St. Mark's Hospital - April 22, 2019

We all have bad habits—whether we like to admit it or not—and some of these can wreak havoc on our bodies and speed up aging. Read on to discover how altering certain habits can help you feel young longer.

Bad: Not sleeping enough.

Too little shut-eye increases your risk for weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Sleep deprivation also decreases quality of life.

Good: Sleep seven to eight hours each night. If you have trouble sleeping, make your bedroom more sleep-friendly by investing in a comfortable mattress, keeping the temperature cool and banning electronics. Consistently following a relaxing bedtime routine also helps.

Bad: Being a couch potato.

Binge-watching old episodes of "Parks and Recreation" on Netflix may boost your mood, but too much lounging on the couch can lead to weaker muscles and bones, weight gain and hormonal imbalances.

Good: Exercise at least 30 minutes a day four to five days a week. And make an effort to move more throughout the day.

Bad: Stressing over everything.

An occasional jolt of stress can motivate you to finish a project. But chronic stress can lead to anxiety, depression, digestive problems, headaches and other health issues.

Good: Practice meditation. Meditating regularly helps control anxiety and boosts emotional health. Exercises like yoga or tai chi may also ease stress.

Bad: Eating too much processed food.

Many packaged foods on grocery store shelves contain too much sugar, sodium or fat, as well as artificial additives and preservatives. Chowing down on lots of convenience foods is linked to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and other health problems.

Good: Spend more of your food budget in the produce section. Eating lots of fruits and veggies provides fiber and key nutrients the body needs to function well.