The 7 Deadly Health Sins

These major health compromisers should be avoided at all costs

Not surprisingly, smoking is one of the worst habits you can have

Want to live a longer, more vibrant life? Avoid these seven unhealthy lifestyle choices

When it comes to our health, many of us are our own worst enemy.

Every time we opt for the comfortable, convenient or habitual choice over the best one – from skipping a walk to neglecting to floss to mindless eating – we are choosing to live a little less well and a little less long.

There are basically seven leading ways we tend to compromise our health. How many of these deadly health sins do you commit?

The Seven Deadly Health Sins

  • Smoking – More than 37,000 Canadians die each year from cancer, heart disease or respiratory illnesses caused by cigarette smoke. If you want to be healthier, stop smoking.
  • Obesity – Poor diet and lack of exercise have created an epidemic of obesity. Those extra pounds contribute to diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke and many other diseases. Losing excess weight is a matter of life, not looks.
  • Inactivity – A sedentary lifestyle is the most common risk factor for heart disease and stroke. An astonishing 85% of Canadians do not get the recommended 150 minutes a week of exercise. Time to get up and start moving.
  • Stress – Persistent anxiety floods the body with harmful hormones, leading to inflammation, depression, weakened immune response and even cognitive decline. Lifestyle changes, human connections and relaxation techniques can help you get control over your stress.
  • Substance Abuse – Drinking too much or too frequently, abusing prescription medications or using illegal drugs cause a host of negative health effects. What’s more, they affect your decision-making process, leading you into more harmful lifestyle decisions. If you’ve got an addiction, see your doctor.
  • Inconsistent Hygiene – Washing your hands frequently cuts your risk of contracting a virus or infection, and of passing one on at home or work. Your sexual hygiene is important too. Unprotected sex can expose you to serious and even deadly sexually transmitted infections.
  • Procrastination – This is the deadliest habit, sustaining all the other health sins. Every moment is an opportunity to make a different and better choice, so do one small thing to combat your worst health habit right now.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.