5 Unhealthy Habits That Are Just as Bad as Smoking

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 07: A view of Diet Coke during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2014 at Lincoln Center on February 7, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/Getty Images for Diet Coke)
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We all have our fair share of bad habits we’re not proud of. Whether it’s not making it to the gym as much as we promised ourselves, or straying from our healthy diet much more than we’d like to admit, everyone has something they could add to their New Year's resolution. Although we were all taught growing up how bad smoking is for you, not all of us are aware of other habits that are bad for our health as well.

Surprisingly, there are certain everyday activities that are just as bad for you as smoking. To help you live the happiest and healthiest life, we’ve come up with a list of unhealthy bad habits to kick to the curb. Because who doesn’t want to live to be 100?!

Sitting All Day

Many of us sit at our desks all day or spend too much time on the couch watching television, but being sedentary can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even depression. Studies have shown that sitting for prolonged periods of time increases your chances of premature death, and this still holds true even for people who exercise. If you find that you’re seated for most of the day, try to get up periodically, even if it’s just to grab a quick glass of water or take a quick stroll during lunch. 

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Drinking Soda

It can be hard to put down your daily Coca-Cola, but studies have shown that regularly consuming sugary drinks greatly increases your chance of cardiovascular disease, even if you aren’t overweight. Excess sugar also increases your risk of diabetes, mental illness, and fatty liver problems, and it also can cause high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. If you love the taste carbonated sweetness, try making your own soda at home using fruit juice or natural sweeteners. 

Not Sleeping Enough

In this day and age, we are so busy that many of us forgo sleep for work or social activities. Getting too little shut-eye can cause obesity and high blood pressure, and it can even cause brain damage. Chronic sleep deprivation releases the stress hormone cortisol, and high levels of the hormone are linked to increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Try to prioritize sleep by adding in an extra hour per night, or if you don’t have the time, sneak in a quick 20 minute power nap to reboost your energy levels. 

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Tanning Beds

It can be tempting to get that bronzed summer tan all year-round, but like cigarette smoking, indoor tanning greatly increases your risk of getting cancer. Those who use indoor tanning beds before age 30 increase their risk of melanoma by 75 percent, and studies found more than 400,000 cases of skin cancer may be related to indoor tanning each year.

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Eating Too Much Meat

Although it might be hard to imagine a cheeseburger being as dangerous for you as a cigarette, research has found that those who eat a diet high in animal protein are four times more likely to die of cancer than those who eat a more plant-based diet, which is a statistic comparable to that of smoking. Ease out of your meat-heavy diet by starting with Meatless Mondays — even that one day will help make a difference.

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