Most people are aware of the major bad health habits that can lead to disease, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and eating an unhealthy diet. However, there are many other bad health habits that can also increase your risk of developing a disease. Some of these habits are not as well known, but they can still have a significant impact on your health. It’s important to be aware of all the different bad health habits that can increase your risk of disease so that you can take steps to avoid them. By making even small changes in your lifestyle, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing a serious health condition.
Here are some bad health habits that you should avoid:
1. Not Getting Enough Sleep
One of the most important things you can do for your health is to get enough sleep. Unfortunately, many people don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, lack of sleep has been linked to a variety of health problems, including:
- high blood pressure
- heart attack
- heart failure
- heart disease
- kidney disease
If you want to stay healthy, it’s important to make sure that you get enough sleep every night. Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
2. Eating Too Much Junk Food
Junk food is often defined as foods with little nutritional value that are high in calories, fat, sugar, and salt. While there are some disputed definitions, most experts agree that junk food does not provide the body with the nutrients it needs to function properly. Junk food has been linked with a number of health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and a weakened immune system. (1)
The overconsumption of junk food can also lead to digestive issues, such as constipation and indigestion. In addition, junk food has been shown to have a negative impact on brain health and is associated with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. (2)
Given the many negative effects of junk food, it is clear that it should be avoided as much as possible. When people consume junk food on a regular basis, they are putting their health at risk.
3. Living a sedentary lifestyle
Another unhealthy habit is living a sedentary lifestyle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 15% of American adults are physically inactive. This means that they do not get the recommended amount of exercise each week.
Think about how much time you spend sitting down each day. Do you sit at a desk all day at work? Do you spend your evenings watching TV or browsing the internet? If you don’t make a conscious effort to move your body, it’s easy to become sedentary.
There are many dangers associated with leading a sedentary lifestyle. Perhaps the most obvious is the impact on physical health. For instance, individuals who are physical inactivity are more likely to be overweight or obese. They are also more likely to develop:
- cardiovascular diseases
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- certain types of cancer.
But the effects of sedentary behavior extend beyond physical health. Those who are inactive also suffer from anxiety and depression, and they may have difficulty concentrating and focusing. In addition, research has shown that being inactive can lead to premature aging, memory loss, and a decline in cognitive function. (3, 4)
So if you want to stay healthy, it’s important to make sure that you get up and move around regularly throughout the day. The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. (5)
4. Smoking cigarettes
Smoking cigarettes is one of the worst things you can do for your health. There are more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, and at least 70 of them are known to cause cancer. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even reports that cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths in the United States each year. (6)
Smokers are more likely to develop:
- heart disease
- chronic bronchitis
- lung cancer
- bladder cancer
- kidney cancer
- pancreatic cancer
- mouth and throat cancer.
Smoking is also a major risk factor for other diseases, such as:
- type 2 diabetes
- decreased immune function
- rheumatoid arthritis
Let’s not forget that smoking cigarettes also makes you smell bad, stains your teeth, and wrinkles your skin. (7)
So if you’re still smoking, it’s time to quit. Your health will thank you for it.
5. You don’t eat vegetables
Some people just don’t like the taste of vegetables. Others think they’re too hard to prepare. But whatever the reason, not eating vegetables is a bad habit that can have serious consequences for your health. Vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. They’re packed with nutrients that can help protect your body against disease.
For example: Eating a diet rich in vegetables can lower your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Vegetables are also good for your gut health. They contain fiber that helps keep things moving along smoothly. And they’re low in calories, so they can help you maintain a healthy weight. So if you’re not eating enough vegetables, it’s time to make a change.
Start by adding a few servings to your diet each day. You can easily do this by including them at every meal. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of vegetables. There are so many to choose from, and you might be surprised at how much you like them.
6. Eating Too Much Salt
You probably already know that eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure, but did you know that it can also lead to other health problems? According to experts, eating too much salt can increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, kidney stones, and swollen feet or hands. (8)
A lot of questions come up about how much salt people should have in their diet. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults, especially those with high blood pressure. (9)
That’s about two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt.
7. Not Drinking Enough Water
Water is essential for our bodies to function properly. It helps:
- transport nutrients and oxygen to our cells
- remove waste from our bodies
- regulate our body temperature
- lubricate and cushion our joints
- protect our spinal cord and other delicate tissues.
Yet, despite all of these important functions, many of us don’t drink enough water each day. Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, which can cause:
- dry skin
- and more.
The amount of water you need to drink each day depends on a number of factors, including your:
- activity level
- the climate you live in.
But a good rule of thumb is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
8. Avoiding Medical Check-ups
Are you procrastinating on going to the doctor or dentist? You’re not alone. A lot of people avoid medical check-ups because they’re so busy, they don’t have time, or they’re just plain scared.
But here’s the thing: Regular medical check-ups are important because they allow your doctor to:
- screen for health problems
- catch any problems early, when they’re most treatable
- update your vaccinations
- provide advice on how to improve your health.
For instance, your doctor may recommend changes to your diet or exercise routine to help you prevent chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. They may also recommend ways to help you manage stress. So if you’re not seeing your doctor regularly, make an appointment today. It could be the best decision you ever make for your health.
Making healthy choices can be hard, but it’s worth it. Your health is one of the most important things in your life, so don’t take it for granted. Instead, make a commitment to live a healthy lifestyle.
It may not be easy at first, but it’s definitely worth it. So what are you waiting for? Start making healthier choices today. Your body will thank you for it.