44 Health Mistakes People Make Every Day
by Lisa Milbrand
Updated: Apr. 15, 2021
Every move you make, every breath you take is an opportunity to live healthier. Avoid these little mistakessome of them can take years off your life.
woman waking up in the morning
PHOTOALTO/FREDERIC CIROU/GETTY IMAGES
Change a few habits
From the way you sit to how you use your phone, there are little things you do each day that can impact your health. You probably dont give them much thought, but these daily habits can make a big difference in how you feel.
young man using phone and laptop at a desk
MILAN ILIC PHOTOGRAPHER/SHUTTERSTOCK
Not taking a stand
Plenty of studies show the health damage that sitting can do to your body. Sitting all day at your desk or in front of your TV not only ruins your posture but can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, says Robert Segal, MD, cofounder of LabFinder.com. A way to prevent this is by simply spending some time active during your day, even if you just go for a short walk during lunch or after work. In youre working, you can also take calls standing up. (See the 14 mistakes doctors wish youd stop making.)
sausages on a grill
Firing up the grill
Grilling may be a low-cal way to cook your food, but theres a downside. Grilling is a wonderful way to add flavor to foods, but the blackened, charred pieces may contain cancer-promoting compounds called heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic amines, says Mary Mosquera Cochran, RD, at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. With a few simple tweaks, you can keep carcinogen production to a minimum. Limit grill time by defrosting meat first. Consider making kebabs instead of large pieces of meat to reduce cooking time. Trim away visible fat to prevent fat from dripping onto hot coals and creating smoke. Use a marinade that contains vinegar or lemon juice. And flip grilled meat often to prevent dripping juices. (See other little habits that hurt your health.)
to-do list next to coffee cup and laptop
Keeping a full to-do list
To lead a long and healthy life, you need to give yourself time to de- stress every day, says Kristin Dean, MD, assistant medical director at Doctor on Demand. Cortisol levels increase with chronic stress, which can lead to many different health issues, including weight gain, heart disease, anxiety, depression, concentration issues, and digestive problems, just to name a few! Next time you feel like you need a breather, stop and take the time out for both yourself and your loved ones. (Avoid making these common first-aid mistakes.)
Woman adding sugar in coffee
Sipping artificial sweeteners
Diet sodas are under fire, since some studies have linked regular diet-soda drinking to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart attack, as well as an appetite for sweet things, among other things. Instead, swap out the diet soda with seltzer, water with a twist of lime or berries, or iced tea with a touch of honey.
Netflix on laptop screen
Binge-watching into the wee hours
Those late nights catching up with your favorite shows can exacerbate insomnia because exposure to the blue light of the screen can disrupt your bodys circadian rhythms. Instead, indulge in a few pre-bedtime activities that can help you sleep, such as reading or listening to soothing music. (Find out the 22 ways youre probably sleeping wrong.)
man holding toothbrush and toothpaste
Brushing right after you eat
Dentists advice used to be to brush right after eating to reduce the food acids that could eat away at your tooth enamel. But it turns out, brushing right after you eat could actually damage the protective layer of your teethespecially if youve eaten something acidic like citrus juice or coffee. Instead, rinse with water and wait about 40 minutes. (Check out these healthy habits you may not realize youre overdoing.)
White headphones and smart phone on wooden table
Turning it up to 11
Blasting your favorite tunes could help you focusbut you could be paying a significant price for logging time with your headphones. Exposure to sounds greater than 90 decibels for more than eight hours a day could result in permanent hearing damage.
feet sticking out from under comforter in bed
Not logging enough sleep time
Everyone knows we should get six to eight hours of sleep every night. But a 2018 study published in the journal Sleep found that nearly a third of Americans sleep fewer than six hours each night. People who regularly skip sleep may have an increased risk of depression, cancer, memory loss, and heart disease. And other studies show that lack of sleep can be a contributing factor in weight gain. Aim to get at least seven to eight hours each night. (Check out these quick tricks for healthier habits.)
father and son flossing teeth
Skipping the floss
Not flossing when you brush will affect more than your smile. Several studies have found that gum disease is connected to heart disease. Fortunately, the solution is easy: Just break out the floss every single day. (And avoid these 22 common bathroom mistakes.)
man sleeping in bed while holding his cellphone
Keeping your smartphone by the bed
Getting cozy with your cellphone while you try to snooze could cause serious issues with your sleep patterns. The light from the screen could increase your risk of insomnia (although the jury is still out on whether blue light specifically is to blame), while beeps or vibrations from middle-of-the-night notifications could jar you as you try to fall asleepor even wake you up in the middle of the night. Consider letting your phone stay outside of your bedroom when youre resting. (Read more about why you should never use your smartphone in bed.)
pitcher and glass of water
Skimping on water
Humans are 60 percent waterand so you need to keep replenishing your supply. This is a no-brainer, Dr. Segal says. Dehydration can result in fatigue, headache, constipation, dizziness, heart palpitations, and the list goes on. This can not only affect your physical health but your mental health as well. Sometimes when youre hungry, youre actually thirstyso try to keep a bottle of water you can refill nearby. (Check out the 16 worst health sins you can commit.)
woman inserting contact lenses
Wearing your contact lenses when you sleep
Dont nap or sleep in contact lenses, says Stephanie Pisano, OD, clinical assistant professor of optometry at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Contact lenses are basically sponges that can hold a lot of bacteria and other debris against the eyes. When you sleep in contact lenses, youre preventing the movement of tears, which helps eliminate some of the bacteria. Catching a few zs in your contacts also prevents oxygen from getting to the cornea.
woman holding glass jar of cookies
If you handle stress by sneaking sweets or junk food, youre not alonebut continually eating high-fat, high- sugar foods can lead to obesity and heart issues. The better choice: Try meditation, exercise, or talking things through with friends to manage stress. (Also try to avoid these 7 icky habits that can put your health at risk.)
Runner listening to music while jogging on sidewalk
Focusing only on cardio
Cardio can help you burn calories and promote heart health, but make sure you leave room for strength training in your workout repertoire, too. Strength training can help you improve your bone health, increase your resting metabolism (so you can burn more calories, even when youre just chilling on the couch), and boost your energy levels.
Click for Full Text!