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Health Habits You Should Never Do After 55 According to Doctors

Stop these seven bad habits now, experts warn. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Healthy aging is vital for having a great quality of life as we get older. Breaking bad habits now can help us stay independent and healthy in our later years as well as reduce the risk of serious health issues such as cancer, health disease and more. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who share their tips for good health in our golden years and bad habits to stop after 55. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Smoking

Hand stubbed out cigarette in a transparent ashtray on wooden table
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Dr. Steve Hruby, a Doctor of Chiropractic and founder at Kaizen Progressive Health says, "A bad health habit that someone over 55 should stop doing is smoking. Smoking can lead to a lot of issues like lung disease, heart disease, and even cancer. It also causes wrinkles on your face as well as on your hands and feet. Smoking is not healthy for you in any way. If you want to get rid of the bad habit of smoking then it would be better if you quit now and enjoy life to the fullest."

2

Stop With So Much Screen Time

senior woman texting at home, using app to screen for Alzheimer's
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Dr. Waqas Mahmood with Healthwire states, "Due to social media platforms, everyone is attached to screens. People, whether they are younger oradults, tend to check their mobile screens before going to sleep and after waking up. Increased time spent on the screen not only affects the quality of sleep but also affects mental health.. Therefore, it is essential for people above 55 to spend as little time as possible on screens."

3

Drinking Your Calories

Woman pouring sugar into coffee
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Lindsay Tullis, CHC, Health Coach at Mighty Health tells us, "Too much alcohol and calorie dense sugary drinks can have a negative impact on cognitive function and overall health. As we age, our ability to process alcohol in the body is significantly reduced. The calories consumed from sodas and other sugary drinks provide the body with little to no nutritional value and aid in weight gain and other chronic conditions like depression, anxiety, weakened immune system and cancer. How to change this: Set limits for these items in a way that fits into your lifestyle. Opt for water flavored with lemon or other fruits and herbal teas for a refreshing taste without all the calories. Modify your environment to limit temptation and make sure you build a strong support network."

4

Isolating Yourself From Friends and Social Engagements

Thoughtful girl sitting on sill embracing knees looking at window, sad depressed teenager spending time alone at home, young upset pensive woman feeling lonely or frustrated thinking about problems
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Diane Lambert, M.Ed, NBC-HWC, Health Coach at Mighty Health states, "Studies have shown when we isolate ourselves from social events and friends on a regular basis, we become more vulnerable to diseases such as heart disease, depression and even increase our risk for cognitive decline. Being engaged with friends and community increases positive feelings and leads to better health outcomes. How to change this: Socialize regularly with friends and loved ones, join activity or support groups, or volunteer." 

5

Consuming Too Much Negative News

Tired senior hispanic man sleeping on dark blue couch, taking afternoon nap at the living room
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Lambert says, "Sadly, a lot of what is in the news these days is negative. When we expose ourselves to a lot of negativity, we increase our risk of suffering from anxiety, stress and depression. How to change this: Regulating yourself to only checking the news once a day can help you maintain a more positive attitude and prevent creating a situation of declining mental health. Judith Andersen, a health psychologist at the University of Toronto in Canada recommends confining yourself to well-established and credible news sources to avoid the risk of extreme or misleading news."

6

Not Protecting Your Hearing

Older woman or female pensioner with a hearing problem make a hearing test and may need a hearing aid, in the foreground is a model of a human ear

Lambert states, "Hearing loss does not just happen to people over 55. It can start very early even in the twenties. If you expose yourself to loud noise like playing music too loudly or working in a very noisy environment without ear protection, it's likely you are damaging your hearing. Once you lose any amount of hearing, it can't come back. It's estimated that about 48 million Americans have some form of hearing loss.

Ways to Protect Your Hearing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Turn the volume down.
  • Walk away from the loud noise.
  • Take breaks from the noise.
  • Avoid loud, noisy activities and places.
  • Use hearing protection."
7

Not Keeping a Consistent Bedtime Routine

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Tullis emphasizes, "Aging and sleep go hand in hand. Poor sleep can contribute to various problems associated with aging, reducing quality of life in people over 65. The National Sleep Foundation advises people over 65 to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. As we age, things like changes in medications, certain medical conditions, nighttime incontinence, and changes in lifestyle (retirement, schedule changes, etc.) can all contribute to poor sleep. That is why it is important to do what we can and stick to sleep hygiene strategies that can improve quality of sleep. How to change this: Exercise regularly, reduce bedtime distractions (TV, phone/tablet), introduce something relaxing to your bedtime routine, and avoid substances that disrupt sleep like alcohol and tobacco." 

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more
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