Are you ruining your health? It’s a scary, negative-sounding thought, but we can’t bury our heads in the sand about our health. Sometimes we have to face some pretty sobering facts. The older we get, the more our body has been taxed over the years by poor choices. These might be eating the wrong things, drinking and smoking, taking illegal and legal drugs and not exercising. Some of us are just unlucky, and are born with exiting health complications.
Many of us get to a certain age and think, “I am ruining my health?” What worked for us a few years ago might seem harder now; it might be more difficult to bounce back after a sickness or ‘big night’. Aside from genetics, it’s your lifestyle that puts you at risk, which is why changes often need to be made. Here are 10 things that you might be doing that are ruining your health.
#1: You smoke
When you’re a smoker, the single best thing that you can do for your heart health is kicking the habit straight to the curb. This is because smoking is one of the main causes of heart disease and quitting almost halves your chances of developing it. Of course, quitting smoking won’t be easy, but there are a number of places from which you can get help and support, including your doctor. Once you’ve decided to quit, it’s best to stay away from others while they’re smoking.
#2: You drink too much booze
Guilty as charged – I love a Chardonnay. Unfortunately, drinking puts you at greater risk of ruining your health. The reason for this is that excessive alcohol consumption increases your blood pressure, which damages your heart muscle, thus increasing your risk of stroke and heart disease. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to ditch drinking altogether, as moderate alcohol intake can actually lower your blood pressure while boosting levels of good cholesterol.
#3: You aren’t moving enough
Finding time to exercise every day can seem like an impossible task when your schedule is jam-packed. Thankfully, it’s not nearly as difficult as most people imagine. Even marching or jogging on the spot in front of the television counts as exercise and can help to reduce your stress and improve blood pressure. You can also incorporate more physical activity into your life, by walking instead of driving and standing to fold laundry instead of sitting.
#4: You haven’t been visiting your doctor regularly
Your health may be in your hands, but that doesn’t mean you have to take care of it alone. Instead, schedule a yearly checkup with your doctor so that they can carry out any necessary tests and offer you support and advice. They may even prescribe medication, like Cartia, to help reduce your risk of any heart illness or disease. It’s important to remember that your doctor is the expert, so listen to what they have to say and follow any suggestions they may give you.
#5: You are overweight or obese
I have written quite a bit about how I used to be obese, and how miserable it was. You need to aim for and maintain a healthy weight. Unfortunately, if you are overweight, then slimming down won’t happen overnight, but if you’re committed and determined, then there’s nothing stopping you from reaching your goal. Just make sure that you exercise every day and that your diet is filled with nutritious foods, rather than junk.
#6: You are eating too much junk
Our hearts work best when they’re running on clean fuel. For this reason, you need to cut back on the amount of junk you eat and incorporate more whole, plant-based foods into your diet. These include fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. That being said, you should avoid drinks like fruit juice and soda, as they don’t contain the necessary energy that’s in actual fruit. Instead, they’re full of sugar and calories. Because of this, you should stick to water to stay hydrated.
#7: You are skimping on the fibre
While you’re switching up your diet, it’s important that you find ways to eat as much fibre as you can. This is because fibre helps you to feel fuller for longer, which will go a long way in your weight loss efforts. It also has cholesterol-lowering effects, which will naturally reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can all up your fibre intake, but there are a number of surprising foods that also contain high levels.
#8: You are a stress head
I come from a family of “stress junkies” – all high achievers and alpha types. Stress increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other illnesses in a number of ways. One of these is the fact that stress can increase the risk behaviours associated with these illnesses, like overeating, smoking, and lack of sleep. There’s also the fact that stress causes increase blood pressure, which can cause damage to your heart and arteries. For this reason, you need to find ways to manage and reduce your stress levels.
#9: You’re not getting a good night’s sleep
Poor sleep quality has been frequently linked to stress, weight gain, and increased blood pressure, which means you need to aim to improve your sleep and increase the number of hours your sleep for. This isn’t always easy, but there are a number of things that you can try. To start with, you should get yourself into a bedtime routine, cut back on caffeine, and create a calming sleep space. If this doesn’t work, then you may want to speak to your doctor for advice.
#10: You are being too hard on yourself!
The steps you need to take to improve your health aren’t always easy or simple. For this reason, you may struggle at times or make mistakes. Of course, having the odd cigarette or fast food burger isn’t ideal, but it’s far from the end of the world. Rather than giving up or beating yourself up, you should stay positive and immediately get yourself back on track. This is the only way you’ll make long-term changes and truly protect your health.
If you are ruining your health – it’s not too late to turn back!
Your health is just so important, so make sure that you keep yourself healthy and show your body and mind some love. Hopefully, with the tips above, you’ll know exactly what to do to get started. If you want to stop ruining your health, now is the time to put some positive actions in place.