Last month we let you know of 10 unhealthy habits you may be doing that you didn’t even know were bad for you! Here’s 10 more health mistakes you might not know about…
1. Wearing high heels. While undoubtedly fashionable, high heels create stress on your body that continues even when you’re no longer wearing them, including the narrowing of disc space in your lower back, sciatica, shortening of your calf muscles, and plantar fasciitis. Skip the heels, shop for a fashionable pair of flats instead.
2. Sitting on your wallet. This is yet another example of something common causing improper posture, and the pain that goes along with it. Sitting on your wallet causes an uneven alignment of your pelvis, which in turn causes back and neck pain. It can also irritate your nerves and glute muscles, causing sciatica-like pain in your legs. Simply remove your wallet from your back pocket before you sit down.
3. Reusing water bottles (without washing them first). Drinking water is great for your health, and reusing bottles is great for the environment; but failing to wash your water bottles is a great way to grow and ingest dangerous bacteria.
4. Loading up on over-the-counter pain medication. Just because it’s available over the counter doesn’t mean it’s safe to keep popping Tylenol like you would a breath mint. Overdoses can and do happen; even when they’re not fatal, various pain medication overdoses can cause liver, stomach, and other problems with your organs. Don’t go over the recommended dosage.
5. Lying on your health history forms. Whether it’s purposeful omission of the prescriptions you’re taking, or assuming that the surgery you had last year isn’t pertinent to the health professional you’re seeing, you may not always be aware of the contraindications related to that specific drug or illness or surgery. Omitting that information doesn’t get you the best treatment, and may even put you in danger. Better to give your health professional more information than they need over risking your health because of something that was missed.
6. Assuming an “all natural” label means “healthy”. As long as the product doesn’t contain added color, artificial flavor, or synthetic substances, the FDA will allow packaging to use the term “natural”, which are very loose guidelines. Remember to read the ingredients yourself to help determine whether or not those seem very natural.
7. Stretching before exercise. Forcing yourself into the deepest stretch you can manage before your muscles are warmed up is a great way to injure yourself. Wait until after your workout to keep yourself limber.
8. Sporadically exercising. If your idea for fitness is to work out for two to three hours once a week just to “get it out of the way”, you are more likely to injure yourself, and less likely to keep up with the routine. Studies actually show that regularly incorporating small amounts of more exercise into your daily routine (parking farther away, taking the stairs, or biking to work) is more important for your health than the occasional one-off workout. Start looking for ways to improve your health that are easier to commit to.
9. Sitting. Most everyone these days spends most of their time sitting: at work, in the car, on the couch. Sitting more than six hours a day increases the likelihood you’ll die within 15 years by 40%. So aim to get up out of your chair at least every hour; or even better, try getting a standing desk.
10. Leaving the lights on at night. Most adults no longer need a nightlight to sleep, but there are plenty of other lights in your room. There’s the standby light on your television, your blinking alarm clock, the charging LED on your phone…and all of these have a cumulative effect on your health. The darker your room is, the better your brain rests and produces melatonin. Too much light causes poorer sleep quality, which in turn can side effects like depression, weaker immune systems, and high blood pressure. Use stickers to cover up the standby and charging lights you don’t actually need.