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Giving Up Unhealthy Habits on World Health Day

Eat a wholesome breakfast, consume adequate water, exercise daily, get sound sleep and build a routine – this is the key to staying healthy.

  • 07 Apr 2020
  • min read

April 7 is observed as World Health Day across the globe. To begin with, one must acknowledge that living healthy isn’t a choice; instead, it is imperative that you do. A few unhealthy habits might be sabotaging your efforts at living a healthy life. Take a look at the following unhealthy habits that you ought to get rid of this World Health Day:

1. Skipping your breakfast

Unhealthy habit #1 is skipping your first meal. When you wake up in the morning, your body needs the correct nutrition to prepare itself for the rest of the day. However, by force of habit, some tend to wake up late for office and make up for the lost time by not eating a full breakfast. Also, one might choose to forego his first meal, thinking it to be a diet hack.

In reality, not eating your breakfast impacts the body in more ways than one. It causes a drop in your blood sugar levels, affects mental health and concentration owing to the lack of energy reserves, and leads you to binge on unhealthy (comfort) foods throughout the day.

Needless to point it out, gorging on junk foods can only add to the extra kilos and visceral fat, thereby making you vulnerable to lifestyle disorders at an increased age.

Health tip: Make sure you eat a wholesome breakfast, comprising the right nutrients and macros. The first meal of the day should not be only protein or carb-heavy; instead, include foods that have adequate proportions of protein, healthy carbs and good fats.

2. Not sipping enough on the wonder liquid

Another unhealthy habit is to skimp on your regular water intake. Multiple studies have linked adequate consumption of water to a sharper memory and focus, more stable mood, and increased energy. Besides, keeping up with the required fluid intake helps your skin stay supple and your body cool faster relative to the ambient temperature; provides muscles and joints increased functionality, and flushes out toxins from the system.

The question is, how much water should you be drinking each day? Experts say that about eight glasses should do the trick (besides the two/three cups of water that you get from foods). However, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Therefore, the best way to know whether you are hydrated is to check the colour of urine (darker colour can indicate that you aren’t hydrated).

Health tip: You can spread your daily water intake over the day. Begin the morning with two glasses of water, and drink another 6-7 glasses as the day progresses.

3. Eating late into the night

Research reveals that longer the time between two meals (dinner and breakfast), more the time your body gets to process, digest and absorb the nutrients from the food. Also, studies have established a connect between intermittent fasting (marked by spacing out your meals and eating in a shorter window) and healthy weight loss.

Another reason to give up on late night snacking or late dinners is that it often results in indigestion, something that hampers the quality of your sleep. Moreover, chances are you aren’t necessarily opting for the healthier options. Instead, you are likely to reach out for refined snacks and other unhealthy foods that will, in turn, spike the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and derail all weight loss goals.

Health tip: Make yourself a dinner schedule and stick to it. Ideally, aim to have your last meal of the day at least two hours before bedtime.

4. Living a sedentary lifestyle

In today’s times, most of our work is online. Chances are you are sitting on a chair all day long, glued to your laptop. However, don’t let this professional routine of yours add to the risks of morbidity and mortality.

Break the monotony by indulging in a 30/45-minute workout regularly. Multiple studies have thrown light on the various upsides of physical activity. Not only does exercise help you look and feel great, but it also aligns perfectly well with your weight loss goals, and boosts metabolism and energy levels.

More importantly, regular exercise can significantly add to your life expectancy. An extensive body of work corroborates that physical activity helps to keep the heart healthy, lowers the risks of certain types of cancers and other chronic conditions, regulates blood flow to all parts of the body, and supports blood sugar control.

Health tip: Adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity every week. This can include brisk walking or jogging. Team it with two days of strength training, including lifting weights, and using your body weight as resistance (exercises like pull-ups, push-ups and squats).

5. Not getting adequate snooze hours

Research states that not getting enough shut-eye at night can cloud your thinking and decision-making abilities (you are more likely to make mistakes), affect heart health and jeopardise your immune system. Being sleep-deprived is also linked with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, owing to the release of insulin that results in increased fat storage.

More importantly, lack of quality sleep can make it even more challenging to lose weight. That’s because the two hormones that regulate appetite and satiety – namely ghrelin and leptin -- are adversely affected by insufficient or scanty sleep.

Also read:

Health tip: While there’s no magic number, aim to get at least 7-8 hours of shut-eye. You should also make sure not to disrupt your sleep schedule; that is, go to sleep at the same time every night. Make your room as dark and cool as possible as this has been proven to better sleep quality.

Importantly, limit the usage of smartphones and turn off every electronic device at least an hour before hitting the sack.

In conclusion

Ask for professional help should you feel the need. If you start to experience back pain or indigestion regularly, know that they could be indicative of underlying disorders. It is best to seek medical intervention in these times.

A step in the right direction would be to invest in a comprehensive health insurance policy that offers online consultation with a medical expert. That way you can get an expert to weigh in on your lifestyle choices and whether you’re making all the right mover or not to prioritise your health.

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