10 surprising benefits of kicking your bad habits
Surprising benefit 1: Quitting smoking will improve your memory
There are many advantages to quitting smoking, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer and younger looking skin, however a less well known benefit of going smoke-free is that it can improve your memory. According to a study by Northumbria University, smoking causes individuals to lose one third of their everyday memory, with smokers performing significantly worse in memory tests. However, the researchers also found that kicking the habit restored the ability to recollect information – a great incentive to quit.
We all know that sugar is bad for our health, but research suggests it may also be making us stupid. Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles found that when rats were fed a diet containing high-fructose corn syrup they were less able to remember their way through a maze they had been trained to navigate, as the sugar disrupted their ability to think clearly and recall information. According to the researchers, a high sugar diet could have similar effects on human brains, altering our ability to learn and remember information.
Surprising benefit 3: Switching off the TV could lengthen your lifespan
Spending hours in front of the television is not only bad for your waistline, research also suggests it can shorten your lifespan. Researchers from the University of Queensland found that for every hour you watch TV you may shorten your life by as much 22 minutes! With many of us spending a number of hours each day in front of the box, giving up your TV habit could mean adding precious months or even years on to your life.
Surprising benefit 4: Cutting down on sweet treats helps keep you wrinkle-free
You may stock up on anti-ageing creams and slather on the sunscreen, but you could still be inadvertently indulging on a major cause of skin ageing: sugar. Yes, sadly our favourite sweet treats are up there with sun exposure and smoking when it comes to causing wrinkles. When blood sugar levels are high, a process called glycation occurs which damages the collagen in your skin. Once damaged, the normally springy collagen hardens, leading to wrinkles and sagging. Rather than wasting money on expensive skin creams, keep your skin looking youthful by cutting out sugar.
Surprising benefit 5: Overcoming stress cuts your risk of dementia
Worrying is a natural part of life for most of us, however if you find yourself frequently sweating the small stuff and dwelling on problems you can do nothing about, it may be time to ditch your bad habit. A study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that those people more prone to negative emotions such as worry and anger were at higher risk of dementia. So, overcoming your worries through counselling or relaxation techniques will not only improve the quality of your life, it could also improve your brain health.
Surprising benefit 6: Quitting alcohol could save you a five figure sum
We all know about the health benefits of giving up alcohol, but becoming tee total could be just as beneficial for your financial wellbeing. Studies across the world have estimated the shocking costs of alcohol on our bank balances, with research suggesting that the average American spends $100 a month in bars and liquor stores, a typical Australian spends $1612 per year on alcohol and the average Brit spends a total of £58,201 on alcohol in their lifetime! Thinking of all the things you could buy with that money instead is great motivation to quit.
Cakes, doughnuts, burgers, pizza... Many of us wonder how we would cope without them. However, if you are thinking of jumping on the healthy eating wagon, spur yourself on with the thought of this unexpected perk: ditching junk food may actually make you happier. While your favourite treat may cheer you up short term, recent research results published in the Public Health Nutrition journal reveal that regular consumers of fast food are 51 per cent more likely to develop depression. Swap that pizza for a healthy salad and shake off the fast food blues.
Surprising benefit 8: Resisting late nights keeps you slim
Want to lose weight with minimal effort? The good news is getting more sleep could help. Many of us fall into the habit of prioritising daily tasks and errands over sleep, or staying up late watching movies or chatting with friends, however research suggests that getting an early night could help to keep you slim. Research by a team at the University of Washington found that getting less than seven hours sleep a night was linked to a higher body weight. They also found that the longer you sleep, the less impact the obesity gene has on a person’s weight.
Surprising benefit 9: Getting active helps you to achieve your goals
If you’re struggling to swap your TV habit for workouts, bear in mind that getting active doesn’t just improve your body and health, it can also help you to achieve your goals. A study of people training for a marathon in New York found that regular exercise improves people’s goal-setting, organisation and discipline – both at work and in other areas of life. Kicking your laziness habit could also help you to ditch other vices; a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that smokers who exercised were twice as likely to quit and stay cigarette free than those who didn’t do any exercise.
Surprising benefit 10: Quitting Facebook could help your career
Social media sites have become a bad habit for many of us, with them being a major source of procrastination. However, studies suggest that keeping your Facebook habit under control could help you to bag your dream job. A study conducted by Career Builder found that 37 per cent of hiring managers from various industries checked prospective employees’ social media pages before offering them the job, and one third of these had been put off from hiring candidates by things such as inappropriate photos and “poor communication skills” displayed on these pages.
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