6 Bad Habits That Could Be Killing You Slowly

There are some habits that we all know to be bad for our health. Smoking’s one. Overindulging in alcohol is another. However, these are far from the only bad habits that we should scratch off from our routines. Even the seemingly harmless day-to-day decisions we make may have harsh effects on our well-being in the long run. In a way, these small things can be more dangerous, because many of us don’t think twice about doing them.

Let’s change that today.

Read on for six common habits that we should all quit. And in case you missed it, check out our article on 5 unhealthy excuses you should stop making now.

 

1. Sitting all day

Photo by Ahmed Hashim via Flickr Creative Commons (CC by NC-ND 2.0)

Photo by Ahmed Hashim via Flickr Creative Commons (CC by NC-ND 2.0)

Unfortunately for those of us who have desk jobs, studies show that too much sitting can shorten our life span by two years. Dr. Peter T. Katzmarzyk of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center explained, “When you’re sitting and completely inactive, this is when you run into trouble managing blood glucose.” The long-term effects of a sedentary lifestyle include the increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. To avoid this, Dr. Katzmarzyk recommends not simply exercising regularly but being more active throughout the day.

 

2. Skipping breakfast

Photo by with wind via Flickr Creative Commons (CC by 2.0)

Photo by with wind via Flickr Creative Commons (CC by 2.0)

We’ve all been there—sometimes, we’re in such a hurry to avoid being late that we pass up on the most important meal of the day. But researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that men who make a habit of doing this increase their risk of death by heart attack or coronary heart disease by 27%. While we don’t have the figures on how this affects women, we can surmise that it can’t be good for us either. When we pass up on breakfast, we put ourselves in danger of developing diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Having coffee alone for breakfast doesn’t count, and it may just lead to acid reflux.

 

3. Not flossing

Photo by Patricia H. Schuette via Flickr Creative Commons (CC by NC-ND 2.0)

Photo by Patricia H. Schuette via Flickr Creative Commons (CC by NC-ND 2.0)

As surprising as it sounds, some health practitioners and researchers believe that there’s a connection between gum disease and heart disease. Studies revealed that the presence of gum-disease causing bacteria in a person’s mouth often coincides with having thicker carotid arteries, which may lead to a stroke or heart attack. Although this subject is still under heavy debate, we’d do well to make flossing a regular habit. At the very least, we’ll get healthy teeth and gums and a nicer smile out of it.

 

4. Using wrong footwear

Photo by Photoframe via Flickr Creative Commons (CC by NC-ND 2.0)

Photo by Photoframe via Flickr Creative Commons (CC by NC-ND 2.0)

While heels elongate our legs and, when paired with the right outfit, give us the power to stop traffic, they do a lot more harm than good, as our feet will attest after a long day of sporting them. There’s a long list of cons to these fashionable footwear options, but the gist of it is that it shifts the distribution of our weight to our toes, thus disrupting our natural posture and straining the nerves on our back. This could lead to chronic pain and numbness. That doesn’t mean that we have to quit our favorite stilettos completely. Dr. Natalie A. Nevins, DO, recommends using soft insoles, wearing heels sparingly and only on days when we do minimal walking, and stretching our feet and legs regularly.

Also on the topic of footwear, it’s important to use the right shoes for our sport of choice. Before we splurge on that sweet pair of running shoes, we should do our research and try it out for ourselves to see if it gives us the support and balance that our feet need.

 

5. Developing a dependency on pharmaceutical drugs

Photo by e-Magine Art via Flickr Creative Commons (CC by 2.0)

Photo by e-Magine Art via Flickr Creative Commons (CC by 2.0)

A lot of us may be guilty of popping pills as soon as that headache or cold comes upon us. The problem is that many of these over-the-counter meds, such as acetaminophen (paracetamol) or ibuprofen, damage our liver when taken too often. Ibuprofen is also known to take a toll on the stomach lining to the extent of causing ulcers. If possible, we should opt for natural treatments for cold, fever, and pain instead of automatically reaching for our medicine stash.

 

6. Putting off your trip to the doctor

Photo by ILO in Asia and the Pacific via Flickr Creative Commons (CC by NC-ND 2.0)

Photo by ILO in Asia and the Pacific via Flickr Creative Commons (CC by NC-ND 2.0)

As much as we may hate it, we can’t escape that visit to the doctor—or to the dentist, for that matter. We can delay it, but eventually, we’ll still have to go there. It’s always better to get a diagnosis early than to put it off until our symptoms take a turn for the worse. Besides, there’s always the chance that our doctor will tell us we’ve been worrying about something that could easily be addressed by medicine or a lifestyle change.

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