There are four little things that most of us do that can have negative health consequences…and we probably don’t even realize it.
Every day you wake up and do your best to live a healthy life. You eat a nutritious breakfast and watch what you eat throughout the day. You exercise and you try to get as much sleep as possible. When it comes to major lifestyle decisions, you’re really taking care of yourself.
And I commend you. These choices can be difficult and time-consuming, and there are times when they can come at the expense of other things. But are you aware that there are little, seemingly insignificant habits that could be harming your health? For a long time, I didn’t, but now I know what to watch for.
Here are the top four common habits you need to kick for better health:
- Crossing your legs when you sit: When you sit with your legs crossed, you restrict blood flow, causing an increase in blood pressure. In fact, it can increase systolic blood pressure by seven percent and diastolic blood pressure by two percent. Additionally, it places stress on your hip joints and can lead to blood pooling in the legs. If you tend to cross your legs when you sit, do it for no longer than 10–15 minutes and get up for a walk every half-hour or so.
- Not using your muscles while standing: Standing with your knees in a locked position applies stress on the joints, which causes harm. Take the stress off your joints by keeping a slight bend to the knee and using your muscles to support you instead. That’s what your muscles are for after all, to hold you in place and take stress off the joints!
- Slouching: Having good posture can prevent pain in the back, neck, and shoulders. When you slouch over, you increase your likelihood of painful shoulder impingement, while leading to a muscle imbalance. Improve your posture by keeping your abdominals tight and standing up straight. Look at your profile in the mirror and make sure the middle of your ear, shoulder, hip, knees, and ankle all line up.
- Holding it: Listen to your body when it’s telling you it’s time to go to the bathroom. Holding your urine can lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs). Urine is filled with bacteria, so the longer you hold it, the more these bacteria can multiply and cause infection.
So while you may be making great overall decisions to better your health, remember that correcting these small habits also counts.
Sources for Today’s Article:
“Urinary tract infection: – adults,” PubMed Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine web site, 2013; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001549/.
Peters, G., et al., “The effect of crossing legs on blood pressure: a randomized single-blind cross-over study,” Blood Pressure Monit. April 1999; 4(2): 97–101.
Melone, L., “How Crossing Your Legs Hurts Your Health,” Prevention web site, 2014; http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/10-innocent-habits-affect-your-health?s=1&?adbpr=25092348&adbid=531687998446792706&adbpl=tw&cid=socHE_20141110_35308967, last accessed November 11, 2014.