Everyday Habits Affecting Your Health

You may want to wait a while before stretching in the morning

Woman chewing gum and blowing bubbles
Jovo Jovanovic/Stocksy United

You may eat well, exercise regularly, and get a decent amount of sleep, but chances are you’ve got a few habits that are hurting your health without you knowing it. Here are some hidden health risks caused by everyday behaviors and some simple solutions:

You Chew Gum

If you are a gum chewer and you find yourself with an achy jaw at the end of the day, you might want to ditch the habit. The jaw was designed for chewing food, not gum.

Constant chewing can overexert the joint and cause pain and problems. If the jaw joint pops and clicks when used, it may indicate damage. Take a break from chewing gum, especially if you hear sounds or experience tenderness in your jaw.

You Wear Your Purse the Same Way Every Day

Although it may be fashionable, carrying a heavy bag on the same shoulder every time you wear it can lead to muscular imbalances and pain in the shoulders. This repetitive activity causes the muscles to develop asymmetrically and can lead to chronic discomfort. Alternate shoulders when carrying a bag or purse and lighten the baggage as much as possible.

You Stretch First Thing in the Morning

Stretching your back first thing in the morning can put the discs in your vertebral column at risk. Discs in the spine are hydrated through the night, and this creates pressure on them when you wake up in the morning, making them more prone to injury.

Warm up your back with small activities, such as getting your coffee and brushing your teeth, for about 10 minutes before stretching your muscles out. 

Prolonged Driving Without Breaks

Driving long distances without stopping causes blood to pool in the legs, and this can put you at risk for clotting.

After 100 to 150 miles in the can, take a break and walk around to improve blood flow and reduce the risk of inflammation. Flying long distances can have a similar effect, so be sure to get up and use the bathroom to prevent unnecessary health issues.

You Wear Your Belt Tight

Wearing your belt tight may keep your pants where you want them, but it can backfire and lead to preventable digestive issues. Cinching your waist with a tight belt creates pressure within the abdominal area that can lead to acid reflux (GERD). GERD has an array of symptoms ranging from a bitter taste in the mouth to a burning pain in the chest or difficulty swallowing. Try not to wear your belts any tighter than the waistband of your pants, so that you are able to breathe comfortably.

You Are a Stomach Sleeper

If you sleep on your stomach you are forcing your neck into a tilted back position that can cause pain or numbness in your arms. Your sleeping position may compress nerves in this area, which leads to the pain and discomfort.

Changing this sleeping habit so that the neck is no longer in the tilted back position relieves pressure on the nerves, inhibiting any associated pain.

You Lock Your Knees When Standing

While it may feel easier to stand with your legs straightened completely, it causes your knees to lock and places a great deal of stress on your knee joints. All of your joints are stabilized by surrounding muscles. When you stand with your knees locked you are no longer engaging the muscles around the joint, and therefore more force is placed on the knees. The increased stress on the joint can lead to injury and ensuing pain. Try making a conscious effort to stand with your knees slightly bent.

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