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Educational health information to improve your well-being.

Are you Shortening Your Life with these 5 Unhealthy Habits?

August 29, 2017 | By Kristen Printy
Published in: Cancer, Diabetes, General, Men, Nutrition, Pulmonology, Women

a lit cigarette with smoke

Very few people look forward to getting older, but most people would agree that it's better than dying before your time. While most people would love to stop the aging process somewhere around age 25, this fantasy probably won't happen very soon. However, it is possible to increase your odds of living a longer and healthier life by practicing healthy habits.

Unhealthy habits are one of the leading reasons why people die earlier. In 2010, the life expectancy for individuals living in the United States was 78 years. Just two short years later, this figure is rapidly declining for certain age groups. Researchers postulate that this may be due to an increase in unhealthy habits, especially in younger people. There are a variety of habits that people practice that can shorten their lifespans. Many of these habits are popularized by television and movies, as being enjoyable activities. The truth is these following activities can reduce the quality of your life and shorten the years you spend on this planet. If you want to live longer, avoid the following:

Smoking Cigarettes

Woman holding up a mug of beer outsideSmoking cigarettes can increase your risk of stroke and heart disease. Smoking is also the leading cause of lung cancer. Smoking also heightens emphysema and COPD risks. No matter how much you might enjoy lighting up that cigarette, it's just not worth suffering from cancer or dying from a heart attack. If you're smart, you'll avoid using cigarettes, and if you're already a smoker, you'll quit as soon as you can.

Excessive Drinking

Drinking in moderation isn't usually problematic. Numerous studies indicate moderate alcohol consumption isn't a huge risk to your health. However, excessive alcohol consumption has been shown to lower a person's life expectancy by about 20 years. In fact, alcoholism can take more than 20 years off your life span if you have additional health problems like diabetes. Brain impairment, liver disease, and gastrointestinal bleeding can lead to a much earlier death for individuals who drink excessively.

Poor Food Choices

Fast food sandwich with baconEating junk food and fast food is one of the most common vices that people in the United States indulge in. The fast food industry is a $100 billion a year business in the US, despite the fact that people are aware of the negative health effects of fast food. Consuming too much junk food and fast food can lead to lifestyle diseases like obesity and cancer which can reduce your lifespan by more than ten years. Instead of consuming fast food, eat a healthy diet packed with lots of fruits and vegetables, to live a long and healthy life.

Too Much or Too Little Sleep

According to a study performed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, individuals who snooze for more than eight hours a day are twice as likely to experience a stroke—especially women. While people who don't get enough sleep may suffer from ischemic strokes due to clots that prevent blood flow from reaching the brain, lazy individuals who refuse to get out of bed run the risk of experiencing a hemorrhagic stroke where blood vessels burst and bleed into the brain. Adhering to a regular sleep schedule is the best way to make sure you're as healthy as you can be. Sleep is vital to our health and sleeping too much or too little can shorten your life significantly.

Sitting for More Than 7 Hours a Day

If you work a desk job, this might be concerning. Sitting for more than 7 hours a day can be detrimental to your health. Extended periods of inactivity is just as bad as indulging in all the other unhealthy habits at one time. Exercise is vital for the body to function properly. If you're doing nothing except for tapping on the keyboard or talking on the phone while you're at the office, you may want to take a 15-minute break every couple of hours and walk around. You may also want to join a gym or take a half hour walk in the park after work if you want to offset the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

If you're hoping to have a long and enjoyable life, avoiding these unhealthy habits is essential. If the prospects of clean living seem like a bore, it's always possible to find alternative adventures to suit your tastes. Natural juices and fruits can be just as delicious as those sweet snacks. Packing a sandwich can be just as filling and probably tastier than taking a trip through the drive-thru during your lunch break. For those who wince at giving up smoking or drinking, maybe you can start a new hobby or take up hiking. Where there's a will, there's a way. Life is so much better when you treat your body the way you should.