We all have a bad habit or seven we'd love to kick to the curb. And while we already know the consequences of icky things like eating processed food, sitting too much, and smoking, what about the bad habits that don't seem like a big deal in the moment? What might things like a missed bedtime here and a skipped workout there do to your bod down the road?
Here, 6 bad habits you might want to reconsider:
1. Skimping on sleep
In the short-term, getting a half-assed amount of sleep might seem like no biggie (you know, aside from the brain fog... and constant yawning... and running into things), but this is one of the top bad habits to ditch: Based on 50 years of sleep research, a recent study from Baylor University revealed that younger and middle-aged people who scored the recommended dose of shuteye predicted better mental functioning almost 30 years later! Invest now, and enjoy your brain forever.
2. Skipping breakfast
As someone who feels uber-queasy first thing in the morning, I don't blame you one bit for skipping breakfast—but your body does. Anytime you skip a meal, your bod slows down to conserve energy and store calories for a rainy day (hence the whole spare tire thing). What's worse, you'll more than likely hoover too much food at lunch to compensate. Always make sure to eat breakfast within two hours of waking up.
3. Biting your nails
As you chew your nails, not only can you permanently damage your nail beds, but transfer nasty germs from your nails to your mouth. (Let's take a minute to picture the grossest thing you've touched today. Ready? Go...) You could also be doing a number on your teeth, according to a study in the journal General Dentistry. Nail-biters may be at risk for chronic jaw clenching, which causes headaches, recessed gums and tooth loss. Get yourself a gorgeous manicure that you won't want to damage and put that nervous energy to better use.
4. Cracking your knuckles
Cracking your knuckles is one of those bad habits that's only a big deal if you're doing it 24/7. The cracking sound is simply joint fluid moving around—so even though you're not doing major damage in the short-term, in the long-term you could wear out the ligaments in your joints and cause yourself a little thing called arthritis. So you know, stop it.
5. Eating lunch at your desk
You're more likely to overeat if you're noshing while you work—doing so distracts the alarm in your body that lets you know you're full, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. At the very least, turn your back to your work as you're eating so you don't forget to chew.
6. Skipping exercise when you're beat
Most of us already don't get enough exercise as it is, so if you're fighting fatigue, exercising is one of the first things you should do. A University of Georgia study found that sedentary adults who started lightly exercising three days a week for only 20 minutes at a time reported having more energy after just six weeks. You might not want to hit the gym, but at least hit the pavement for a walk around the block.
What bad habits are you trying to break up with?
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Biting nails image via Shutterstock