Late nights, snacking between meals and taking the car when you could walk they might not sound like a big deal, but breaking those bad habits can result in a healthier, happier you. Here's how...
Habit: Long days at the office
Sitting at a desk all day is bad news for bodies the longer we stay stationary and in one position the more fat we store. And how many times have you found yourself slouched in front of a computer with your legs crossed? Poor desk posture can lead to neck pain, lower-back problems and mid-day fatigue.
Eating lunch at your desk and working overtime are sometimes unavoidable, but it is important to strike a healthy work-life balance. A survey conducted earlier this year by Regus found that, of the 12,000 white-collar Australian workers interviewed, 49 percent spent between nine and 11 hours in the office a day.
Health overhaul: Set an alarm to remind you to take regular breaks, even if it is walking to the water cooler and back it is important to give your eyes a break from the screen and loosen your limbs. Ask human resources for an ergonomic review of your worksite and find a chair and desk height that works for you.
Habit: One late night after another
Whether you're out bar-hopping with the girls or watching DVDs into the early hours of the morning, not getting enough sleep is detrimental to the way your brain and body function often resulting in reduced short-term memory and decreased energy levels. It also affects the immune system, respiratory system and increases hunger, which can lead to obesity problems.
Health overhaul: Chair of Bupa Australia's Medical Advisory Panel Dr Christine Bennett, says: "People tend to forget that sleep is the third dimension of health and wellbeing after exercise and diet."
You don't have to put a stop to your social life, but try to get to bed 30 minutes earlier than you would do usually you'll soon adapt to your new routine. Eliminating pre-bedtime caffeine and alcohol will also help you get an untroubled eight-hour sleep.
Your body can process 50 percent of a cup of coffee in six hours, and the alcohol from a glass of wine in around an hour so make you sure you stop drinking either well before lights out.
Habit: Pigging out at mealtimes
You might have grown up in a house where finishing everything on your dinner plate was vigorously encouraged, but eating too many calories and not burning enough of them off through activity can lead to weight gain.
And it's not just how much you eat, but what you eat. If you are skipping breakfast then running around grabbing fast-food meals and sugar-loaded snacks to get you through the day you can be sure those bad habits will catch up with your waistline.
Health overhaul: Simple swap to a smaller plate when eating in, and order entrée sizes when eating out. Take time to savour each mouthful, remember to come up for air and listen to your tummy when it feels full, stop eating.
Poor planning often leads to unhealthy eating, so think about the week ahead and what you are going to eat and always carry healthy snacks for afternoon slumps such as fresh fruit and nuts. Eat a healthy, balanced breakfast to see you through the day.
Habit: Skipping your weekly aerobics class
We all know exercise is good for us, improving circulation, releasing feel-good chemicals, increasing bone strength the list goes on and on. But despite your best efforts, you can't seem to stick to your exercise routine. Getting up early is a struggle, and at night you'd rather hang out with friends.
Health overhaul: Who says being active has to be hard work? Find ways of adding a mini workout to your everyday life. Jog some of the way to work, go for a power walk with your mates, play fetch with your neighbour's dog. Experts at the American Heart Association have found that raising your heart rate for 30 minutes a day, five days week, results in physiological benefits and improved health.
For more ideas on making changes to your health in 2012, visit www.myspecialk.com.au.