These Common Habits Are Secretly Bad for Us

Let’s be honest, a lot of conventional advice proves to be out of date in our increasingly connected world. It’s easy to tell people what they should do by giving the best insider tips and tricks. But sometimes, it just makes more sense to tell them what not to do and try to help them get rid of some nasty habits.
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There are heaps of things we do every day that are secretly ruining our health, backfiring on any plans we may have to live our best lives. We’ve collected some of the most common habits, that turn out to be terrible…

Stretching Before Exercise

It’s never a good idea to stretch before your muscles are warmed up, as you could overdo it when trying to loosen your stiff muscles, and even hamper your performance.

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Basically, you just need two minutes of walking or skipping to prepare yourself for a good stretch.

Melting Ice-Cream in the Microwave

Popping that frozen Ben and Jerry’s in the microwave may make it easier to scoop, but this will also cause irreparable damage to the consistency and texture of your ice cream.

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In fact, rinsing your spoon with warm water will also cause ice crystals to form on the surface, so it’s best to just wait a few minutes and let the ice cream melt naturally instead of taking the shortcut.

Using Hand Sanitizer

Sure, your bottle of lavender-scented hand sanitizer smells lovely, but you’re better off washing your hands the old-fashioned way.

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A chemical called Triclosan, which is used in hand sanitizers, has been linked to factors that could affect your thyroid and increase your risk of gaining unhealthy weight. Good ol’ soap and a splash of water are worth your while when it comes to removing bacteria.

Wearing High Heels All Day

High heels can make your legs looks longer and can even make you feel stylish and glamorous, but it’s best to wear them only on a special occasion. Wearing high heels for extended periods of time have many negative side effects.

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When you wear high heels, your body weight is not evenly spread out on your feet. This pushes your lower back forward which throws your spine out of position and your hips out of alignment, which in turn pressures your knees. Also, they are just plain painful.

Serving Dinner Buffet-Style

You might save yourself from washing extra dishes, but by their nature, buffets are a little dubious. A revealing study recently found that folks gorge on average 40 percent more grub during their meal when all the food is laid out on the dinner table.

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If getting second helpings means leaving the table, people are less likely to move from their seat and therefore, eat less.

Sleeping With Contact Lenses

After a long day, you might feel like taking shortcuts when it comes time for your nightly routine. The last thing you want to do is remove your contacts and clean them.

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But skipping this can drastically increase your risk of infection and the research shows that sleeping with your contacts makes you 20 times more likely to develop an eye infection and even lead to permanent corneal scarring and loss of vision. Yikes! The odds of infection doubles with each consecutive night worn. Seriously, just take the extra two minutes to remove your contact lenses.

Not Washing Rice

Rice is the most palatable type of grass to be grown in a swamp. There are about as many different types of rice as countries to grow it — from our well-known, processed white rice to whole-grain brown, through wild black and red kinds of rice commonly found in Asia.

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But with the loom in convenience products, more people move into adulthood without learning how to properly cook rice. Many rice-washing promoters claim that industrial sediments from the production process still remain on the rice. This claim means that pre-washing your rice can help remove unwanted starch or undesirable byproducts.

Spending Too Much Time in the Sun

It’s definitely a good idea to spend some time getting your daily dose of Vitamin D, but the problem usually comes when you’re going for that bronzy glow.

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Sure, we all love that sun-kissed skin look, but too much sun-time can result in some serious burns and increase the risk of getting skin blemished, imperfections, or worse. Always wear sunscreen, folks.

Overthinking Your Texts

Since the invention of e-mail and text, words have gone misunderstood many times. Texting just lacks many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations, this has created an obsession around making our texts sound perfect.

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It’s totally okay to check it over, but when you find yourself reading it a dozen times and waiting a few days before you send it, you know you have developed a bad habit.

Overstocking Your Fridge

Maintaining refrigerators is a piece of cake, right? All you need to do is plug it in and your fridge will do the rest. What could be easier? Only, it’s not really that simple.

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When we fill our fridge to the brim after an arduous trip to the store, we might be forgetting about air circulation, which plays a substantial role in keeping everything in your fridge fresh and cold. When your fridge is chock-a-block full, you’re obstructing all that circulation. That means the fridge needs to work harder to keep everything at a cool temperature.

Biting Your Nails

This habit could be developed due to our unrealistic standards to always have perfect nails: colored, neat, and all at the same length. People splurge on manicures but still manage to nibble on their freshly manicured nails! What is even more terrible is the annoying sound of someone chewing on their nails.

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There is nothing more annoying than sitting beside someone gnawing away at her nails. Nail-biting can also increase your chance of spreading germs, and if the skin breaks, the fingers might get infected one nail at a time.

Having Smoothies for Breakfast

So you’ve decided to lead a healthier lifestyle — that’s great! Maybe you’ll pick up a class at the local gym and eat more veggies. You’ve even begun replacing breakfast with smoothies!

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But wait, before you do that, you should know that most smoothie recipes consist of fruits, yogurts, and honey, which means you’ll get way too much sugar in one serving. These ingredients may be good for you, having too much at once is not a great way to start your day.

Running Too Fast

Running to get fit should help alleviate stress, not give you more of it. Anyone can start running it — it doesn’t involve getting an expensive gym membership, or fancy equipment. All one needs to do is put on their best trainers and go outside for a run. Nice and easy, right?

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While we would want to start running as fast as we can, doing too much too soon is one of the biggest mistakes fledgling runners make. New runners need to take it easy and start off slow when building up a mileage base before taking speed.

Trusting ‘Healthy’ Food Labels

Many people can’t help but be lured into buying foods marked “Low-Calorie” or “Zero-Fat”. While petite portioned snacks may look like an innocent alternative, they usually contain more harmful additives to make up for the lack of fat or calories.

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Studies have also shown that people tend to binge more on these snacks, thinking they’re healthier than they actually are.

Eating Late at Night

Do we really need to scarf down that bag of chips right before we go to bed? Who doesn’t like going to bed feeling a little sick?

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Well, it might taste good but it would have been better to have it a few hours earlier. Eating this late is the biggest cause of acid reflux, which in itself is bad but it also causes other complications and diseases.

Drinking Diet Soda

Diet sodas might be better for your teeth and contain fewer calories but the experts have weighed and said nuh-uh! Their findings show that those who prefer diet soda were at an increased risk of cognitive failures later in life, due to poor body circulation.

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The best thing to drink is plain water or herbal teas. Feel free to spice it up a little and add mint or lemon to your drink to give it that boost.

Drinking Tap Water

Tap water may be a major upgrade from diet soda, but it’s far from perfect. It’s full of foreign impurities that joined along the way through your plumbing to your faucet, from noxious traces of fluoride to harmful levels of bacteria.

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If you’re curious about what’s in the water, you can look it up on a local online database — or just take precautions and use a filter.

Not Washing Fresh Produce

Not cleaning your fresh produce before consumption is like skating on thin ice. First of all, they’re brimming with pesticides, and then, of course, you don’t know who’s handled your food before you bought it, just think of all those hands that fondled your apple before you bite into it, even if it’s non-GMO and organic!

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Washing your fruits and veggies can remove up to 90% of the pathogens — another reason to spend a few extra seconds on washing your food next time you’re preparing to eat.

Taking Supplements

There has been a divisive debate around taking vitamins and the science seems to be conclusive, claiming there is only a little benefit when it comes to vitamin supplements. The FDA maintains that there are several potential dangers that can arise when taking high doses of certain vitamins.

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Taking Vitamin A in excess can damage the liver, while high amounts of biotin can get in the way of blood test results that may otherwise detect potential risks of a heart attack. Yikes!

Wearing Skinny Jeans

So that pair of skinny jeans make your posterior look good? Well, your favorite pair could also be wreaking havoc on your blood circulation. Wow!

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A recent finding shows that typically healthy people can succumb to compartment syndrome which is caused by internal bleeding or swelling, and this is becoming more common. So how do you know if your denim is too skinny for you? If your legs feel a bit swollen whenever you sit down, or if or toes start to tingle—that means your jeans are too tight!

Wearing Toxic Cosmetics

You might love your cherry-colored lipstick or ruby blush, but with ingredients like parabens and aluminum, your makeup collection could be poisoning your skin. Using toxic chemicals on your skin means they could possibly enter your bloodstream.

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Many common brands include chemicals that can affect your hormones and even your nervous system. The make-up industry doesn’t have a legal obligation to report health issues to the FDA, which means the health risks could be hefty.

Googling Your Symptoms

How many times has Google given you a grave diagnosis when all you had was a headache? Consulting the internet for medical advice can do more harm than good.

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People take their diagnosis seriously and buy over-the-counter medications that they don’t need that can only mask or worsen their symptoms. You’re better off calling your doctor, who will give you on-the-mark recommendations and sound advice.

Wearing Flip-Flops

Although flip-flops are precisely the opposite footwear from the harmful high heels, they can also cause serious health issues. Because flip-flops have flat soles, your feet could start flattening.

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Inadequate support will cause the feet to slip off, putting extra strain on your ankles. Wear your favorite flip-flops occasionally, not every day, and your body will thank you for it.

Chewing Gum

We all thought we were doing our teeth a solid favor, but chewing gum can cause our teeth to decay and, over time, bring about cavities. Eeek!

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When we chew sugar-sweetened gum, we are essentially drenching our teeth and gums in a tub of sugar. Avoid the rubbery sweet and keep the dentist away.

Pocketing Your Wallet

Stashing a bulky wallet in your back pocket can be a magnet for both pick-pockets and nerve damage. Chiropractors claim that stowing your wallet in a back pocket can cause your pelvis to tilt, putting strain on your ligaments, and making your muscles compensate to try and retain some alignment.

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Try limiting the impact by getting a money clip and storing it in your jacket pocket instead. You might also want to remove all those credit cards you don’t need.

Drinking Tea Before Bed

Were you thinking of winding down with a cozy cup of tea? You might need to rethink that. Tea does offer potent anti-inflammatory blends and can remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents, which is great!

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But that same cup of tea before bed might contain caffeine which will hamper a good night’s rest. Even if you think your “low-caffeine” blend is fair game, just a tiny amount of caffeine can stay in the bloodstream for a fair few hours, making it difficult to get some shut-eye.

Reducing Your Carb Intake

Say it out loud: Carbs are not your enemy. It seems the low-carb trend refuses to roll over. While we should all try to avoid refined carbs, whole grains are actually good for you. Whole unprocessed grains contain a great deal of fiber and can foster beneficial gut bacteria growth.

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As we learn more about the link between gut bacteria (microbiome) and its implications on our health, we also are aware of how important fiber intake is. Try using healthy whole-grain staples like quinoa, millet, or buckwheat in place of pasta or processed cereals.

Sleeping in on Weekends

We’re all guilty of indulging in this seemingly wholesome habit in an attempt to catch up on a sleep deficit we accrued in the week.

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But this isn’t doing you any good and may ruin your sleep schedule. As self-indulgent as it feels to allow a few extra hours of sleep on weekends, it can derail your internal clock and upset your circadian rhythm.

Carrying a Bag on the Same Shoulder

It all started in school when we carried our favorite backpacks over one shoulder, not knowing or even caring how it might impact our posture.

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As the years went by, our bags become heavier and we might start feeling the effects they warned us about. These effects include leaning to one side to offset the extra weight, which can take our spine out of alignment.

Sitting All Day

As modern humans, we barely spend time outside, and spend most of our lives being as passive as possible. With the advent of technology, we’re paid to work at desks, spending multiple hours of our day sitting, and by the time we get home, all we want to do is relax by watching some TV…

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If we’re trying, we might spend two or three hours on our feet, but only half of that is spent exercising, and that’s if we’re trying! Do yourself a favor and stand up whenever you can.

Not Drying Our Hands After Washing

Drying your hands right after washing is critical because, as science would say, damp hands spread around ten times more bacteria than dry hands!

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On the other hand, jet air or warm air dryers can spurt germs all over your hands and then also into the air we breathe. Whenever possible, opt for paper or (regularly washed) fabric towels.

Making Impulse or Emotional Purchases

While online shopping or a spontaneous spree at Target may make you as pleased as punch, it is fleeting, and squandering your hard-worked for funds will have detrimental results in the longer term, eventually leaving you with debt.

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So learn to manage your finances and create your own budget. Tidying up your finances — and spending within your means — will definitely have a positive impact on your life satisfaction.

Picking Your Nose

Let’s be honest, though. Many of us still pick our noses and, it’s not that unusual to see a passerby with their finger up their nose, whether discreetly or not so much. Jokes aside, nose-picking can actually make you sick.

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Not only does this pass on nasty bacteria and unwanted viruses over anything we touch after a flurry of digging for goodies — but we also carry germs from our fingertips into our noses, which is exactly what we don’t want!

Using a Worn-Out Toothbrush

If you’re still using an old toothbrush, that means you’re not doing yourself any favors. Your toothbrush only works when the bristles can scrape your teeth clean.

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However, eventually, the bristles lose their rigidity and become less efficient at eliminating plaque. If the bristles on your toothbrush can no longer stand up straight, that means it’s time to retire it and get a new brush.

Eating Turkey Bacon

Just because something sounds healthier than bacon doesn’t mean it’s actually more nutritious. Turkey bacon is still processed meat — which experts recommend avoiding altogether — that delivers zero grams of fiber.

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Turkey bacon is still high in sodium and saturated fat — two ingredients that will certainly increase your risk of developing heart disease.

Focusing on Cardio

Instead of solely honing in on a single type of exercise, it’s much better to mix things up. Many may want to get fit or tone up, and they often turn to aerobics or the treadmill, but soon find they don’t reach their goals.

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The best to get in shape would be to add in some strength training and weights along with your cardio, this will help you build muscle and also speed up your metabolism.

Weighing Yourself Every Day

Stepping on the scale may be a dreaded necessity for some, but can work for others. The problem with focusing on the number on your scale is that it can drive some people to obsess over a number while ignoring other health markers that don’t show up on the scale.

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Some days you may have gained some water weight and this could derail your motivations, it’s better to also look at your sleep, diet, and overall sense of wellbeing before you overanalyze those numbers.

Peeling Your Fresh Produce

All those special nutrients your body needs tend to be in the skin of your fresh produce, so whether it’s pears or plums, you should actually leave the skin on and get your fiber.

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Most of these whole foods’ antioxidants are in the peel, as is their fiber. So do yourself a favor and leave the peel on next time. Is there anything better than roasted potatoes with crispy skin?

Juice Cleanse

Juice cleanses were all the rage a few years ago, with many thinking it’s a surefire way to jumpstart your health and beyond. But turns out, it could be a terrible idea. Drinking only juiced fruits and vegetables for a few days means a crucial lack of fiber, healthy fats, and protein.

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A juice cleanse will also leave you low on energy and hangry by lunchtime, so while it could be a good idea for one or two days, it’s never a good idea for a prolonged period.

Too Much Cologne or Perfume

We all like a nice whiff of cologne or perfume when walking by someone in the hallway, but every now and then, there are those that have missed the art of subtlety.

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Spritzing something nice should feel refreshing to those around you, and not attack their senses. As with anything, it’s always about the gesture, overdoing it only leaves a bad taste in your mouth, literally!

Not Wearing Clean Socks Every day

Is there anything more embarrassing than visiting your friends’ place, being asked to leave your shoes at the door, and noticing your stinky socks are full of the unholiest of holes?

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The odor usually means there are bacteria involved, and nobody wants bacteria on their feet or in their shoes. The best way to avoid this conspicuous scenario is to wear a clean pair of good socks, like a responsible adult. Try doing this every day for the best results!

Leaving Food in Your Fridge

Ok, at a certain point we all need to open that refrigerator door and sift through the unsettling situation inside. It’s definitely not going to get better with every passing day, so find your big-girl/boy pants if you must, and get rid of whatever it is that’s stinking up your refrigerator.

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Now, each time you start getting lazy with cleaning your fridge, just think back to how bad this was and promise to be more diligent when it comes to neglecting your leftovers.

Always Eating Breakfast

Breakfast tends to inspire radical opinions, but the evidence remains clear, there is nothing exceptional about your first meal and it really doesn’t matter whether you chose to skip it or indulge.

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As long as you’re following a healthy meal plan and eating when you are hungry, then you should be fine. If you happen to not feel that hungry around the time you wake up, skipping breakfast won’t make you overeat later in the day.

Buying From the Front

More often than not, shelf stockers are told to pack the freshest foods in the back so that the food that’s about to expire is packed in front, so if you find your desired item is close to its expiry, you could root around and check the items behind it.

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That’s how you win this grocery game. This literally applies to all aisles and shelves in the store, but it’s most important in the meat and dairy section as those expire soonest.

Taking your Smartphone to Bed

Truth be told, your smartphone is also pretty sneaky when it comes to your health. Screens from our phones emit blue light which can throw off our natural circadian rhythms and frustrate any attempts we make at a good nights’ rest. This blue light suppresses our body’s production of melatonin, which is in charge of controlling our sleep-wake cycle.

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Inadequate melatonin can induce insomnia, which causes daytime irritation and sleepiness. Cutting off screen-time at least two hours before bedtime (or even half an hour) can help. This warning also applies to TVs and tablets, which can emit blue light too.

Using a Dirty Sponge

When is the last time you switched out your dish sponge? Longer than you can even remember? According to the cleaning experts, you should only use your sponge for one month.

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To keep your sponge fresh, consider popping it in the dishwasher or cleaning your dish sponge with detergent and hot water. Remember to separate your sponges for other household cleaning projects.

Venting

We might think that complaining about our lousy days to friends can help release pent-up emotions. But instead of releasing those unwanted feelings, research has proved venting is more likely to magnify our already unhappy mood.

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While we may believe that letting it out can help minimize our stress, rehashing difficulties may actually be amplifying our negative emotions and holding onto negative emotions.

Washing Your Hair Every Day

Those with long locks might be washing their hair more than they need to — maybe even more than they should. In general, all hair types can benefit from being washed every other day instead of every day.

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Many shampoos contain harsh chemicals that strip your hair of its natural oils and cause it to be more brittle. So, we can better preserve our natural oils by washing our hair less often.

Internally Replaying Stressful Events

Ruminating about a stressful experience from your past — whether one year ago or one hour ago — isn’t great for your mental well-being.

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A recent study found that thinking about an event compulsively leads to increased symptoms of depression. Rather than living in the past, commit more effort to something worthwhile—like making preparations for the future or living in the moment.