7 Stupid Health Mistakes

Do you always go to bed at 1 a.m. and wake up feeling groggy, or insist on fake tanning during the winter? If so, you could be one of many smart people still making stupid health mistakes. Find out exactly what you’re risking and how to make smarter decisions starting today. Plus, are you ready to quit smoking? Take our quiz…

You’re educated, well-read and are the go-to person for solving your family’s and friend’s problems. You consider yourself pretty knowledgeable on many topics but somehow you still manage to make stupid health mistakes.

Your health should be one of your top priorities. Skimping on much-needed sleep or avoiding the doc aren’t going to help you be the best you can be.

If the one area you’re lacking in expertise is how to maintain proper health – or if you’re just ignoring what you know to be true – it’s time to wise up.

Here are 7 stupid health mistakes even the smartest of people are making:

1. Skipping Breakfast.
Breakfast is too easy and beneficial a meal to pass up in the mornings.

As you sleep, your body’s metabolism slows down, so when you wake up, your body needs food to get your metabolism going again.

After fasting for about eight hours, your body is starving. So when you skip breakfast, your energy levels suffer.

Although you may skip breakfast in an attempt to cut some calories, you actually will eat more throughout the day to compensate for your hunger. Weight gain here you come.

In fact, of the 4,000 participants in the National Weight Control Registry who maintained at least a 30-pound weight loss for about 5.5 years, almost all said they ate breakfast daily.

Studies have also shown that eating breakfast increases your ability to perform better mentally.

For more information on healthy breakfasts visit Eating a Healthy Breakfast – Part I and Eating a Healthy Breakfast – Part II.

2. Sabotaging Your Skin for a Little Color.
We all know that too much sun damages our skin, so why do we continue frying ourselves in the pursuit of a golden tan?

Sun tanning and skipping the sunscreen both increase your exposure to the sun’s harmful rays, which can cause premature aging and, even worse, skin cancer.

Tanning is simply not worth it, especially when so many good self-tanners are available. (See related article: The Dangers of Tanning)

3. Smoking.
If you don’t know by now that smoking is bad, I mean deadly, you’re either in denial or have been living under a rock for the past 30 years.

Consequences of smoking include lung and throat cancer, premature wrinkles, an increase in men’s risk of impotence, and complication of pregnancies for women. And these are just some of smoking’s effects.

The repetitive puckering of lips around a cigarette causes wrinkles. Plus, the habit deprives your skin of necessary nutrients – smoking dehydrates and kills elasticity.

While smoking is addictive and quitting can be challenging, it’s one of the best things you can do for your health today.

4. Skipping the Weights.
Contrary to popular myth, lifting weights won’t necessarily make you bulk up, an effect that many people, especially women, want to avoid. In fact, women actually lack the testosterone and often the time it takes in the gym to really get beefy.

It’s true that when you start lifting weights or using a resistance training program, you generally gain a bit of weight before you start to lose it, but that’s simply because muscle weighs more than fat.

If you want to get in shape, “pumping iron” will make you look trimmer and more toned, and will help you burn more calories even after your workout is over. Studies have shown that weight training in the morning boosts your metabolism for the rest of the day.

5. Avoiding the Dreaded Doc.
Nobody likes going to the doctor. In fact, the whole experience can be time-consuming, require tons of paperwork and be somewhat embarrassing, depending on why you’re there.

Even so, having a checkup can mean detecting a problem and treating it early enough to avoid further complications.

Women should visit the gynecologist yearly for a pap smear and breast exam, as well as a yearly mammogram once over the age of 40.
Men should have their testicles examined for irregularities and should also be checked for colon cancer.

Men should have their testicles examined for irregularities and should also be checked for colon cancer.

You should also be seeing your dentist and general practitioner yearly. These doctor visits may be uncomfortable, but they can potentially save your life.

6. Not Getting Enough Sleep.
Doctors have been telling us for years that most people need at least 8 hours of sleep a night to function at their fullest the next day, so why are you going to bed so late?

Sleep deprivation not only makes you feel less than your usual perky self, but has been linked to weight gain, depression, anxiety, heart disease, and insulin resistance, not to mention accidents from limited mental alertness.

Many people find that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get things accomplished, so sleep is sacrificed. Yet you should be giving up less important tasks and setting a regular bedtime to get a full 8 hours instead. (See related article: 7 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep)

7. Drinking your Calories.
Starbucks lattes and Jamba Juice smoothies might be a fixture in your day, but you could be consuming nearly all of your calories for the day in just one cup.

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Posted on March 28, 2011, in Lifestyle, What's new and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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