Each and every one of us is guilty of developing an affinity of unhealthy habits. Unfortunately, continuing to engage in these habits day in and day out can take a substantial amount of time off of your life; see below.
Physical activity is imperative to our overall health. And because our physical health and mental health are so interconnected, they directly affect one another. When our physical health deteriorates, our mental health does. Our mood and our brains’ mental capabilities are directly affected by exercise or lack thereof.
Our physical bodies need regular exercise in order to maintain and build muscles, to combat illnesses and health conditions, and to keep our vital organs functioning properly. Probably most noticeable is that exercise is directly related to how much we weigh.
Considering that more than two-thirds of all U.S. adults are either overweight or obese, and 17 percent of all U.S. children are obese, it has become abundantly clear that Americans are not taking the time to get regular exercise. Being overweight can cause the following according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control:
It’s never too late to begin exercising. And if you think you’re allergic to the term “exercise,” don’t use it or do it. Just get off the couch and outside more. Make an effort to engage in more physical activities than you do now. Take longer walks with your dog, and walk faster. Plant and maintain a garden. Get involved in an intramural sport. Go for a bike ride with your children. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring or repetitive; just get out and get your heart rate up regularly.
At this day in age, few are unaware about the dangers of smoking. Yet surprisingly, many continue to engage in this deadly habit. Smoking is known to cause nearly 450,000 U.S. deaths annually, meaning that one in every five U.S. deaths yearly is due to health complications caused by smoking. Cigarette smoking is known to cause:
Every cigarette counts; the sooner you quit, the longer you will live. And it’s never too late to quit. Those who quit see health changes almost immediately and long-term health benefits.
Being overweight or obese isn’t just about not getting enough exercise; it’s also about making poor eating and drinking choices. A diet high in sodium, sugar, and fat, but low in the nutrients imperative to our diet can lead to:
If you’re eating a burger and fries every day, you should seriously consider changing your diet. Even if you aren’t overweight, the plaque from fatty foods can build up your arteries, and no amount of exercise or diet change will change that; plaque buildup is permanent. Simple changes can curb your eating habits. For instance, if you’re at a restaurant and are given the choice between french fries and a salad as a side, choose the salad.
Choose water and juices without added sugar or chemicals over sodas. Choose red wine over beer. Choose a turkey burger over a beef burger. Changing your eating habits doesn’t have to mean you live on carrot sticks, but you should certainly make an effort to make lean meats, raw fruits and vegetables, and whole grains a part of your daily diet.