You think you’re healthy. After all, you’re not significantly overweight, you don’t smoke and you don’t make a habit of hitting the drive-thru for fast food. And there’s a good chance that you are reasonably healthy.
The thing is, even if you land on the healthier end of the spectrum — or even if you don’t — there is a good chance that you are making mistakes every day that have a major impact on your overall health and well-being. Some of these mistakes seem innocuous, but in time, they can take a toll on your health and lead to bigger problems down the road.
Not convinced? Check out this list of common health mistakes — you’ll most likely see that you do at least some of these things every day.
You Skip the Gym
You know you need to exercise — experts recommend at least two hours of moderate intensity exercise each week, which works out to about 20-30 minutes four to five days per week. The CDC reports, though, that most adults don’t meet those recommendations. Exercise is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of serious disease, including diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular conditions, so make time for exercise every day, even if it is just a walk around the block.
You Only Socialize Online
Social media has many benefits — after all, how else would you keep in touch with that person you vaguely remember from your freshman psych class? Studies show, though, that overusing social media and making it the center of your social life can negatively affect your mental and physical health. Connecting with other people in person, whether through a standing coffee date with a friend or belonging to an organization, is good for your health.
Your Fluid Intake Is off
Your body needs fluids in order for organs to function properly. Dehydration leads to headaches, digestive issues and kidney problems. However, many people don’t drink enough water each day (64-ounces per day) and drink too many other fluids.
Sugary, carbonated beverages, coffee and fruit juice do not adequately hydrate you while adding excess caffeine, sugar and calories. While there is nothing wrong with a daily cup of coffee or a glass of juice now and then, if you are thirsty, water should be your first choice for refreshment.
You Touch Your Face
Think about everything you touch every day, at home, work and out in public, and the number of germs present on those surfaces — according to a University of Arizona study, the average desk harbors more bacteria than a toilet. Now consider that you touch your face about four times an hour, and transmit those germs and bacteria to your eyes, nose and mouth
While your immune system can fight off many harmful germs, there are plenty that it can’t, so every time you touch your face, you’re increasing the chance that you’ll get sick. Not only should you make a conscious effort to avoid touching your face, but remember to wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
You Put Off Your Doctor Appointments
Does anyone really like visiting the doctor? The itchy paper gowns, the uncomfortable tests, the possibility — even slight — that something could be wrong. It’s all enough to make even the healthiest individual skip their appointments. Even if you think you’re in good health, though, it’s important to see your doctor regularly. Some conditions, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, are asymptomatic.
You may need to make lifestyle changes or take medicine to stay healthy, and your doctor can help you make a plan and find affordable sources for the medicines you need, such as an online Canadian pharmacy. If nothing else, keeping your doctor appointments helps provide peace of mind that you are on the right track.
You Don’t Read Your Food Labels
Many people fall into the trap of thinking that they have a healthy diet because they eat mostly organic food, or only eat food that is labeled “all natural,” “fat free,” “low fat” or “sugar free.” What they don’t realize is that there aren’t any strict regulations for these labels, and “all natural” doesn’t always mean what you think it means.
Because a healthy diet requires limiting sodium and added sugar in addition to avoiding foods that are high in calories, fat and cholesterol, it’s important to learn to read labels and learn the other terms that manufacturers use for added sugar, salt and gluten, if necessary. Better yet, commit to shopping the perimeter of the store and avoiding most processed or packaged foods — whole foods do not generally have unhealthy added ingredients.
You Stay Up Too Late
The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Not getting enough sleep can cause problems with your memory and concentration, and weaken your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness and disease. Studies also show that sleep deprivation is also linked to weight gain and increased stress levels. If you’re having trouble sleeping, see your doctor for help.
If you have any of these bad health habits, don’t feel bad — you aren’t alone. Commit to changing one or two at a time, and you should see your health improve considerably.