Your habits are inescapably linked to your lifestyle. Certain things we do or fail to do can be harmful to our health or may hinder our ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Bad habits can affect us emotionally, mentally, physically and even socially. Getting rid of bad habits can be difficult, but the end result is worthwhile and fulfilling.
Kick these five bad habits for a healthy lifestyle:
- Not drinking enough water
Our body is made up of 60% water. Many people don’t drink enough water and miss out on the benefits. Staying hydrated helps to flush toxins from the body, regulates your mood, boosts your memory, regulates temperature, eases blood circulation and keeps your joints lubricated. Clear, supple skin is another added benefit.
According to the Institute of Medicine, adult men should drink 13 cups of water daily while adult women should drink nine water. This includes the water you get from food which adds up to 2 1/2 cups of water. You can monitor your hydration level by observing the colour of your urine. Urine that is almost clear or light yellow in colour signifies adequate hydration.
- Poor sleep
Sleep is a vital component of health and wellness that many of us overlook. You need to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Your body replenishes and restores itself for the next day while you sleep.
Sleep allows the muscles to recover, aids the brain in organising long-term memory and enables tissue repair and cell renewal.
Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, is linked to an increased risk of hypertension, hormone imbalance, mood swings and obesity. If you often have long nights or skip sleep, you should work on breaking this bad habit immediately.
- Stop smoking
Smoking causes numerous deaths globally that can be prevented. If you smoke, you lose an average of 13.2 years as a male and 14.5 years as a female.
In addition to the reduced lifespan, smoking causes bad breath, premature ageing, cancer, emphysema, bronchitis, and yellow teeth.
When you smoke, you also put the health of people around you at risk. Non-smokers living with you can suffer from a myriad of health problems as a result of second-hand smoke. Quitting can be difficult, but there are many resources which can make the process easier.
- Kick the sedentary life away
Move, just move. Your body is made to move – movement helps our bones and muscles to maintain their density. If you spend all day sitting without adequate movement, you will experience loss of muscle mass, muscle stiffness, a limited range of motion, and poor balance.
All of these can be terrible for your health. Incorporate movement into your day by starting small. Take the stairs often, walk short distances, and do easy home exercises.
You don’t have to be a fitness junkie, just keep active. Anyone can get moving and find an easy form of exercise that they enjoy. If you are stuck for where to start because you don’t know the condition your health is in, consider opting for health insurance as your doctor will not only be able to assess your health and advise you on how to improve it, but they will be with you down the line to reassess and adjust your lifestyle and health plans as needed.
- Clean up your diet
Your diet plays a very important role in living a healthier life. When you eat healthy foods, you do your body a favour. Eat foods that are high in fibre that aid digestion and enhance longevity. Reduce your intake of processed sugar, alcohol, high-sodium foods, junk food and unsaturated fats. Eat more fruit and vegetables and control your portion sizes.
Changing your habits can be difficult, so do not expect over-night changes. The best way to achieve the healthy lifestyle you desire is by making gradual changes. Gradually, you will get where you want to be. Remember that change is a process, so don’t beat yourself up when you relapse or fall off the wagon, get back up and keep going.