You may not be a smoker, and you may keep your drinking to a minimum, but that doesn’t quite mean you don’t have any unsavory habits that can negatively affect your health. The truth is, you could be making tons of mistakes that are aging you significantly. Before you reach for the anti-wrinkle cream and skin-firming solutions, you should take a look at the way you’re living today, and how your current actions could be making you look a lot older than you really are. Check to see if you partake in any of these five habits, for you could be aging yourself a lot faster than you think.
You’ve heard it a thousand times before — not getting enough sleep is the worst thing in the world for your health, and it can even contribute to diseases later on. You may think you’re fine on the five hours of sleep you got last night, but sleeping too little can do serious damage to your skin, which can make you look way older than you are. According to skin care specialist Annmarie Gianni’s blog, studies have shown those who don’t get quality sleep each night had increased signs of skin aging, including fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and reduced elasticity. For those with acne, getting enough rest is particularly important to preserve a youthful look, as the skin heals when you’re asleep. Start getting at least seven to eight hours per night to ensure youthful skin.
There are plenty of things that pregnant women admit that they do not know about pregnancy. They might not be sure when they will feel their baby move, when prenatal care moves to every week or even when their belly will show, but there is one thing that almost every pregnant woman believes that she knows for sure: Childbirth is the worst pain you could ever feel.
You don’t have to look too far to find some reasons why this is believed. Every reality television show about labor and birth is quick to highlight the images of women, typically writhing in pain, during labor. Certainly this makes for great TV, so why wouldn’t they show it.
Now before you think I’m completely out of touch, I think there is pain in childbirth. Having had eight children, I’ve certainly been around the block myself once or twice. I’ve had short labors, long (45+ hours) labors. I’ve had an epidural and I’ve had a natural birth. I’ve had forceps. One of my births was twins, weighing in at a combo of almost 16 pounds. My biggest baby was 10 pounds, 2 ounces. This doesn’t include all of the various labors I’ve attended as a doula.
My point here is that there are things that do hurt more than having a baby. When I asked some women recently what they thought hurt worse than giving birth, here is what they came up with:
- Broken Bones
More than one person when asked about what hurts more than labor mentioned this as more painful. One person mentioned a broken ankle specifically. The only bone I’ve really ever broken was my clavicle and it certainly hurt a lot. It effected my ability to move my arm, my shoulder, and even turn my head. It lasted a lot longer than even my longest labor. I would think that something like a broken ankle would be even worse, given the wear and tear of having to use crutches.
- Migraine Headache
Migraines also topped the list of a couple of respondents. Having a migraine can last for days. Many sufferers report that the pain is unrelenting. There are also symptoms that come with a migraine like nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, etc. This can make your normal activities nearly impossible to complete.
- Kidney Stones
These were mentioned as well. Kidney stones have to be passed. I did have a friend who had experienced both childbirth and kidney stones. She swore up and down that childbirth was easier than the kidney stones. Though I’ve also heard others say it’s about equal, stating that, “Kidney stones are as close as a man can come to giving birth.”
Gallstones can also cause quite a bit of pain. While there are pain medications and nutritional avoidance of offending foods, this can plague you for a long time or come in waves of attacks. The moms who listed this said they’d be doubled over and nothing would really touch the pain.
- Bladder Infections
Bladder infections and urinary tract infections also made the list. This searing pain was described as 10 times worse than having a baby. The commenter mentioned the ring of fire that last for days. That hurts just to think about…
- Root Canal
I know it’s common to mention dental work and the pain of childbirth, but it did come up. To those who like to say that you wouldn’t have a root canal without pain relief, why would you have a baby that way? I’d like to point out that our bodies weren’t meant to have root canals, but that they were designed to give birth. That said, as in birth, sometimes the pain relief doesn’t work and you can feel the root canal. There is also the aftermath of the root canal to deal with, which can affect your daily activities for a couple of days.
Having any type of surgery can be more painful than giving birth vaginally. Cesarean surgery was specifically mentioned as was surgery in general. Obviously some surgeries are bigger than others, just as some labors are more painful than others, but the simple fact of cutting into the body can be very painful to recover from, even if you don’t fell the pain at the time of the incision.
You know the feeling: You fall asleep feeling fine — feeling good, even — and wake up with the sense that it’ll take a crane to get you out of bed. Everything hurts in the morning, and it’s not just because you slept in a wonky position or on a lousy pillow.
Turns out our bodies seem to suppress inflammation when we sleep, leading to worse pain when we wake up and the inflammation is, so to speak, turned back “on,” according to a new University of Manchester study published in the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
MORE: 7 reasons you’re tired all the time
The researchers examined human and mice cells with the inflammatory disease rheumatoid arthritis. Patients with RA have long known that their symptoms can vary throughout the day, with many afflicted with greater joint stiffness upon waking. But little is known about how our circadian rhythms — our inner clocks that tell us when to go to bed and when to get up — control this swinging pendulum of pain. The UK researchers wanted to figure that out. (Heal your whole body with Rodale’s 12-day liver detox for total body health.)
What they found was that when mice were exposed to constant light, their paws were more swollen and there were higher levels of some markers of inflammation in their blood. In darkness, those inflammatory markers decreased. “At nighttime, those inflammatory markers go down but gradually rise up again in the morning,” says University of Manchester researcher and study author Julie Gibbs, PhD. She cautions that this particular study didn’t examine pain, but if you were to assume that with greater inflammation comes more pain, “you would expect more inflammation in the joints and increased pain levels in the morning,” she says.
MORE: 60-second fix for a stiff neck
Very specific proteins in our cells govern the ticking of our circadian clocks, Gibbs explains, and it seems that one of the proteins involved in our inner clockwork, called cryptochrome, also influences inflammation. With more research, she believes experts might be able to predict at what time of day anti-inflammatory meds might be most helpful or even develop treatments that could target this protein to reduce inflammation, although that’s still a long way off, she says.
I was within 15 pounds of my ideal weight. I had a little excess fat I wanted to get rid of. I call it the old lady paunch for the one spot. It is right at my belly button. I have tried and tried to lose that paunch but can’t. I exercise and am strong and fit. I eat right and have muscle. And I have that fat at my belly and a little at my hips. I figured I would give cool sculpting in Los Angeles a try. It seemed much more appealing to me than having liposuction.
I did not want any surgeries. The cool sculpting freezes your fat cells. It works best for those who are almost where they want to be for their weight.
We’ve all been told that we should get eight hours of sleep per night. This information is an average and might not be a perfect fit for everyone. Some may need more sleep and others less, and our needs may actually change through the years. Thus, the oft-recited advice that every person needs eight hours of sleep a night is a myth.
Short Sleepers vs. Long Sleepers
Everyone has a sleep need that is likely determined by genes, or genetic information.
This need is the amount of sleep our body requires for us to wake up feeling refreshed. This difference likely occurs across a spectrum, with “short-sleepers” needing less than average and “long-sleepers” needing more.
Changing Needs Across a Lifetime
The average amount of sleep needed changes over our lifetime, especially during childhood and adolescence. Although there are averages, there will be individuals who fall both above and below these needs, including the following groups of people:
- Infants (3-11 months) need 14-15 hours
- Toddlers (12-35 months) need 12-14 hours
- Preschoolers (3-6 years) need 11-13 hours
- School age (6-10 years) need 10-11 hours
- Adolescents (11-18 years) need 9.25 hours
- Adults need an average of 8 hours
- Elderly adults may need less sleep
What happens if we don’t meet our sleep needs? By not getting enough sleep, we accumulate a sleep debt that we usually have to “pay off.” This pay-off might involve extra sleep by napping, going to bed early, or sleeping in to catch up.
If we sleep less than our body needs to feel refreshed and don’t catch up we might experience:
- daytime sleepiness
- difficulty concentrating
- poor thinking
- increased risk of accidents
- other health complications (i.e., weight gain)
How Can I Determine My Sleep Needs?
There is an easy way to determine how much sleep you need.
Follow these steps:
- Set aside a week or two that you can focus on your sleep and not allow disruptions or changes to your sleep schedule
- Select a typical bedtime and stick with it, night after night
- Allow yourself to sleep in as long as you want, awakening without an alarm clockin the morning
- After a few days, you will have paid off your sleep debt, and you will begin to approach the average amount of sleep that you need
- Once you determine your need, try to set your bedtime at an hour that will allow you the sleep you need, while still waking up in time to start your day
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
It’s extremely important that your body gets the sleep it needs. Chronic, or long-term, sleep deprivation is linked to a variety of problems that impair your health, safety, productivity, mood, and more.
Here are some possible repercussions secondary to sleep deprivation:
- decreased alertness
- decreased performance
- memory impairment
- cognitive impairment
- injury on the job
- injuries due to automobile crash or other heavy machinery
Newer versions of the Pill may raise a woman’s risk of dangerous blood clots even more than older versions, a large U.K. study suggests.
Women taking any combined oral contraceptive pills – containing both estrogen and progestin – were three times as likely to develop a blood clot in a deep vein in the leg or pelvis, compared to women not on the Pill. The risk was higher still with all the newer Pill versions except one, researchers found.
“This association is between 1.5 and 1.8 times higher for the newer formulations,” said lead author Yana Vinogradova, a research fellow in medical statistics at the University of Nottingham.
The blood clots, known as venous thromboembolisms (VTEs), are common and can be deadly if the clot dislodges and travels to the heart, brain or lungs. They are more common among women taking estrogen medicines, and the risk is even higher if the woman smokes, according to the National Library of Medicine.
But the overall risk of a blood clot for women on any combined oral contraceptives is still relatively low: between six and 14 extra cases per year per 10,000 women taking the drugs, Vinogradova told Reuters Health by email.
Newer combined pills, including the progestins drospirenone, desogestrel, gestodene or cyproterone acetate, have been suspected of carrying an even higher clot risk compared to older versions that include levonorgestrel and norethisterone. But most past studies have been small or flawed by not taking into account certain other risk factors for clots, the study team writes in BMJ.
To assess VTE risk in women on both older and newer-generation pills, the researchers analyzed U.K. general practice databases covering the period between 2001 and 2013. They found 5,062 cases of VTE among women ages 15 to 49, and matched each of these women with up to five women who did not have a blood clot in the same year, but were of similar age and treated at a similar medical practice.
The researchers accounted for smoking, alcohol consumption, race, body mass index and other health problems, and found that women taking any combined oral contraceptive were almost three times as likely to suffer a blood clot as those not taking contraceptive pills.
Women taking older-generation drugs were about 2.5 times as likely to have a blood clot as women not taking any oral contraceptives over the previous year. Those taking newer types of combined pills were about four times as likely to suffer a clot compared to women not taking oral contraceptives.
The exception among the newer formulations was norgestimate, with a risk profile more similar to the older drugs.
The results would translate to a number of “extra” cases of VTE among women taking the combined pills versus women not on the Pill. These numbers were lowest for the older drug levonorgestrel and the newer norgestimate, with an additional six cases per 10,000 women per year, and highest for two newer drugs, desogestrel and cyproterone, with an extra 14 cases each.
“However,” Vinogradova noted, “these increased risks of (venous thromboembolism) associated with both the older and the newer pills are lower than those associated with pregnancy,” which may increase clot risk tenfold.
Is your brain sabotaging your diet? Experts say it plays a big role in how and when we eat. So how can we train our brain to make healthier decisions? From turning down the music to stumping your sense of smell, here are 8 ways to stop your head from messing with your waistline… Sure, spending time at the gym and counting calories are good for keeping the scale steady. But experts say the key to hitting your goal weight could be all in your head. That’s because your brain – not your stomach – dictates what and how much you should eat. “Many of the hormones that impact your appetite and weight are either produced or regulated by your brain,” says Svetlana Kogan, M.D., board-certified internist and founder of the medical facility Doctors At Trump Place in New York City. “So it’s smart for women to step in and stop things like overeating at the source: their head.” From stimulating appetite to directing eating habits, your brain is in the driver’s seat when it comes to your diet.
1. Don’t pump up the volume.
Loud music (88 decibels, or dB) ramps up signals in your brain to drink almost 30% faster than you would if the music were at decibels you didn’t have to shout over (72 dB), according to a 2008 study by the University of Ulster in Ireland.
The scientists found that the louder the music blared, the longer people hung out at a bar, and the more booze they guzzled.
The fix: Wear a watch.
Ever notice the lack of clocks in clubs? It’s for a good reason. The owners don’t want you to realize how much time – or money – you’re spending.
The scientists suspect that exposure to loud music changes your perception of how quickly time is passing. So slipping a watch around your wrist or even setting an alarm on your cell phone to go off once an hour will help you stay focused on how long you’ve been out.
This awareness can make you consume fewer liquid calories, says lead researcher Nicolas Guéguen, Ph.D.
2. Stop thinking about losing weight.
A day of dodging cakes and chips in the breakroom just might make you fall off the diet wagon.
Dieters, or people trying not to think about food, are 30% more likely to give into impulses at the grocery store, according to 2008 University of Minnesota research. Their theory: Concentrating all that willpower on not eating leaves you vulnerable to impulse buys and, subsequently, food splurges. The fix: To keep from binging in the checkout line, shop for groceries early in the day, advises lead researcher, Kathleen Vohs, Ph.D., professor of consumer psychology at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. Your self-control will be stronger and fresher because it hasn’t been tested that day. Still, have an “if/then” plan for making healthier choices when cravings hit. “If you’re hungry or fixated on food while shopping, [tell yourself that] you’ll grab a piece of fruit, a handful of protein-packed almonds or a similar low-calorie snack,” Vohs says.
3. Thinking you’re fat makes you heavier.
When Harvard researchers told women working in hotels that their activity satisfied the U.S. surgeon general’s recommendation for an active lifestyle, they lost weight and lowered their blood pressure, BMI and waist-to-hip ratio. Women performing the same tasks who weren’t told their activity qualified didn’t lose weight. A few even gained a couple of pounds (over 30 days). The researchers speculate that mind-set determined weight loss.
There’s no denying to the many bacon lovers that bacon is delicious. But it’s not very good for you — in fact, it’s one of the worst things you can eat. One average serving of bacon — three slices — contains 435 milligrams of sodium — about one-fifth of the average adult’s daily allowance [source: Magee].
An average healthy adult eating a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet should aim for 45 to 65 percent of those calories to come from carbohydrates, preferably unrefined (and remember, carbs include all the sugar you eat, not just bread and pasta). You also want no more than 66 grams of fat (including less than 20 grams of saturated fat) and no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day [source: Klein, Jacob].
If your daily diet is full of junk foods such as fried foods, processed deli meats, bacon and soda, you have an increased risk of some major health conditions — and if you eat these kinds of foods six days a week, you increase your risk of stroke by 41 percent compared to if you only indulged in them once a month [source: AP].
Following nutrition guidelines and eating healthy foods does make a difference. People who eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day live longer than people who don’t. But even if you’d rather have a slice of apple pie than an apple, you can make healthier choices, at least avoiding the foods you know absolutely aren’t good for you [source: Paddock].
We know that moment all too well: Our throat starts to get scratchy, our nasal cavities tingle, a throbbing pain takes up residence in between our temples—it’s official: A cold is brewing.
Now that we’re in the deep throes of fall, we’re constantly reminded of the impending doom of a cold with each sneeze, sniffle, and dreaded nose-blow that happens around us. And while we do our best to keep our immune systems strong and on the defense, sometimes a cold wiggles its way in and is too big for our britches (er, body) to stave off.
Taryn Forrelli, ND, Olly’s head of innovation and certified naturopath, says to go heavy on the garlic when you feel a cold coming on. “Garlic is a powerful antioxidant with antimicrobial, antiviral, and antibiotic properties. It also helps with decongestion associated with colds and flus. Aim for eating one small clove every three to four hours. Smear it on toast with a bit of olive oil or honey if you can’t stomach it straight.” Our tip: Just be sure to have breath mints at the ready.
Forrelli also says to aim for 500 to 1000 mg of vitamin C per day while fighting off sniffles. “An easy and tasty way to make sure you’re getting enough of this juicy antioxidant is taking a vitamin C–rich supplement like Olly‘s Ultimate Immunity gummy, which is a blend of 700 mg of vitamin C, zinc, and beta glucans for immune system support.” While you may be familiar with vitamin C and zinc as cold-fighting powerhouses, get to know beta-glucan. In a 2008 study, one group that took a supplement with beta-glucan had 23% fewer upper respiratory infections than the other group that took a placebo.
What are the most important things you need in a workout? The two that will give you the most bang for your buck are time-efficient, effective exercises. We’re busier than ever and most of us don’t have an hour or more to work each muscle group 2 to 3 times a week, as well as fit in another hour of cardio, as the guidelines suggest.
The good news is, you don’t need hours to get in a quality, total body workout that includes cardio, strength, balance, core, and stability training.
These exercises are exactly what you need to work your entire body in a short, intense workout. These moves:
- Target multiple muscle groups – The more muscles you work, the higher the intensity and the more calories you burn both during and after your workouts.
- Functional – Your muscles don’t work in isolation in the real world, so why should you work them that way in your workouts? These moves mimic the real-life activities we do on a regular basis, from picking up groceries to pushing open doors while our hands are full.
- Efficient – Any time you can work more than one muscle at a time, you shave off precious time from your workout, making a busy schedule one more obstacle you can cross off your list.
- Intense – If you’re short on time, the one thing you want to focus on is intensity. The harder you work, the greater the afterburn.
You can take these exercises and add them to your usual workouts or, if you really want a challenge, put them all together in a killer circuit workout.
These are advanced moves, so watch yourself and be sure to see your doctor if you have any conditions, injuries, etc.
Dumbbells, a kettlebell (use a dumbbell if you don’t have one), and a resistance band.
- Start with at least 5 minutes of cardio to warm up.
- Do each exercise for 30-60 seconds, one after the other, and try not to rest between exercises.
- Repeat the entire circuit once for a shorter workout, or up to 3 or more times for a longer, more intense workout.
- End your workout with a cool down and a stretch.
guru Richard Simmons was hospitalized over the weekend after someone at his home reportedly noticed he was exhibiting “bizarre” behavior. Simmons was later released and was simply suffering from a case of dehydration, he told TMZ. Now, he says, he’s feeling better after receiving fluids.
We’re all aware of the obvious signs of dehydration—yellow pee, feeling thirsty, and dry mouth—but what about the less obvious ones, like acting strange? Experts say they’re equally important, if not more so because they can be a sign that your dehydration has progressed beyond normal levels like when you exercise vigorously without drinking enough water.
“Our bodies need water and other fluids to function properly, and if you become dehydrated, some of these processes may not function normally,” women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D., tells SELF. “Severe dehydration can have dire consequences.” Those consequences can include heat stroke or exhaustion, seizures, and even death in the most extreme cases, according to Mayo Clinic.
But drinking enough water is harder than it sounds, especially during the summer. “It’s challenging to stay hydrated, even when you’re healthy,” Sanford Vieder, D.O., medical director of Lakes Urgent Care in West Bloomfield and Livonia, Michigan, tells SELF. “The vast majority of us don’t drink as much water as we should.” For women, that means drinking around 9 cups of fluids every day, according to Mayo Clinic (mostly water is best, but that recommendation includes all fluids). And, if you’re sweating a lot, you’ll probably need more.
So, what are those less obvious signs of dehydration? Experts break them down:
1. You have bad breath.
This seems weird, but bear with us here. Saliva has bacteria-fighting properties, Wider explains. If you’re dehydrated, your saliva levels go down and so does your mouth’s ability to fight odor-causing germs. If you notice that you suddenly have bad breath for no reason, try drinking more water regularly. That alone may clear it up.
2. You feel confused.
Feeling confused or out of it can be a sign of a few things. But if you haven’t had a lot to drink recently, it can definitely be a tip-off that you’re dehydrated, Vieder says. It’s usually not something that comes on suddenly, unless you’re working up a sweat on a hot day, he adds.
3. You suddenly have food cravings.
Your liver needs water to function properly. When it doesn’t get it, it signals to your brain that you need fuel, Wider says. Instead of craving water, though, it tends to make you think you’re hungry, causing food cravings.
4. Your skin doesn’t bounce back.
If you grab the skin on the back of your hand, pull it up, and let it go, it should quickly snap back into place. But this doesn’t usually happen with people who are dehydrated. “If it stays tented [or resumes its shape more slowly than usual], that’s a really good sign of being dehydrated,” Vieder says. Without enough moisture, your skin loses some of the elasticity it needs to snap back.
5. You stop sweating.
It seems like this would be a sign that you’re not dehydrated, but Anthony J. Brutico, D.O., medical director of the Emergency Department at New Jersey’s Newton Medical Center, tells SELF it can be a marker that you have heat exhaustion or heat stroke. This typically happens because your “volumes of fluid are so low that the body is trying to hold on to what you have,” he explains. If this happens to you, you need to get help immediately and see a doctor or other medical professional.
Although beef is a good source of protein and micronutrients, including iron and vitamin B-12, eating beef does have some potential drawbacks when it comes to your health. The more beef you eat, the more you’ll raise your risk for certain health conditions and, if you don’t take proper precautions, you may also put yourself at risk for foodborne illnesses. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up beef, but you may want to consider eating it less often.
Beef Nutrition Drawbacks
- Beef can be high in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, so it can increase your risk of heart disease and other health problems. Eat just one 3-ounce serving of roasted, large end rib roast, which is about the size of a deck of cards, and you’ll consume 300 calories, 37 percent of the daily value for total fat, 48 percent of the DV for saturated fat and 24 percent of the DV for cholesterol. Other cuts to avoid include braised chuck blade roast, braised whole brisket and braised chuck end pot roast. Choose a serving of roasted eye round steak instead because it only has 170 calories, 12 percent of the DV for fat, 15 percent of the DV for saturated fat and 23 percent of the DV for cholesterol.
Potential Health Risks
- Both processed and unprocessed red meat can increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in “Current Atherosclerosis Reports” in December 2012. Another study, published in “Archives of Internal Medicine” in April 2012, examined more than 37,000 people who were tracked for 22 years. They found that those in this group who ate higher amounts of red meat were more likely to develop cancer or heart disease. The authors noted that if participants had cut back on red meat, eating no more than about 1.5 ounces each day, it might have reduced deaths by more than 9 percent for men and 7 percent for women.
Beef Safety Issues
- Beef can be contaminated with organisms that cause foodborne illnesses, including salmonella, Escherichia coli, Listeria and Staphylococcus aureus. Handling your beef properly and cooking it thoroughly can minimize this risk. Thaw frozen beef in the refrigerator or by using the microwave on a low setting; don’t leave it out on the counter. Steaks and roasts should be cooked to a final temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and ground beef or organ meats should be cooked to at least 160 degrees. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking to keep them safe until you reheat them.
Minimizing the Risks of Eating Beef
Eat other forms of protein more often, perhaps having only one 3-ounce serving of beef every other day. When you do have beef, choose one of the leaner cuts, which include flank steak and cuts including “loin” or “round” in the name, recommends the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Even better, consider purchasing grass-fed beef. An article published in “Mother Earth News” in December 2013 notes that this type of beef has less total fat and more of the B vitamins, vitamin E, lutein, beta-carotene and omega-3 fats than conventionally fed beef.