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Congratulations on exercising regularly. But you may be sabotaging this healthy habit by “not eating correctly after a workout to restore nutrients and build muscle,” Rentz says. You also need to sleep enough, “allowing the body to repair and rebuild.” Recovery is crucial and you must not neglect it. You risk serious and painful injuries. Just remember as you exercise that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
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Yes, it is possible to have too much of a good thing, and working out more than what your body can handle is highly detrimental. “You aren’t able to complete your normal routine; you find that you may just be going through the motions with your workout,” Rentz says. “In addition, you may feel sluggish and cloudy headed for the rest of the day. Finally, you start to crave comfort foods, filled with sugary, high carbohydrates, and begin to overeat,” she adds. And if that’s not enough, exercising too much won’t get you the results because your body is overstressed and didn’t have time to recover.
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By using weight machines too often, you’re not using your own body weight to mimic motions that you do throughout the day, Rentz says. That is not helping your body function better. This is also another reason why some doctors don’t recommend seated machine-based exercises. So next time you hit the gym, don’t even look at the squat machine and do lunges with dumbbell weights in your hands instead.
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“Most things in life are fine in moderation,” Rentz says. “However, if counting calories is part of your routine, monitor your cocktail intake to 1x/day, noting that sugary cocktails are really high in calories,” she adds. Ounce for ounce, alcohol has about 100 calories. “So it’s the mixes that add the extra sugar, which can lead to weight gain in the long-term.”
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“[Sugar] leads to weight gain, tooth decay, and so many health problems (hypertension and diabetes, just to name a few)," Rentz says. It’s the one thing she’d tell her clients to avoid at all costs. “Most consume approximately 22 teaspoons a day when we should aim for 6-9 spoons a day,” she says. “Read nutritional labels to make information clear on consumption, and limit soft drinks to a very special occasion.”
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French fries are the second thing Rentz would advise people to steer clear of. They make you tired and sluggish, fat, and put you at risk for heart disease and diabetes, according to studies. A small serving of fries has about 300 calories, mostly coming from fat. The fact that they are usually dipped in corn oil, the worst kind, makes matters even worse. Also, fries have a lot of high glycemic carbs, which result in insulin spikes.
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Drink enough water; it’s that simple. It helps rid the body of waste and toxins, transports oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, and protects every organ. A good tip to know how much water to drink, Rentz says, is to take your body weight in pounds and divide in half. “That’s approximately how many ounces of water you should consume a day.”
Plain water can be boring, so think of alternatives to stay hydrated. “Some beverages can hydrate us faster than others, and this has now been known as the “hydration index,” she adds. “For example, milk has a higher ‘hydration index’ compared to coffee or tea.”
Dr. Steinbauer says it’s also a good idea to take a container of fluid with you. “Keep it at your desk at work, or with you throughout the day. That will remind you to drink, and give you a visual scorecard on how you are doing.”
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Poor quality of sleep can be worse than getting only a few hours of shut-eye. Hitting the snooze button puts more stress on your body because it’s disrupting the process of sleep. That leaves you even more tired. “If the snooze button is really an indicator that you are too exhausted to move, than just reset the alarm,” Rentz says. “If your body can get out of bed once you hear the alarm, avoid at all costs the ‘snooze’ and just put your feet on the floor.”
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“A person who has a treatable chronic condition and chooses to ignore it would qualify as doing the ‘worst thing for themselves,'” Dr. Steinbauer says. “We often see patients who have addiction, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and other treatable illnesses and choose to ignore them,” he adds. In the case of diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, the patient may have few symptoms and the terrible effects do not appear for 10-20 years. “By then, it is too late; the damage is done.”
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Sugary sodas have been losing to diet ones for several years now. Research has proven how unhealthy sugar is. Another recent one made a connection between soda and life expectancy decrease by 4.6 years because the sugar damages telomeres, which affect how cells age. Diet sodas, which can also kill you, taste similar to regular ones because they have artificial sweeteners that play tricks on the brain in a worse way than sugary sodas.
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“If we take the model of other addictions, the basic definition would be ‘continuing a behavior in a compulsive fashion, which has caused adverse outcomes,’” Dr. Steinbauer says. The effects of being a workaholic are far ranging, he adds, but most likely fall into: Overweight or underweight (both are malnutrition), high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke (presumably from high blood pressure), even cancer is associated with more stress. “Work itself doesn’t cause the problem,” he adds. “It is the internal environment of the patient.”
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“Alcohol in moderation can improve blood pressure and lower the chances of heart disease,” Dr. Steinbauer says. “However, if you think you MIGHT be drinking too much, you probably are. In my experience, worrying about drinking is the first sign of having a problem with alcohol,” he adds. There is plenty of research showing how it slowly kills you if you drink excessively. Moderate drinking, one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men, defined by the CDC, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies.
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The best diet in the world is a balanced one. Your body needs healthy carbs and fats to function properly. One-third of daily calories should come from high performance fats. Omega-3 fats in fish, nuts and veggies are crucial. “Low-fat” foods have a lot of sugar, so they can taste the same. And for men, low-fat diets lower testosterone production.
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“Smoking pot is like drinking alcohol,” Dr. Steinbauer says. “In moderation, I do not think it is more harmful than having a drink. In excess, marijuana, like other drugs and alcohol, has a syndrome of overuse that is harmful to the user,” he adds. Pot smokers won’t get cirrhosis, but they may have more lung disease. In addition, a chronic apathy and lack of energy seem to set in.
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You may be sick and not even know it. If something out of the ordinary bothers you, a doctor’s visit is a good idea. “Don’t be afraid to come to the doctor,” Dr. Steinbauer says. “If something about your health is worrying you, come and see us. Sometimes people think ‘it’s nothing, I don’t want to waste the doctor’s time or waste my time,’ but if you are worried about something, it is NOT a waste of time to go to the doctor.
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If you want to stay in bed all day, you may be suffering from depression, according to Dr. Steinbauer. But if you just don’t go outside, you are missing your vitamin D boost from sunshine. About 20 minutes of sunshine per day is recommended, he adds. Some symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include fatigue, depression, sweating, and chronic pain.
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The most common mistake people make, according to Dr. Elizabeth Hale, spokeswoman for the Skin Cancer Foundation and board-certified dermatologist, is thinking that they don’t need sunscreen. It is not true that you only need to apply it only at the beach. Research has shown that most skin damage is the result of incidental sun exposure – that’s when you’re pretty much everywhere but the beach and have not put sunscreen on. “90 percent of premature skin aging is caused by overexposure,” she adds. “Put sunscreen on no matter what.” The UV rays penetrate the clouds and windows so they can still harm you even when you think they can’t.
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A 2011 study has found that people who spent at least four hours in front of a screen every day had a 48 percent greater risk of dying from any cause than people who spent less than two hours. Put the phones away when you go to bed. Your body needs darkness to produce melatonin, which puts you to sleep.