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5 Habits That Make You Unhealthy (And How To Fix Them)

5 Habits That Make You Unhealthy (And How To Fix Them)

The New Year is coming, so there are resolutions to be made. But before you start promising yourself you will live healthier, why not start by identifying the bad habits you have right now? Most of us are doing small things we are not even aware of, but which does ourselves a lot of damage. Here are some habits I managed to identify in myself.

1. Faulty sleeping habits

The way you sleep can have a lot to do with your posture and your back pains. There are three main sleeping positions: on the back, on the belly, and on a side. The best of them is on the back, because your entire body is sitting straight. Sleeping on your belly forces you to twist your neck, while sleeping on a side requires more support in order to keep your spine straight.

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Regardless of how you like to sleep, make sure your spine is supported[1] and stays straight. Any unnatural curve can lead to back pains, especially in the long run, so always keep an eye on how your body is supported during sleep.

2. Faulty posture

Look around you. Do it! If you are at the office you will see your colleagues sitting in their chairs with their spine awkwardly twisted and their heads tilted forward. If you are on public transportation, you will see people shrinking their entire body due to cold, or keeping their shoulders and heads rolled forward so they can text on their smartphones. Keeping your body in a faulty posture can to alter your health in dramatic ways,[2] damaging your bones and your muscles.

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To avoid having the posture of an elder in your 30s, you can train yourself to sit upright. This is not going to be easy – I am saying this from my own experience! Exercise by dragging your shoulders downwards and backwards, pushing your chest forward. Keep your chin up and breathe deep, as this will exercise your abs and back muscles, as well as the diaphragm. If you have to text, keep the phone as high as needed, so your chin is not tilted downward, dragging the neck with it.

A good way to relax your muscles and relieve some of the pain you will feel as you start improving your posture is getting a massage, either in a massage chair, or by a professional.

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3. Your breath is too shallow

Singers and athletes know very well how shallow other people breathe, and how damaging this bad habit is in the long run. Most people breathe with their upper chest, which means they don’t use the diaphragm, and they take in small amounts of air. This translates into a poorly oxygenated blood stream and body. The correct way to breathe is using your diaphragm,[3] inflating your belly. This enables you to take in bigger amounts of air, inflating the lungs completely. As you do so, your body is going to receive more oxygen, promoting better functions of the internal organs, especially the brain.

4. You’re not getting massages

Getting a massage is often considered a habit of the rich and famous, but in fact you should schedule a massage session from time to time, regardless your revenue. Nowadays, massages are available for everyone, and you can also get your own massage chair[4] or portable massager to help you unwind after a long day. A massage can help your muscles relax, which is going to ease your aches, especially if you are used to going to the gym. Stretching is another important thing to do, as it helps improve your mobility and provides muscle strength. Stretching and massages help you get rid of the lactic acid that builds up in the muscles after a workout. The best way to benefit from stretching and massages is to stretch before and after each workout, and get a massage once a week or twice a month.

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5. Listening to loud music

Remember when your mother told you to stop listening to loud music? Well, she was right! Listening to loud music is a bad habit[5] many people have, especially millennials. However, this habit can lower your hearing sensitivity, and can even lead to hearing phantom sounds, or ear pain. This happens because our ears are not built for listening to loud sounds for extended periods of time. To avoid damaging your hearing, wear ear plugs at loud concerts, and keep the volume of your music down, especially on headphones.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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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

    Reference

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