HEALTH REPORT CARD
Forgetting to floss. Sleeping with your contacts in. When it comes to healthy living, nobody’s perfect. But just how harmful are those not-so-great habits? Find out how they measure up.
WALKING IS MY ONLY EXERCISE.
You can feel pretty good about this 011e-as long as you do it enough. Walking at least 3o minutes, five days a week, might reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and breast cancer The reason for the minus, You’re missing out on the benefits of other forms of exercise, says Pantele1mon Ekkekakis, PhD., associate professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University.
I DON’T GET A CHECKUP EVERY YEAR
You’re probably OK, especially if you’re under 50 and healthy-no smoking, lots of fruits and vegetables, daily exercise. ‘The majority of our long-term health depends on our everyday habits,” says Henry Lodge, M.D., professor of rnedicine at Columbia University Medical Center i11 New York. His advice: Aim for a checkup every five years in your 20s, every three in your 30s, and every two in your 40s. Once you hit 50, go annually. “That’s when you can discuss how your diet, stress, and exercise habits may be impacting your risk of heart disease, diabetes, ancl other conditions,” Lodge says. Also go yearly if you have a family history of any of those condinons, regardless of age.
I WEAR FLATS EVERYWHERE
Look, we get you-they’re easy to walk i11, easy to pack. But they’re not easy on your body Especially if you’re doi11g a lot of walking, flats shouldn’t be your everyday shoes, says Megan Leahy, 0.P.tv1., a podiatrist and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association “Tt1ey typically don’t give you support or cushioning,” she says. In flats, your feet are subjected to excess stress and pressure, which can lead to parn in your feet, knees, hips, and back. We’re not saying stilettos are the answer. but you should look tor a heel height of at least I inch. And when you do wear flats, choose shoes witll somewhat rigid soles, which means they provide some support. How to tell? Use the “twist and bend” test: If they twist or bend easily, pick another pair.
l’M TOO TIRED TO WASH MY FACE BEFORE BED
It’s not a life-a11d-deatl1 situation, but it’s not good for your skill, either. Leaving makeup 011 ovemight can cause breakouts or irritate your· skin and cause red, itchy eczema, says cJe1rnatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.O., director of cosmetic.
I DON’T ALWAYS WASH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Chances are you’ll be fi ne, but all produce should get a thorough wash under running water and be dried with a clean cloth or paper towel, says Sonya Angelone, R.D.l\I., a Califomia-based nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This removes any dirt, pesticides, and bacteria. While your body can handle many types of bacteria, certain ones (like listeria and E. coli) can make you seriously ill. The FDA also advises scrubbing firm-skinned produce (like cucumbers and melons) with a clean produce brush. Even produce where you don’t eat the skin should be washed: Bacteria can be transferred from peel to fruit via hands or knives.
I HAVE A GLASS OF WINE EVERY NIGHT – A BIG ONE
A little vino is good for your heart. but the key word here is little. For women that means 110 more than 5 oz. a day. If you’re pouri11g to tl1e rim, that’s closer to 9 oz. “If you end up having two or more glasses a clay, it crosses over to harmful,’ says Henry Lodge, lv1.0., co-author of Younger Next Year. “At that amount, your risk of stroke, dementia, and some forms of cancer all go up.” Protect yourself by being a bit more stingy with your pours. When in doubt, fi II your glass halfway.