We all know about the bad health habits we have that can cause serious health problems – such as consuming junks, smoking, and living a sedentary lifestyle. But what about the ones that seem insignificant, yet the health risk they poise are more than expected? Here’s how to ditch them for good.
Below, I would be sharing some of these bad health habits, the health risk they poise, and ways to fix them.
Common Bad Health Habits, the Health Risk they poise and their Fix:
1. Poor Posture
You slouch without thinking about it, because it’s more comfortable than sitting or standing upright.
Its effects: Sitting in a slouched position for more than an hour can give you a tension headache. Your head weighs about 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) and if it’s not squarely above your shoulders, your neck muscles get overworked. That’s what causes painful tension headaches.
The fix: The key is switching your position. Shift your weight, lean back and even cross your legs. Then switch to sitting in a proper “back-friendly” position – shoulders back, chin tucked in and elbows relaxed at 90 degrees. Your forearms should be supported by arm-rests as you work. Use work-related activities – such as getting phone call or water breaks – as a cue that it’s time to change positions.
2. Getting Insufficient Sleep
Due to your very busy schedule, you often do not find time to (get enough) sleep.
Its Effects: Getting insufficient sleep is a serious health risk. A lack of sleep not only decreases your alertness and ability to focus, but also damages your health in a major way. Your body’s immune response plummets with sleep deprivation; your hormone levels increase, affecting appetite, weight distribution, food choices, and mood; and your circulation slows down, giving you those lovely wrinkles, dark circles, and bags under your eye.
The fix: Try making a commitment to get more sleep. Sleep can be like a diet—you really have to want it and work for it to get it. Then look for common sleep thieves: caffeine and light. Avoid caffeine for 8 hours before your bedtime, and block out excess light and sound from your bedroom.
3. Falling Asleep on the Couch
After a busy day, falling asleep in front of the TV can be tempting.
Its effects: The best rest comes from sleep that is uninterrupted for seven to eight hours, and is in a dark, quiet place, according to Better Sleep Council Canada, a nonprofit organization that educates the public about good sleep health. Regularly drifting off on the couch with a TV in the background, then moving to your bed, keeps you from getting a solid block of Z’s. It can also throw off your hormones and metabolism, leading to weight gain and an immune system that is less able to ward off disease.
The fix: To get uninterrupted sleep, turn off the TV one hour before you head to bed, and give yourself some downtime: talk about the day with your family, listen to music or go for a walk with your spouse.
4. Wearing the Wrong Shoes
Many women go to work in high heels, believing that fashion trumps comfort.
Its effects: Even if you don’t feel any pain, walking long distances in high heels can have negative long-term effects on your feet and back. Wearing heels accentuates the curve in your back, requiring those muscles to work harder. This causes muscle strain, which can easily lead to lower back pain. Worse, continually wearing and walking in high heels can cause long-term damage to your feet and ankles, which are strained when your heel is unnaturally higher than your foot. “The number of women who come in with plantar fasciitis [a condition characterized by painful tearing of the muscles on the bottom of the foot] is surprisingly high,” and this could be caused by regular wearing of heeled shoes.
The fix: Wear flat, comfortable shoes for the commute and carry your heels to the office. Save your killer heels for meetings and presentations.
5. Weighing Yourself Too Often
The bathroom scale can tempt you daily, especially if you’re trying to shed weight in time for bathing suit season.
Its effects: The number on the scale is exactly that—just a number. It doesn’t reflect how healthy you are or how much of your weight is lean muscle. Associating a number with your well-being isn’t a healthy or practical approach. “You can get obsessed and caught up in a numbers game,” “but following good nutrition – not a number on your scale – is most important.” It is recommended that you think about how healthy you feel, and how you look (the fit of your clothes is a good indicator) instead of staring down at the scale every day.
The fix: Store the scale out of sight and take it out once a week, at most. If you’re losing weight the healthy way – by cutting a maximum of 500 calories a day – then take comfort in knowing that you’re losing about a pound a week, and leave the scale alone.
6. Putting Your Health Last
Due to your busy schedule and other reasons, you neglect certain health issues and move on with life.
Its effects: Detecting health problems before they turn deadly is crucial: Survival rates for breast cancer, for example, are close to 100% when it’s found in the early stages, but they drop to 20% when the cancer is detected in the last stages.
Common ailments whose symptoms start out fairly tame can turn serious without proper treatment.
The fix: Schedule a checkup with your doctor to create a health plan. Discuss which screening tests you need and when, changes you should make to your diet or exercise regimen, and any vitamins or supplements you should take.
7. Heading to Bed Without Brushing Your Teeth
By the end of the day, you’re exhausted. Your bed is calling and you rationalize that you’ll brush your teeth in the morning. Most times, it doesn’t even come to your mind.
Its effects: By not brushing at night, you risk affecting other areas of your health. Plaque buildup causes gum disease – which can lead to a risk of more serious conditions, such as diabetes and stroke.
The fix: Brush right after dinner. You’ll have clean teeth before your bed calls – and you’ll likely snack less in the evening.
Which of these habits are you fond of? Having known the health risk which these bad health habits poise, I think its high time you ditched them and gave your health a boost.
Check here for more common bad health habits and why you need to ditch them.