There are lots of everyday habits that are harmful to our health, especially for people more advanced in years. While it’s perfectly reasonable to treat yourself to a guilty pleasure, or break up a healthy routine, from time to time, it’s easy to form destructive habits without knowing it.
Below is a quick list to get you thinking about the ways you could improve your life, simply by reflecting on how you spend your time. Engage that willpower!
Irregular meal times
Skipping breakfast and snacking at irregular times of the day is a major problem for people who want to stay healthy and keep feeling good. You might think that eating a little later on can’t do much harm, but in fact the absence of a proper meal for a long period can lead to fatigue, lower brain function, and even depression.
When we’re active, even if we’re just thinking, we deplete key nutrients such as arginine and vitamin N, which help to maintain good blood flow around the body, and energy uptake into our cells. Having a large gap between meals makes it much more likely that these nutrients will run out, and that can start to have a big effect on your mind and body.
It has also been shown that people who skip breakfast are far more likely to snack on unhealthy foods later in the day, to make up for the perceived energy deficit. So, do yourself a favour by starting the day right!
Not having a good sleeping pattern
While it’s true that we require different amounts of sleep at different stages of our life, it’s important that we at least maintain a good routine when we rest.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of napping at odd times of the day, and then staying up through the night watching movies or getting immersed in a good book. Doing this too often can throw your body clock, which means that the hormone levels in your body no longer maintain a good level of homeostasis.
Recent studies show that diabetes and obesity can be linked to irregular sleep patterns, so it’s about more than feeling rested.
Passing up chances to exercise
Running triathlons isn’t for everyone, but there are lots of opportunities in most peoples’ lives to get a bit of exercise.
The problem is that it can be very convenient to choose an alternative. It’s important to ask yourself whether you really need to use the car to get to the shops, or even whether you can’t do a few simple calisthenics while you wait for the kettle to boil.
Heart disease is still the biggest killer in the developed world, and just 20 minutes of walking a day can improve your chances of avoiding it by 25%. Exercise can also have a direct effect on your overall mood and general sense of wellbeing. So, make sure you’re doing enough to stay active.
Not keeping up basic hygiene
This might sound like an odd thing to bring up, but more than half of all men, and nearly half of all women, fail to wash their hands properly throughout the day. Even those that make sure to rinse their hands may not be removing germs – it’s important to use soap and warm water for around 20 seconds to make sure that you’re keeping on top of harmful bacteria.
Washing your hands regularly is the best way to prevent yourself contracting a cold, and can have a therapeutic quality too, so see it as a necessity rather than an option. It’s not just about yourself – the spread of germs is everyone’s concern.
Failing to keep hydrated
Ever found yourself feeling sluggish or having more difficulty than usual performing basic tasks? It might be that you’re not drinking enough water.
Doctors recommend that you take in at least 1.5 litres per day. The most obvious sign of dehydration is a headache or dryness at the roof of the mouth, so if you find yourself suffering from these symptoms you should definitely try upping your usual liquid intake.
Losing touch with loved ones
It might seem like we’re more connected than ever these days with the amount of communication technology available, but it’s very easy to lose touch with the people we care about, simply by not making the effort.
Becoming socially isolated increases the chances of ill health and death by over 25%, as well as making it harder to be positive about life. Consider ways that you can connect with the important people in your life, and don’t be afraid to learn new methods, such as video chat technology – it’s completely free once you have the hardware, and can feel just like talking to someone face to face.
So there you have it – these might seem like simple things to bear in mind, but they can make a huge difference to your life. With a little effort you can improve your habits and start feeling better about your routine.
For more information on maintaining your health as you age, subscribe to our newsletter today!