Doctors Reveal 12 Things You’re Doing Wrong Every Day
If you’re like most people, you probably try and incorporate some health habits into your daily routine — or, at the very least, you do your best not to purposely sabotage your health. But there are a lot of common misconceptions about what is and isn’t good for us, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about your practices.
No one wants to harm their health with their daily habits. But according to some doctors, that’s exactly what you may be doing.
1. Skipping flossing
Admit it: You don’t floss often, if at all. While it’s entirely too common to avoid this simple habit, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, this is a good way to get gum disease. And since gum disease and heart disease are linked, taking care of your teeth and gums incorrectly can actually kill you.
Next: Watch your every breath.
2. Breathing incorrectly
Breathing might be an automatic function, but that doesn’t mean we’re always doing it correctly. According to Dr. Belisa Vranich, a self-minted Breathing Instructor, we’re born with proper breathing habits, but we lose them as we grow. If you breathe vertically, you ignore your diaphragm, which can lead to problems. Focus on expanding your entire abdomen like a cylindrical balloon.
Next: Don’t spend too long enjoying the heat.
Long, hot showers are a guilty pleasure for many, and they seem beneficial — staying clean is healthy, after all. But Heidi Waldorf, MD, has bad news: Long, hot showers can disrupt your normal skin barrier, stripping away your natural proteins and lipids and leaving you feeling dry and itchy. You can also remove too much “good” bacteria from your body and worsen skin conditions like eczema.
Next: Savor every bite.
4. Eating too quickly
You probably already know that a poor diet is bad for your health, but eating too fast is also a terrible idea. A 2008 study led by Hiroshima University cardiologist Dr. Takayuki Yamaji showed that many of the fastest eaters developed metabolic syndrome. And considering the subjects were monitored for five years, this was no quick study.
Next: This will make you rethink this common household task.
5. Dirty laundry
Are you washing out your washing machine regularly? If not, you could be leaving behind harmful bacteria that can get on your clothes, says Dr. Alexandra Sowa, an internist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Washing clothes can sometimes leave them contaminated with bacteria from old loads of laundry. Dr. Sowa recommends cleaning washing machines periodically by running them for a regular cycle with bleach and water but without clothing.
Next: You probably already know you’re doing this incorrectly.
6. Are you sleeping right?
70 million Americans don’t sleep well for a variety of reasons: Stress, insomnia, business, you name it. Some sleep doctors have some rather odd tips for falling asleep, such as reading at bedtime, blowing bubbles, and listening to soft, calming music just before you turn out the light. Whatever you need to do, getting control of your sleep habits will improve your health.
Next: We doubt you’re doing this every day, but suffering through one seems to last a lifetime.
7. You’ve got your hangover recovery wrong, too
Whether you’re a regular drinker or you let loose on New Year’s Eve or your cousin’s wedding, hangovers happen to the best of us. Despite what you may have heard, doctors recommend steering clear of Aspirin (stick to Advil and Tylenol), drinking copious amounts of water, and getting some light exercise so your body produces more endorphins. Other than that, you’ll just have to wait it out.
Next: Stand up.
8. Sitting for long periods of time
Desk jobs may seem less dangerous than more daring professions, but sitting all day is terrible for your health and may even shorted your life span. In fact, some doctors are even calling sitting the new smoking. If you must be sedentary, get up throughout the day and stretch your legs, and make sure you’re exercising regularly.
Next: This guilty habit is so easy to fall into.
9. Watching too much TV
We’ve always known that watching too much TV isn’t great for either children or adults. But new research, some conducted by doctors, suggests it can actually shorten your life. Japanese research has shown that people who sit in front of a television for five hours or more a day have more than twice the risk of developing a deadly blood clot as those who watch for two hours or less. Stick to a few favorite shows, then get up and do something.
Next: Use over the counter assistance sparingly.
10. Popping painkillers too quickly
While there’s nothing wrong with using painkillers to help endure life’s aches, experts warn that you should use them sparingly. One of the biggest misconception is that OTC pain meds are harmless.
“There is great concern that people think these drugs are benign, and they are probably not,” said Dr. Peter Wilson, a member of an expert panel convened by the FDA to sift through new evidence on painkillers. “The thought is these are good for short-term relief, probably for your younger person with no history of cardiovascular trouble.”
Next: Learn to manage your stress, or else.
11. You stress out too much
While a little stress in life is both unavoidable and necessary, too much can wreak havoc on your body and eventually kill you. Find healthy habits to help lower your stress levels, like exercise, meditation, and listening to relaxing music. They really do help.
Next: Remember the most important meal of the day.
12. Please stop skipping breakfast
You may have heard some conflicting information — breakfast is thought to be “the most important meal of the day,” but some studies suggest it isn’t so bad to miss your morning meal (not to mention the trend of intermittent fasting). But doctors say skipping breakfast may be bad for your heart, so if you have a family history of heart-related illnesses, it’s best not to risk it.
Next: Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Wade through the health myths
If you’ve been guilty of any of these habits thinking they were healthy, don’t worry — there are so many commonly believed health myths floating around, you’re bound to hear a few of them. If you ever have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor.
Next: But don’t piss your doctor off.
Stop driving your doctor crazy
Your doctors want to see you for your regularly scheduled checkups and when you have troubling symptoms. But please, don’t be a know-it-all or try to argue with your doctor, especially using “I Googled” as a defense. Also, don’t pull a no-show on your scheduled appointment date.
In between visits, you may want to reconsider these 12 things doctors say you’re getting wrong.
Next: This is a major pet peeve of MDs everywhere.
Please don’t say ‘I Googled’
We’ve all plugged a simple symptom or two into a search engine or on WebMD only to come to the conclusion that we have a terrible incurable disease. But doctors wish you would stop self-diagnosing yourself via Google and let them help you. There’s even a term for this: cyberchondria.
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