We’re all guilty of some of these.
Living a healthy lifestyle is pretty much a prerequisite of adulting.
But while we’re all striving to get healthier, it’s pretty hard to get it 100 per cent right every day, with unhealthy options lurking around every corner – whether it’s bad food choices, alcohol, or skipping the gym because it’s raining/you’re tired/Netflix exists.
Of course, we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves; the odd unhealthy splurge won’t undo a week of clean eating, but what will, are the seemingly innocent health mistakes most of us are unwittingly making on a regular basis.
So if you’ve been feeling unwell or haven’t reached your fitness goals despite trying your hardest and seemingly living healthily, you may be falling into one or more of these eight health traps every day…
1. Ignoring nature’s call
When we’re busy, it can be easy to forget everything around us; but holding in your pee and ignoring your full bladder to finish off that project can spell bad news for your urinary health.
Besides being very uncomfortable, not relieving yourself can cause your bladder to stretch, creating the perfect environment for bacteria, which in turn can cause a kidney infection.
According to assistant professor of urology at NYU School Of Medicine, Benjamin Brucker, waiting too long to go to the bathroom also increases the risk for a UTI, as bacteria is more likely to make its way into the urinary tract. And ignoring a number two is no better than holding in your pee, as delayed bowel emptying can lead to constipation and bloating. So long story short; always make time for a bathroom break. That project can wait five minutes, but your health can’t.
2. Opting for diet products
The age-old debate over fat versus sugar has been dividing people for decades, but with increasing research, and according to the American Heart Association, there seems to be an overall agreement that eating more than six to nine teaspoons of sugar a day is extremely bad for our health.
The problem is sugar is hidden in many seemingly healthy foods, especially diet products, as the fat that’s taken away from most ‘low fat’ and ‘fat-free’ foods is typically substituted with sweeteners to make up for the loss of taste when reducing fats.
So whenever you’re reaching for a seemingly healthy ‘diet’ product at the supermarket, check the sugar content on the nutrition label – you’ll most likely be shocked to see more than half of the recommended daily amount can easily be found in a tiny cup of yoghurt, most pasta sauces, and even fat-free salad dressings.
It’s no secret office jobs are extremely bad for our health, as we tend to sit down staring at a screen all day.
Getting up regularly and doing some quick but effective exercises at your desk helps, but if your posture is bad while you’re sitting down, you might still end up with severe back and neck problems down the track.
A study by San Francisco State University found slouching can even affect your energy levels and lead to feelings of depression.
To avoid slouching, you should ensure your back is straight and your neck is sitting in line with your spine when you’re sitting at your desk. Your body, and your brain, will thank you.
4. Having tuna salad for lunch every day
Tuna is tasty, healthy, and super convenient for work lunches, we get it. However, like most fish, every can of tuna includes a small amount of mercury, a toxin that can wreak havoc in the brain, lungs and kidneys.
While eating tuna a few times a week is considered safe, young or very thin people should avoid eating it daily, as even small amounts of mercury may cause health issues when allowed to accumulate in the body.
The Environmental Working Group has come up with a seafood calculator which can help you find out how much tuna is safe for you to eat if you’re still unsure. As a general rule though, try only eating it two to three times a week and getting a little creative with your lunches the rest of the time. Falafel wrap, or pesto chicken sandwich, anyone?
5. Blasting music
Are you listening to music through your headphones on your commute to and from work every day? It’s a great way to relax and keep out street noise, however, if you’re cranking the volume, your ears are suffering. Some songs may sound better on full blast, but if a person standing next to you can hear your music coming out of your headphones, you could end up with premature hearing loss, according to the experts.
“The type of hearing loss due to headphone use is typically gradual, cumulative and without obvious warning signs,” explains osteopathic pediatrician Dr. Foy.
“A hearing test and a medical examination are the only way to truly diagnose hearing damage.”
By turning the volume down a bit, you’re not only avoiding health issues, you’re also not annoying your fellow commuters, so go easy next time a Beyonce song comes on your Spotify list.
6. Not getting enough sleep
It’s true, our busy lifestyles make it hard to get everything done while also getting the recommended eight hours of sleep a night; however, something’s gotta give if you want to stay healthy.
Besides constantly being tired, not getting enough Zs also increases your risk of heart disease, strokes, and can actually make you gain weight by interfering with your body’s hunger-regulating hormones.
So instead of scrolling through your Instagram feed and watching kitten videos for an hour before going to bed, just go to sleep. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, you may want to limit your caffeine intake in the afternoon, have a warm bath or shower right before bed and turn off all screens for an hour before you hit the hay, as the blue lights have been shown to affect the body’s sleep hormone production.
7. Forgetting to breathe
This may sound weird – after all, breathing happens automatically – but it turns out most of us ‘breathe wrong’ most of the time. The ideal respiratory rate is between 12 and 20 times per minute, depending on your height and weight. This rate ensures enough oxygen is carried through our blood to our organs in order for them to function well. But especially in stressful situations, or when we are very focused on a task, we tend to skip breaths, or breathe too fast.
Being mindful of your breathing and taking 15 minutes every day to just sit and breathe – a simple form of meditation – can really benefit your overall wellbeing.
Images via giphy.com.
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