When it comes to staying healthy, you know the basics: Eat right, exercise, don’t smoke (well, duh) and see your doctor every now and then. But sometimes it’s the small stuff that can cause the biggest problems. Here are some of the most common health mistakes people make, and how you can keep them from derailing your progress toward a fitter, happier life.
1. Living in High Heels: Ladies, here’s unwelcome news: You may love your heels, but chances are your feet (and the rest of your body) hate you for wearing them. And as Hillary Brenner, MD, explains, discomfort may be the least of your worries. Her advice will help you enjoy your platforms, pumps and stilettos without paying too steep a price.
2. Knocking Back One Too Many: You don’t need to be reminded of what excessive drinking can do to your liver, not to mention your chances of getting home in one piece after a night out. But what about moderate tippling – it’s good for your heart, right? Well, yes … but before you decide how much moderate drinking is right for you, listen to Mike Clark, DPT, tick off a few consequences that may surprise you. Men: Think wilting testosterone levels. Women: Think sluggish metabolism. So, enjoy that glass of wine with dinner, but be picky about when you want to do it, and know when to say when.
3. Getting Germ-Phobic: You probably don’t like to think about creepy, crawly microbes covering every surface of your house, not to mention the entire surface of your body, inside and out. But guess what: Those germs are there and many of them are doing you good. Check out what Philip Landrigan, MD, has to say about the perils of antimicrobial cleaners, and then make a vow to keep things hygienic but not sterile.
4. Burning the Candle at Both Ends: You know sleep is important, but it can be hard to resist the lure of clubs, concerts or just late-night TV. Or maybe your work schedule makes it impossible to stick to normal hours. If you’re stinting on sleep in the name of fun, here’s a powerful message about the perils of that approach. If your boss has you working all hours, be sure to check in with our Top 10 Online Influencers in the area of sleep, to see what they have to say about Shift Work Sleep Disorder. And no matter what’s keeping you up, don’t forget to visit Sharecare’s Sleep Center for tips that can help you get the rest you need.
5. Forgetting the Grain of Salt: No, we’re not suggesting that you need a heavier hand with the salt shaker – if you’re like most Americans, you could stand to cut back. What you probably do need more of is a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to health headlines. Whether a story is about a “breakthrough” or just news you can use to make your everyday life a little better, it’s the details that matter. Alice Domar, MD, explains the critical four questions you should ask before you put health advice to work in your own life. And for more health mistakes that smart people make, check out this quiz.