Unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive drinking can have a detrimental effect on our physical well-being, but certain daily activities that we deem harmless may also be leading us down a path to an early grave. Sitting most of the day, wearing an uncomfortable outfit, or spending too much time on our Smartphones are just a few of the ordinary behaviors that we fall victim to as a result of carelessness and relaxation. Here are seven everyday activities that are destroying our idea of a healthy lifestyle:
1. Sitting for Too Long
At one time or another, we all end up spending too much time at our desk staring at the computer screen. Research shows that extended periods of sitting can increase our risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and certain types of cancer. What we may not know is that even an adequate amount of exercise cannot reverse the unhealthy effects of sitting for eight hours. "Smoking is bad for you even if you get lots of exercise," said exercise physiologist at the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Dr. Travis Saunders. "So is sitting too much." Sitting, an unnatural position for the human body, can cut off blood flow to our legs and feet while contorting our spine over time. A 12-year study conducted 17,000 Canadians at the Pennington Biomedical Research Centers revealed that regardless of age, body, weight, or amount of exercise, people who spend more time sitting have a shorter lifespan.
2. Wearing Uncomfortable Shoes, Bras, or Handbags
Women who fight through the pain of an uncomfortable bra, handbag, or pair of shoes in the name of fashion may think they are doing so only for that moment; however, health experts say their current discomfort can lead to lifelong back problems. Aside from back pain, wearing an ill-fitting bra can cause skin rashes, tendonitis, and even gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. Even if that bulky handbag is the hottest trend this fashion season, ladies may want to avoid putting too much weight on their shoulders if they hope to avoid back-related issues. The American Chiropractic Association recommends that women carry no more than 10 percent of their body weight for extended periods of time.
“What we wear on our feet has a huge influence on our posture. In fact, some of the worst shoes for your feet are also likely to cause spine degeneration and even precipitate the need for spine surgery,” chief medical director at Laser Spine Institute, Dr. Michael Perry, told Medical Daily in an email. “High-heels are the obvious culprit when it comes to poor shoe choices for the feet and back. Heels pose a risk of falls, ankle sprains, rapid degeneration of the joints in the feet and problems with abnormal posture.”
3. Burying Our Heads in a Smartphone or Tablet
We may not think we’re causing too much damage by spending a lengthy amount of time hunched over our Smartphone or Tablet, but iPosture is very real. Poor posture triggered by mobile device use is not only affecting older people, but also those under the age of 24, who are finding it difficult to turn their attention away from their iPhone for even a second. A recent survey conducted by UK health care provider Simplyhealth revealed that 84 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 were suffering from lower back pain caused by spending as much time on their Smartphone, tablet, or computer as they did sleeping.
“Smartphones/tablets: Studies show that the progressive use of smart phones and tablets can lead to an increase in medical problems — the main culprit being ‘text neck.’ Text neck is caused by leaning the head forward over a cell phone, tablet or gaming system for an extended time.” Dr. Perry added. “According to Forbes, with 2.19 trillion texts being sent annually by U.S. customers, there are millions of potential sufferers. The added strain on your neck and shoulders creates muscle tension and an opportunity for an injured spine, as well as disc herniation, muscle strain or pinched nerves. “
4. Not Getting Enough Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation recommends a healthy adult take in anywhere between seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately an estimated 40 million Americans fail to meet these recommendations thanks to a hectic day-to-day schedule. Aside from hindering our physical development and contributing to our obesity risk, failing to get a healthy amount of sleep can also impede on our neurological development. A study conducted at the Uppsala University in Sweden found that going even one night without sleep can result in an increase of molecules that are biomarkers for brain damage.
“I enjoy late night TV shows. After all, who can say no to Jimmy Fallon's jokes? But there's nothing funny about not getting enough sleep,” American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer, Joshua Duvauchelle told Medical Daily in an email. “If you habitually don't get enough sleep, you're at a higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and many other health problems. On a more vain level, less shut-eye means bigger numbers on the bathroom scale. A meta-analysis in the Sleep research journal reviewed 696 different studies from around the world and found a strong link between sleep deprivation and increased obesity among both children and adults.”
5. Daytime Napping
Now that we’ve covered the unhealthy side effects of not getting enough sleep, let’s talk about getting too much sleep. That midday nap could be an effective way to improve productivity throughout the rest of our day, but spending too much time napping can have an equally negative impact. Experts in the art of napping suggest limiting naptime to just less than 30 minutes to prevent our body from going into deeper stages of sleep. On the other hand, data from the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk shows that people who constantly nap for more than an hour each day increase their early mortality risk by 32 percent.
6. Drinking Sugary Soft Drinks
At this point, we should all know that a diet riddled with soda is anything but healthy. Some may not know the extent of the damage their sugary soft drink addiction is having on their health. For example, people who drink a can of soda a day increase their risk of suffering a heart attack by 20 percent according to a recent Harvard University study. The amount of sugar in a single can of soda, 10 teaspoons, or 100 percent of our daily recommended intake, can also increase our risk of pulmonary complications such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).
“If you have a cola or your favorite soda beverage at lunch every day, it may seem harmless,” Duvauchelle explained. “However, in one year, drinking just one 12-ounce soda a day is like eating nine of those generic 4-pound bags of sugar in the grocery store! A study in the New England Journal of Medicine followed 120,000 adults for two decades and found that people who drank a single sugary drink once a day gained extra weight, while other studies in other journals have linked sugary beverages to diabetes, heart attacks, gout and more.”