Health mistake 1: Driving with the windows down
We feel pretty content cruising up the motorway with the wind blowing through our hair on a warm day, but we never spare a thought for our poor lungs as we breathe in the harmful pollutants emitted by cars. A study from the University of Southern California has found that spending a mere six per cent of our day driving in the car with the windows down exposes us to around 45 per cent of the pollutants that we encounter in 24 hours – that’s a lot of pollutants to come into contact with in such a short amount of time. In cities, driving with the windows down poses an even higher threat to your health. Instead of winding the windows down during a traffic-ridden commute, try letting some fresh air in before you start your journey and save having the wind blowing through your hair for your voyage through the countryside.
Health mistake 2: Carrying a heavy handbag
You’ve packed your makeup, baby wipes, phone, purse and keys. And your camera too (were you planning on taking pictures of anything interesting during your trip to the chemist?) Oh, good to see you brought the old batteries from the remote – never know when you might need them. Those broken headphones could come in handy – thank goodness, they found their way in there too. Erm, ladies (and gentleman, if you’re quite partial to carrying a ‘man bag’) do you really need all this stuff? Surely these ‘essentials’ could be cut down a bit? Lugging a heavy load around can really take its toll on your health by causing back spasms, disc degeneration, neck problems, arthritis, and poor posture. Spring clean your handbags and man bags, and possibly consider trading them in for a smaller version.
Health mistake 3: Spending too long exercising
It’s pretty common to think that the more time we spend on the exercise bike, the better. The truth is, too much of a good thing can be counterproductive and that goes for exercise too. Working your body too hard can lead to abnormal hormonal changes (which can trigger weight gain), a weaker immune system, muscle damage, shin splints, and knee, foot, or back problems. Whilst it’s important to reap the benefits of exercise for a healthy lifestyle, don’t go overboard; expecting abs like Arnold Schwarzenegger on week two of your workout routine isn’t going to happen and it isn’t going to be healthy.
Health mistake 4: Scrimping on sleep
You’ve crammed everything you can possibly fit into twenty-four hours and more, when suddenly you look at the clock and its way past the time you hoped to go to bed and closer to the time you need to get up for work. Scientific research has proven that we look less attractive when we’ve had little sleep, but droopy eyelids and pasty skin are the least of our worries when it comes to our habit of scrimping on sleep. No matter how healthy you are, how much you exercise, or how much you weigh, getting too little shut-eye can seriously affect your health. Scientists studied 5,600 people of a healthy weight and size for three years and found those who skipped sleep quadrupled their risk of stroke and heart disease. Fix a specific time to go to bed and stick to it.
Health mistake 5: Avoiding the scales
In many households across the world, the scales are the one piece of equipment gathering more dust than the treadmill. A common way to gloss over our weight problems is to avoid going on the scales altogether; we go by the mantra “If I don’t see that I’ve gained weight, then I don’t have to believe it”. If you feel like you’ve gained weight, it’s best to face the facts to see how much you’ve gained so you can do something about it before it gets out of hand. Everyone’s weight naturally fluctuates so don’t panic if you’ve gained a couple of pounds here and there, but if you gain more than five pounds, you should probably reign in your eating habits. Checking your weight on a regular basis allows you to nip it in the bud if you discover a weight problem – losing the odd few pounds is much easier than trying to shed a stone.