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Stop Doing This Every Day and Extend Your Life by Years

Expert explains five bad habits that we should stop now if we want to live a longer life. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The average life expectancy is 77-years-old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but living a quality longer life is very attainable if you are committed to making healthy lifestyle choices. Bad habits can take years off our lifespan and Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, MBBS, Ph.D., a professor of public health at New Mexico State University tells us five things we have to stop doing if we want to live a longer and healthier life. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Sitting or Sleeping for Long Hours


Dr. Khubchandani reveals, "People live more sedentary lives today than before the pandemic. The latest American Time Use Surveys indicate that we are spending more time sitting. People are having desk lunch, working from office settings, watching TV, using mass and social media for recreation. Recent studies have shown that excessive sitting for longer durations is associated with higher death rates possibly due to lower physical activity, hormonal changes, and association of sitting with many unhealthy activities (e.g. snacking). Such behaviors increase the risk of heart disease and cancers (the leading causes of death)."


Eating Too Much and Unhealthy Foods

Man eating pizza having a takeaway at home relaxing resting

Dr. Khubchandanisays, "Food is medicine, but we also tend to use food to cope with stress or to socialize or to celebrate. Daily doses of too much food, snacks, starchy, salty foods are like subtle insults to the body that result in long term problems such as obesity and poor blood sugar control. As a result, individuals can have diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, and cancers. The common daily culprits are sweetened beverages, chips, cakes, cookies, and several breakfast items."


Stress and Isolation

man stressed on couch

"Both stress and isolation are silent killers," Dr. Khubchandani reminds us. "Individuals who cannot manage or cope with stress on a daily basis, remain isolated or have consistent boredom, remain pessimistic may eventually develop coronary artery disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and a variety of other physical health problems.  Every day, one should have a life plan, a schedule, stress management techniques incorporated in routines, time cut out for socializing and meeting family and friends, and exercise."


ATOD Use (Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs)

drinking alcohol

Dr. Khubchandani says, "Hundreds of new smokers start smoking every week in the U.S. with more than a tenth of the adults being regular smokers. Also, more than half of the U.S. adults have used alcoholic drinks in the past week. We have an ever-growing pool of drug users and many end up dying of overdoses every week. Even if people believe they are not at risk or are socially experimenting, the long-term potential of addiction and health risks is well established. Today, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Alcohol use is associated with heart disease, stroke, and accidents, just to name a few. Every time one uses tobacco or other drugs, there is insult to the lungs, heart, and brain. The chronic insults then culminate in heart attacks, strokes, and cancers."


Back to Basics- Sleep, Exercise, Fruits, and Vegetables


Dr. Khubchandani states, "Our lifestyles can be our saviors or killers. Since ages, we have known about the benefits of sleep, exercise, and fruits and vegetables. CDC has recommendations for the quantity and quality of all these behaviors. Getting these in adequate amounts daily as per recommendations is a sure shot way to live a healthy, disability free, and quality life. There are simple rules; for sleep, adults should get 7-8 hours of sleep daily; for exercise, 150 minutes every week; for fruits and vegetables, 4-5 servings daily. Bringing these modest changes in our daily life does not even prevent major causes of death and disability, our routines improve and we do not age faster. "

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 about Heather
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