It may seem that your health habits reveal only basic traits about you. For example, if you hit the gym every day, you may think you’re a fitness nut. Or if you exercise some but not as much as you’d like, you may think you lack motivation.
Those things may be true, but the reality is your personal health habits can tell you so much more about your personality — and in some cases more than you may want to know.
Here is a quick breakdown of what your health and eating habits may reveal about you, as well as some tips on how to develop better habits to begin with.
Habit #1: You Eat Quickly
What it might mean: Food-ology expert Juliet A Boghossian says eating your food quickly may signal unbalance in your priorities. That may not always be a bad thing, since fast eaters often tend to put other things before themselves. It can also mean that you’re very productive and like to get things done.
How to improve: Slow down. At the same time, it’s a bit of a fine line, and you may not want to go too slow. While slower eating may indicate that you’re making a point of savoring your food, it also means you’re more likely to put yourself and your needs before anyone else’s.
Habit #2: You Only Use the Treadmill at the Gym
What it might mean: If you tend to only stick with the treadmill when you go to the gym, it may mean you’re noncommittal, according to author and ISSA director of wellness John Rowley. Running isn’t a bad thing of course — it can give you the so-called “runner’s high” and can help you burn calories. But excluding other workouts may place a cap on your results.
How to improve: Add other workouts to your routine. Rowley says that those who stick to weight machines enjoy being in their comfort zone, while those who concentrate more on free weights tend to be more serious about getting results. As always, it comes down to what feels best for you, but a bit of mixing and matching is probably the best bet.
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Habit #3: You Value Your Immune System
What it might mean: If you have a strong immune system, you’re more likely to be an extravert. A weaker immune system, on the other hand, may indicate that you’re a more conscientious person. That’s according to research from health psychologists at The University of Nottingham and the University of California in Los Angeles.
How to improve: This one is tricky, because it can be difficult for conscientious people to suddenly become extraverts, while it also may be hard for extraverts to become more conscientious. In this case, the best option may be to try to utilize a healthy mix of both personality traits.
In the end, more research is needed to see if personality traits affect the immune system, or if your immune system helps define your personality. As lead researcher Kavita Vedhara of The University of Nottingham’s School of Medicine asks, “Is this our biology determining our psychology or our psychology determining our biology?”
Habit #4: You Stay Away From Fruits or Vegetables
What it might mean: Greater fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with openness and extraversion, according to a study from the University of Otago in New Zealand. On the flip side, the research found that conscientiousness was a weaker predictor of fruit and vegetable consumption.
How to improve: This may seem obvious, but eat more fruits and vegetables. The study’s author, Tamlin S. Conner, says if you want to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, you should try to embrace the qualities associated with openness. This means being more curious and adventurous when it comes to plant-based foods, and developing a palate that goes well beyond simple white potatoes.
Habit #5: You Take Quick Showers
What it might mean: If you find yourself rushing and taking a quick shower more often than not, it may mean you haven’t given yourself enough time to get other things done. This doesn’t necessarily indicate you aren’t on top of things, however. Taking quick showers can also show that you’re more concerned with things other than yourself.
How to improve: Work the occasional luxurious bath into your routine. Those who take long baths tend to be less stressed, and it shows that they enjoy some of the simple things in life. A little soaking time in the tub is helpful if you tend to be high strung.
In the end, the way health habits relate to your personality can be a chicken-and-egg quandary. Do you act a certain way because of your health habits, or are those habits a result of your personality?
The most likely answer is somewhere in between. But if you’re not in love with some of your personality traits, it won’t hurt to see if changing up your habits when it comes to health can give you a boost.
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