Unexpected habits you didn't know were damaging your health

Published on 15 October 2018

We try to make healthy eating decisions and squeeze in as much exercise as we can. But there’s a good chance a couple of your everyday habits are doing you harm, and you aren’t even aware of it. Knowledge is power so here’s what you need to know.

Spending too much time on your phone

Smartphones are wonderful things – in many ways they make our lives easier, not to mention more enjoyable. But recent studies suspect that the blue light they emit may be harmful to our health. Long-term exposure to concentrated blue light energy is thought to increase free radicals in the skin and speed up the ageing process. Blue light can also potentially disrupt natural sleeping patterns. While research is still getting to the bottom of the issue and the truth concerns, it may be worth limiting your screen time.

Having a few drinks after a workout

A couple of drinks with friends might feel like the perfect reward after a workout, but alcohol can impede the positive effects of a workout. Alcohol can delay muscle recovery and slow down the healing process. Plus, since it’s a diuretic, alcohol adds to your already-dehydrated state post-exercise. Wait at least an hour before hitting the North Quarter for a few drinks, and drink plenty of water in the meantime.

Sitting all day

Standing desks aren’t just a fad. Research has found that people who sit for five or more hours a day double their risk of heart failure. While sitting comes with the job for many of us, there are easy ways to increase your daily activity. Get up regularly to top up your water glass or pour a cup of tea, and head outside in your lunch break. A quick walk around the block can help get your blood flowing.

Constantly chewing gum

It may seem like such a harmless act, but regularly chewing gum isn’t good for you. As you chew, you swallow additional air, causing air pockets to form in the stomach. This can put pressure on the intestine and cause cramping and bloating. The chewing motion can also put too much strain on your jaw and aggravate cartilage and surrounding joints. There’s also the potential for artificial sweeteners in some chewing gums to unsettle your stomach (not to mention rot your teeth).

Multitasking

You may take great pride in your ability to juggle many tasks at once, but having too much on your plate is just asking for stress. We’re naturally wired to be mono-taskers not multi-taskers. When we focus on just one task at a time, we can accomplish it faster and avoid putting undue pressure on ourselves. Try this tactic: Always do your hardest task for the day first. Your brain is at its best first thing in the morning, and every task that follows suit will seem so much easier and more achievable.