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Daily Habits That Can Ruin Your Health

Daily Habits That Can Ruin Your Health

By Stacey Feintuch

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Yes, you might think some minor habits aren't a big deal. But certain things you do every day are slowly taking a toll on your body. Here are habits that are secretly damaging your health that you need to banish ASAP.

Skipping flossing or brushing

We've all been guilty of going to bed without brushing or flossing. We figure one time won't do any damage. It's doing more harm than you think if you're making a regular habit of not paying attention to your chompers. The American Dental Association encourages brushing twice daily and flossing once a day to help prevent the risk of all oral infections. 

Watching too much TV

You sit in bed every night, emptying your DVR. Yes, your thumb may be getting a workout. But, the more television you watch, the less physical activity you get. And that increases your odds of being overweight and developing type 2 diabetes. If you have the urge to binge watch, exercise as you do so, walking in place or doing sit-ups. Vacuum or dust during commercials to help burn calories.

Read about 5 Daily Moments to Make Better Decisions for Your Health.

Staring at a computer screen all day
Step away from your desk for the sake of your health. The average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer in the office or working from home, says the American Optometric Association. Staring at a computer screen for a long time can lead to eye strain and other visual issues. Alleviate digital eye strain, says the AOA, by following the 20-20-20 rule. Take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.

Find out if you have computer vision syndrome. 

Snacking mindlessly
You open the pantry and shove your hand into a bag of chips and box of cookies. Mindless overeating can lead to unhealthy extra pounds. When you're too heavy, you're prone to diabetes, heart disease and other health conditions. Pay attention to your hunger cues, eating only when your body is physically hungry. You should be eating because you're hungry, not as an outlet if you're bored, stressed, angry or sad.

Check out these 5 Easy Ways to Curb Mindless Snacking.

Not applying sunscreen daily
Sunscreen isn't just something that should be used when you're poolside. The American Academy of Dermatology says sunscreen use can help prevent skin cancer by protecting you from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of age, gender or race. In fact, it's estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Use sunscreen every day if you'll be outside. The sun emits harmful ultraviolet rays year-round. Even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of those UV rays can penetrate your skin. Snow, sand and water increase the need for sunscreen because they reflect the sun's rays.

Carrying a heavy bag

Big, heavy bags are the norm for many women. They're a fashion statement and they help lug the day's essentials. But it's not doing your body any good carrying an overloaded purse, especially on one shoulder. You're disturbing the angle of your neck, which can put pressure on certain nerves. That pressure may lead to tingling and numbness. The American Chiropractic Association recommends that your bag weigh no more than 10 percent of your body weight. Alternate which arm you carry the bag on from day to day—or, better yet, use a backpack.

Sleeping in your contact lenses
If you've ever slept in your contact lenses, you've likely had to struggle to get the shriveled up lenses out of your eyes in the morning.  And you're not alone. A report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that sleeping in lenses was the most common offense reported by contact lens wearers. The Cleveland Clinic says sleeping in contact lenses increases your risk for eye infections, irritates your eyes and causes problems with your cornea. Some contact lenses are approved for "extended wear," meaning you can wear them for several days  at a time. But many experts still recommend removing them at night—or at least some nights.  

Find out about 7 Important Things Every Contact Lens Wearer Must Know.

Wearing shoes that don't fit
You buy those gorgeous heels that are just a bit too snug, figuring they'll stretch eventually. Spending the day in footwear that is too big or too small might not seem like a big deal. But doing so can lead to serious problems. It's especially concerning for elderly people who may be at risk from falls when their shoes don't fit. Or for people with diabetes who are a greater risk of foot ulcers from pressure and rubbing. Go to a shoe store and get sized by a professional if you're unsure if your shoes fit right. Your shoe size changes as you age and can be affected by pregnancy hormones or medications that make you retain water.