(CARLSBAD, CA) – Breaking bad habits. It’s easier said than done. Whether it’s nail biting, teeth grinding, or throat clearing, most of us have an annoying habit that we’d like to ditch. And in some cases, ditching bad habits may have a remarkable affect on our overall health and well-being.
A groundbreaking study just published in the Archives of Internal Medicine documents how individuals with healthy lifestyle behaviors look and feel 12 years younger. On the flip side, individuals with four bad habits – excessive drinking, smoking, physical inactivity, and poor diet – possess the qualities of someone 12 years older.
The study, which followed 4,886 British adults over 20 years, defines “bad habits” as drinking more than two alcoholic beverages daily, smoking tobacco, getting less than two weekly hours of exercise, and eating fewer than three daily fruits and vegetables. Sadly, 29 percent of the adults who engaged in all four poor behaviors actually passed away during the course of the study.
Yet, individuals who abstained from those four bad habits seemed to have found the fountain of youth. Or at least they found the key to feeling and looking 12 years younger! And the encouraging news is that these individuals weren’t running Olympic-length marathons or choking down spinach smoothies.
There’s no need to make drastic lifestyle changes in the next twenty minutes. But, if you are ready to jump on the healthy lifestyle bandwagon and put a new spring in your step, Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett has a few suggestions for you.
1. Start Small – Don’t try to change everything overnight. Simply add one additional fruit to your daily diet. Cut out one glass of wine on the weekend. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Small changes will eventually add up to big results.
2. Get Help – When it comes to deeply entrenched habits, such as smoking, talk to your doctor for help. Your co-worker may have been able to quit cold turkey, but there’s nothing wrong with seeking some professional assistance.
3. Track Your Progress – Write down how many vegetables you eat per day. Log the minutes that you walk on the treadmill. You will be encouraged as you see the differences over time.
4. Reward Yourself – Breaking bad habits is not a small feat. Reward yourself for your accomplishments. If you meet your goal of completing four workouts in a week, then treat yourself to a pedicure. If you eat five servings of fruits and veggies every day for a month, then snatch-up that handbag that you’ve been eyeing in the department store window.
5. Keep Your Eye on the Prize – During those moments when you simply want to throw in the towel, focus on the end result of your efforts. Think about what you have to gain by sticking with your goal.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,800 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.