If you’re over 40, here are some of the most common unhealthy habits that might be harming your golden years. If you already suffer from any of these issues, see your doctor immediately to prevent further damage and to develop the best treatment plan possible for your specific condition.
If you’re over 50, there’s a good chance that you used to smoke or that you still do. Quitting in your 50s (or 60s) can give your body much-needed time to recover from years of exposure to toxic chemicals in cigarettes. If quitting cold turkey isn’t possible—try cutting back before ending your habit for good. This is because long-term tobacco use shrinks blood vessels and negatively impacts cardiovascular health—but if it’s been more than a decade since you’ve last smoked, your arteries will have had enough time to heal and recover some elasticity. Getting regular exercise will also help combat any of these effects.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption
What happens if you drink too much? Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to alcoholic liver disease, which can damage your liver permanently. Keep your drinking under control by limiting yourself to one alcoholic beverage per day, and avoid binge drinking. When you feel like you’ve had enough, stop! If you find that you are regularly overdoing it at parties or other social gatherings, plan by bringing your non-alcoholic beverage with you.
Making Unhealthy Food Choices
If you’re struggling with weight gain, take a look at what you’re eating. Many of us eat food simply because it tastes good, and we don’t realize that we might be consuming hundreds of calories just in one meal. The next time you’re planning on making dinner, use a calorie counter to get an idea of how many calories are in your favorite dishes. You might find that your favorite foods aren’t such healthy choices after all.
Overdependence on Painkillers
There are numerous drugs available to help ease our aches and pains, but we shouldn’t let them take over our lives. A recent study by Johns Hopkins University found that people taking opiate-based painkillers (which include both prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone and illegal drugs like heroin) were more likely to suffer from heart attack attacks than those not using such medication. While it’s crucial for those who suffer from chronic pain to seek treatment for their issues, it’s also crucial to stick with a plan to reduce or eliminate reliance on such medications. You can always talk with your doctor about tapering off medications.
Leading a Sedentary Life
Many loved ones spend seven hours a day in front of a TV, computer, or other electronic devices. As they age, their ability to absorb oxygen in their lungs diminishes. Being sedentary can have serious consequences when it comes to your heart health. It’s also easier to gain weight when you’re inactive because your metabolism slows down when you’re not moving around. Exercise is critical for maintaining your physical health, so try getting in some walking daily, even if it’s just around your neighborhood or in an indoor shopping mall. You might be surprised at how much energy you have by doing so!