It's safe to assume that just about everyone wants a healthy body. But while we might have a desire to improve or maintain our health, the decisions we make might say otherwise. Here's a look at seven ways you're ruining your body without realizing it.
Sleep might seem like a luxury, especially if you have kids or you're juggling school and work. But sleep does more for your body than you might realize. It not only keeps you refreshed and rejuvenated, your body repairs itself when you're asleep. Getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night can improve your immune system, reducing your risk of colds, flu and other illnesses.
Processed foods are easy to prepare and convenient. And if you're preparing a packaged food item with a low calorie count, you might fool yourself into thinking you're eating healthy. What you might not realize, however, is that processed foods are full of sodium. One meal can have the recommended sodium intake for an entire day. Too much sodium triggers water retention, high blood pressure and other health issues.
Water doesn't have as much flavor as tea, soda or juices, but it's something your body needs every day. Did you know that drinking six to eight glasses of water a day can reverse water retention, helping you drop a few extra pounds of water weight? And since our bodies are mostly water, drinking water on a regular basis helps our organs function properly. Water can also improve brain function, reducing mental fogginess and tension headaches.
If you have a car, the idea of walking or taking your bike to a destination might be a foreign concept. But the more you walk, the healthier you’ll become. It's estimated that only 1 in 4 American women exercise on a regular basis. Regular exercise not only combats obesity, it can improve your immune system and reduce the risk of several illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer. Plus, regular exercise can reduce pain caused by many arthritic conditions.
You might acknowledge the danger of smoking cigarettes and would never touch a cigarette, but if your friends smoke and you constantly breathe in cigarette smoke, you're also putting your health at risk. You can't control the actions of others, but you can request that friends not smoke in your home or car, and you can excuse yourself when someone lights up around you.
If you have a serious personality, you might argue this is who you are. However, learning to let your guard down and not sweating the small stuff can improve your emotional, mental and physical health. Some people downplay the importance of laughing and smiling. But both can strengthen your immune system and completely change your outlook on life. A better outlook can boost your self-confidence and give you motivation.
Even if you're not feeling sick, it's important to schedule an annual physical with your doctor. Routine blood tests and medical check-ups can diagnose many medical problems early.
Not only is it bad to eat too much, but it's also bad to not eat enough. Under eating can be seen as a bandaid for other self esteem issues as well as destroying your metabolism. Under eating actually slows things down and causes you to hold on to fat and you lose much needed nutrients.
Alcohol is fine-in moderation. But if you're drinking to the point you could be considered an alcoholic, you need to stop and seek help. Alcohol destroys your brain cells, your liver, and causes weight gain from the fatty foods typically craved when drinking.
If you're a sedentary person, you need to stop. Not getting exercise is horrible for you. Not only is it bad for you physically, but it also doesn't allow an outlet for your mental stress and anxiety. Exercise keeps your metabolism sharp, your muscles and joints limber and functioning, and detoxes your body through sweat.
You only have one body, so treat it well. It's your turn, what other ways do we hurt our body without realizing it?
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