Many of us took our bodies for granted in our younger years. Smoking, drinking, eating junk food, getting little-to-no sleep, all seemed like a right of passage. Now that we are older and wiser, we know we should change our habits. But does it make a difference? YES, it really does and every little bit helps!
Women’s Health magazine shared interesting research findings completed in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study:
Researchers took a look at the lifestyle habits of 5,115 participants in the CARDIA study, a long-term study that examined young adults between 18 and 30 and then reexamined them 20 years later. The healthy habits the research team singled out were being at a healthy weight, being a nonsmoker, getting regular physical activity, having a low alcohol intake, and eating a healthy diet.
At the start of the study, when the participants were the youngest, less than 10 percent reported all of the healthy behaviors. But 20 years later, about 25 percent of the participants had added at least one healthy habit. Each additional good-for-you habit was associated with a lower likelihood of coronary artery calcification and thickening—two indications of heart disease. On the flip side, the researchers discovered that study subjects who racked up more bad habits (as 40 percent of the participants did) were more likely to show signs of heart disease.
The study results suggest two things. First, it’s not too late for most adults to give up excess drinking, smoking, or other unhealthy habits; doing so even moderately will score you benefits. In particular, ditching cigarettes and maintaining a healthy weight appeared to have the most impact on decreasing heart disease risk, the researchers wrote. Plus, it demonstrates that adult behavior can change, and that there are actionable steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Women’s Health Magazine
Why It’s Never Too Late To Get Healthy
by Esther Crain