Stop Doing This. Right NOW.

Most of us are aware of unhealthy habits. We are constantly bombarded with messages about not smoking, not drinking too much, drinking enough water, and getting enough exercise.  So, you think - I don't smoke, I drink water, and I exercise - I'm the picture of health!  Unfortunately that's not always the case.  There are little things we do every single day that can either be a boon or a bust to your health.  Ready to make a small tweak to your habits? Learn more about the top daily habits that are wrecking your health: 

1. Wearing the Wrong Shoes

A bad pair of shoes doesn’t just lead to foot pain, it can also cause problems throughout your body. Your feet are the foundation of your body, and if they're not properly supported you can have problems anywhere from the bottom of your feet up through your neck. Certainly nobody wears stilettos for comfort, but constantly wearing high-heels can cause major back pain. High-heels shift your weight forward towards the ball of your foot and over time exaggerate the curve in your lower back. This can lead to weakness of lower back and abdominal muscles, not to mention leg and hip pain.  Ladies, I’m not just looking at you here - I see plenty of men wearing shoes that cramp their toes and don’t provide adequate arch support. I also see both men and women who don’t wear the proper type of athletic shoes suited to their build and type of activity. Get out of the wrong shoe habit: make sure you switch your shoe type frequently; if you walk or stand for long periods of time, think about stepping out of your heels or unsupportive shoes. Obtain professional gait analysis to ensure you’re wearing the proper type of athletic shoes; these are often done complimentary at most athletic shoe stores. 

2. Carrying Your Bag On The Same Shoulder

I see a LOT of people with shoulder and hip pain; often someone will come in for a shoulder pain treatment, get pain relief, then sling a heavy bag or purse over their shoulder on their way out. Most of my patients admit they favor carrying their bag or purse on one shoulder over the other. I’m just as guilty of this - I would sling my heavy work bag over my left shoulder 90% of the time - until one day my left shoulder started hurting for no reason and didn’t stop. I may look fly AF with my bag over one shoulder, but how cute will I be rocking a Quasimodo-style hunchback? I had to give up the one-shoulder look and find a more practical option. Over time, always carrying your bag on one shoulder causes misalignment in your shoulders and hips, not to mention wreaks havoc on your neck and back. Moreover, most of us carry around way more stuff than we need (guilty! who says you don’t need ballet slippers in your yoga bag?) Try to switch shoulders every time you pick up your bag; in the meantime, clean it out and lighten the load. If possible, consider using a backpack, a cross-body bag, or a bag with multiple strap options you can switch between. 

3. Chewing gum all the time

Ah yes, the gum-chewing that “4 out of 5 dentists recommend” - this must be why I see so many people constantly chewing gum. I like a fresh minty feeling just as much as the next person, but if you’re a chronic gum-chewer, consider the side effects. Constantly chewing gum can lead to inflammation of the temporal-mandibular joint (the dreaded “TMJ” syndrome), can over-tighten jaw muscles, and increase the chance that you grind your teeth at night. If you must chew gum, chew a *very tiny* piece for no more than 10 minutes after mealtimes. Give your jaw a break; your teeth and TMJ will thank you.

4. Holding Your Urine

It might not feel like it, but the adult bladder can hold as much as half a litre (2 cups) of pee before you'll feel the need to 'go'. Your body knows how much is in there because your bladder wall is filled with tiny receptors that send a message to your brain when the bladder reaches capacity. Fortunately, most of us have full control over our bladder function, so when we receive this message, we can choose to either relieve ourselves right away, or hold it because we are in the middle of something. But what exactly are we doing to our body when we hold all that pee in? You are risking weakening your pelvic floor muscles, bladder pain, urgency, as well as urinary incontinence.  Bottom line: get up and GO when you feel the urge.