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4 Bad Habits That Are Probably Making You Sick

4 Bad Habits That Are Probably Making You Sick

The winter months are fast approaching and, though we cheer at the oncoming holiday festivities, with winter comes the added woe of “cold and flu season” to contend with. So what do you do if you want to avoid sicknesses that often plague the colder times of the year?

Well, as much as being proactive and wrapping up helps to keep you healthy, there are also bad habits making you sick that are best avoided if you want to stay healthy over the winter months.

1. Getting Less Than 6 Hours Of Sleep

Several studies have linked sleep deprivation to obesity [1] and depression, as well as to suppression of the immune system [2], which is one of the main reasons not getting enough shut eye can lead us to get sick so often!

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    What can we do though? Well, many popular apps are now dedicated to improving users’ sleeping patterns. One app, in particular, called Sleep Genius even bases part of its method on the findings of NASA research aimed at getting optimal sleep cycles for astronauts. Others are dedicated solely to filtering out those blue light rays from our screens that are so disastrous to our sleep cycles. We don’t suggest a complete blackout, but simply reading a good book before bed instead of using a screen device can go a long way to getting you a much better night’s sleep.

    2. Being Inactive

    Getting a good amount of sleep is an important factor in healthy living that is often taken for granted, as is simply keeping active in our day-to-day lives. Amongst the ill effects on our health of having an inactive lifestyle are the added risk of heart disease, adult onset diabetes, and a doubled risk of obesity.[3] Hit the gym or exercise regularly, on the other hand, and you’ll be enhancing your immune system as you relieve stress.[4]

    The best way to deal with this problem is to set up an effective routine. Research points to both morning and evenings as being the best time for a workout. That being said, perhaps what best fits into your daily routine is the most likely to keep you motivated to keep going consistently. For those of you who like to do a morning routine though, there’s the benefit of not having to worry for the rest of the day once the morning sweat session is out of the way. An added bonus is the release of endorphins you feel post-workout which are a great way to kick off the day in a positive frame of mind.

    3. Touching Your Face Often

    Stop touching yourself! Research suggests that human beings touch themselves in a way that’s detrimental to their health 2,000 to 3,000 times a day. Dr. Wladimir Alonso and his team at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, however, carried out an illuminating study on human behaviour showing that we should be shifting our focus during flu season.[5] Illnesses are most commonly transmitted by touching a contaminated surface and then our face, allowing the virus to enter through our respiratory system. Alonso’s research though, showed that we touch our faces at a higher rate than we touch potentially contaminated surfaces.

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    Many medical initiatives strongly recommend washing your hands frequently to avoid transmitting diseases. Whilst this is undoubtedly sound advice, the study shows us that this may not be enough; we should also do our best to keep those fidgety hands away from our face.

    4. Not Eating Enough Vegetables

    A surefire way to put yourself at risk of getting sick during the winter months is by not ingesting enough of the essential nutrients necessary for keeping your immune system healthy. Vegetables are a must.[6] There’s another added incentive to getting your daily dose of vegetables as well. Recent research has shown that, aside from being an essential cornerstone of a healthy diet, vegetables also give us a psychological boost! Professor Andrew Oswald has spoken of this immediate added benefit of eating vegetables and fruit by saying, “it boosts our happiness far more quickly than it improves human health.”[7]

    If you are a veggie fan, there are huge amounts of creative ways out there to treat yourself to a variety of vegetarian dishes that will have you satisfied for months. However, with research suggesting that a majority of people don’t eat the recommended daily intake of 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables, another great way to reach the recommended amount is to incorporate more vegetables creatively, rather than relying simply on a side serving with each main meal.[8] Add some tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach to your morning omelettes or chopped basil to your bagel spread, for example. Adding small amounts throughout the day can go a long way!

    It’s never too late to adapt your diet to help you have a healthier veggie-filled lifestyle! Here are a few recipes to help you get started:

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    Easy and Healthy Lentil Soup

      via My Mommy Style

      Balsamic Soy Roasted Garlic Mushrooms

        via Closet Cooking

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        Vegetable Udon Stir Fry

          via Cilantro and Cintronella

          So, get a good night’s sleep, eat plenty of veggies, calm those fidgety hands, but also make sure to get your sweat on. You’re much more likely to have a comfortable winter, focusing on the important things in life rather than reaching for your handkerchief!

          Featured photo credit: Style404.com via style404.com

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          Christopher Young

          Freelance Blogger, Writer and Journalist

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          Last Updated on September 18, 2020

          7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

          7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

          Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

          Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

          1. Exercise Daily

          It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

          If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

          Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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          If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

          2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

          Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

          One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

          This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

          3. Acknowledge Your Limits

          Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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          Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

          Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

          4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

          Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

          The basic nutritional advice includes:

          • Eat unprocessed foods
          • Eat more veggies
          • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
          • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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          Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

            5. Watch Out for Travel

            Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

            This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

            If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

            6. Start Slow

            Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

            If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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            7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

            Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

            My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

            If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

            I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

            Final Thoughts

            Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

            Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

            More Tips on Getting in Shape

            Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

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