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Wellness

These “Bad” Habits Are Actually Good for You, Say Scientists

Don't feel guilty about sleeping in or skipping an intense workout.

You probably keep habits like sleeping in, skipping exercise, and procrastinating to a minimum as they can cause you to become less productive. However, new research is proving that these so-called ‘bad’ habits are actually the secret to staying healthy, happy, and energized on a daily basis. So if you’re looking to feel your best all winter long, continue doing these six habits.

Sip your way to a sharper memory.

Been trying to cut back on coffee or tea? No need! Drinking both will keep your brain young and your memory sharp. The brews are packed with phenolics and flavonoids that keep blood vessels and nerves in the brain healthy and strong. And a study in the journal PLOS Medicine suggests enjoying two to three cups of each daily can cut the risk of memory lapses and dementia by up to 68 percent.

Speed weight loss by skipping workouts.

No need to hit the gym for hours to melt pounds. Mayo Clinic scientists say just moving a little bit more as you go about your day can prevent holiday weight gain (even if you indulge in an extra 1,000 calories at family gatherings!). Plus, it helps you shed up to 3 pounds a month. Gentle muscle movements burn stored fat without increasing the production of diet-sabotaging hunger hormones. Tip: Meandering through the mall or standing while wrapping gifts both count!

Outsmart colds by procrastinating.

Giving yourself permission to put aside your long to-do list for at least 30 minutes each day so you can relax could cut your risk of winter illnesses in half. Plus, it’ll help you recover 50 percent faster if you do pick up a virus, reveal Carnegie Mellon University investigators. That’s because a daily dose of guilt-free R&R slashes the production of the immunity-weakening stress hormone cortisol by as much as 80 percent.

Diminish discomfort with your favorite holiday flick.

Permission to put your feet up and enjoy your favorite shows or holiday movies! Watching TV is one of the most popular ways to unwind, and Wake Forest University research suggests ending busy days with happy “downtime” tames body-wide aches faster and more effectively than OTC meds. These mini breaks prompt the release of pain-killing endogenous opioids.

Boost productivity with Saturday sleep-ins.

You know you feel perkier after sleeping in, and now researchers at San José State University say starting a busy day well-rested boosts focus and productivity by up to 60 percent. Extra Zzz’s switch off your brain’s production of the grogginess compound adenosine, letting you power through last-minute holiday to-do’s with ease.

Restore calm by eating cheese.

Say goodbye to rubbery cheese and watery milk! A review of 65 studies in the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience suggests enjoying one or two servings of full-fat dairy daily (regular or lactose-free) cuts the risk of chronic stress in half. Full-fat dairy’s transpalmitoleic acid prevents anxiety-triggering blood sugar lows.

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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