Your Genes
Just because everyone in your family has high blood pressure or diabetes, that doesn’t mean you have to accept the inevitable. As you age, you may think whatever conditions you develop are unavoidable because of family history, and you can’t do anything about it.
Not Wearing Sunscreen
If you’re not wearing sunscreen, this is something you should change right away. While the sun is amazing for your body in many ways, UV rays aren’t one of them. When you’re out enjoying the sun, you should always wear sunscreen. No matter how old or young you are, consider now to be the best age to wear it.
Hiding from Intimacy
When you get older, you may feel as though you don’t want to be as intimate as you used to be. This is actually the time you may want to kick things up a notch, however. When your kids have all left home, and you’re an empty nester, there is no time like the present for you and your partner to reconnect.
If you find yourself sitting down at the end of the night to binge watch TV, put down the remote. Watching TV is adding to your sedentary lifestyle, and it isn’t doing you any favors. Instead of just mindlessly watching TV at night, choose something more productive to do.
Eating Late at Night
If you’re constantly eating late at night, this is a habit you should stop immediately. Eating late at night can cause all sorts of health problems, including insomnia, gastrointestinal issues and weight gain. Try to eat earlier for a better night’s sleep and better digestion.
Not Getting a Pet
If you ever feel lonely and like you need a companion or something to keep you busy, a pet could be the solution to your problem. Owning a pet really helps keep you young. A pet is not only a lovable creature who needs love, attention and care, but it also offers a lot in return.
Avoiding the Grandkids
One of the best ways to stay feeling young is to look after little humans. Studies have shown that grandparents who help care for a child actually live longer. When you get older, you still want to feel like someone needs your help, and you want to help your children and stay physically and mentally engaged.
Becoming Too Isolated
When you become too isolated from the people and things you used to love, it can really cause you to age faster. If you feel cut off from your family or social circles, your mind and body may start to deteriorate.