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Everyday Habits That Can Cause Serious Damage to Your Body

Be healthier with this essential advice.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

Everyday life isn't the easiest these days. Our bodies need every advantage we can give them to stay healthy. And that starts by avoiding some common habits that can undermine their optimal function—some we engage in without realizing it. These are some everyday habits that can cause lasting damage to your body. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Not Being Vaccinated

Man gesturing stop to nurse offering syringe with vaccine.
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One of the best things you can do for your health is to get vaccinated against COVID. Not only could it save your life—experts say the vast majority of people who are hospitalized or die of COVID are unvaccinated—it reduces your risk of developing "long COVID," a chronic syndrome of debilitating symptoms that as of now has no effective treatment or cure.

RELATED: 7 Hacks That Improve Your Memory, According to Science

2

Not Sleeping Properly

young woman sitting up in bed unable to fall asleep
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When we sleep, major body systems repair themselves. When you're not getting adequate rest, your heart, brain and immune system aren't getting adequate maintenance. A growing body of research has linked poor-quality sleep to a range of serious illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, and dementia. Experts such as the National Sleep Foundation recommend that adults get seven to nine hours of quality sleep every night.

RELATED: Simple Ways to Live to 100, Say Experts

3

Stressing Out

Man stressed while working on laptop
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Chronically being stressed out causes the brain to produce more of the stress hormone cortisol, which has a number of negative physical effects, including a weakened immune system. People who experience chronic stress are more prone to the common cold and viral infections like the flu. Excess cortisol also tells the body to store excess belly fat, which raises the risk of cancer and heart disease.

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4

Drinking Too Much Alcohol

drinking wine at home
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Drinking too much increases your risk of heart disease, respiratory infections, sepsis, and at least seven types of cancer. To avoid that, drink moderately—meaning no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women—or abstain.

RELATED: The Easiest Way to Live Longer, Says Science

5

Being Lonely

Sad blond woman watching through a window with a serious expression resting her chin on her hands as she leans on a wooden railing
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COVID has dominated the headlines for the last 18 months, but scientists say we're dealing with a simultaneous "silent epidemic:" Loneliness. Feeling lonely seems to induce a stress response that causes inflammation in the body, potentially impairing the heart, immune system and brain. Studies have found that people who report feeling lonely have a higher risk of cancer, and face a worse prognosis. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more
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