Some of your lifestyle choices could be slowly killing you and you may not even realize it. Sure, we are all going to kick the bucket at some point, but why speed up the process unnecessarily? Here are some behaviors to avoid if you want to live a long, healthy life.
1. Lack of sleep
Not getting enough sleep is nothing to shrug off. Chronic lack of sleep could spell trouble for your heart. It could also lead to diabetes and high blood pressure. A study conducted by Wageningen University and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment found that a healthy lifestyle coupled with adequate sleep reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 65%. The risk of succumbing to cardiovascular disease is reduced by a whopping 83%.
2. Poor diet
Put down the chips and soda. Your afternoon snack habit is shaving years off your life. While it may be a tasty, convenient treat, all of that junk food can hurt you in the long run. If you want to improve your quality of life, make an effort to eat a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and other foods that help reduce inflammation.
“Nutrition and medical researchers have identified persistent inflammation as one of the worst offenders in aging, as its factors predict the risk of virtually all chronic diseases. And since chronic diseases cause the majority of early deaths, eating a diet that minimizes inflammation and the risk of chronic disease is key to increasing longevity and quality of life,” said nutritionist Dina Aronson.
3. Drinking too much
Kicking back a few beers at the bar may be OK every now and then, but chronic heavy drinking is not good for your body. Drinking too much has been linked cirrhosis of the liver and a host of other diseases. Some of the diseases connected to heavy drinking include heart disease, immune system breakdown, increased cancer risk, and pancreatitis, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
“…Alcohol abuse can damage organs, weaken the immune system, and contribute to cancers. Plus, much like smoking, alcohol affects different people differently. Genes, environment, and even diet can play a role in whether you develop an alcohol-related disease,” said the Institute in Beyond Hangovers: Understanding Alcohol’s Impact on Your Health.
Chronic stress will cause your body to remain in a state of fight-or-flight. This puts strain on your entire body. Some negative results of constant stress include anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, and impaired memory and concentration.
“…When stressors are always present and you constantly feel under attack, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on. The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems,” said Mayo Clinic researchers.
Although none of these behaviors is good for your health, University of Sydney, Australia researchers found that certain combinations of poor lifestyle choices further increase your mortality risk. For example, physical inactivity combined with sitting for long periods of time and lack of sleep and the combination of smoking and drinking too much had the highest correlation with premature death.