5 'Healthy' Lifestyle Habits That Are Prematurely Aging You, MD Says
It's a common goal to pursue daily habits that foster a longer, healthier life. For example, you can keep your body young by including a varied workout regimen, eating a healthy balance of nutritious foods each day, and performing a solid amount of brainwork to challenge yourself.
Listen up, though, because some things you may be doing each day could be aging you faster. And we're not talking about the obvious. In fact, Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM, the Director of Medical Content & Education at Ro, a certified nutrition coach, certified personal trainer, and a member of our Medical Expert Board, tells us that even so-called "healthy" lifestyle habits can prematurely age you if you're doing them repeatedly and excessively.
Dr. Bohl cautions, "If you do too much of the same thing over and over, you miss out on the opportunity to do other things that may also be beneficial for your health (and, in the case of something like your diet, you may actually inadvertently miss out on important things your body needs, like certain nutrients)."
We're here to help with five "healthy" lifestyle habits that are prematurely aging you. "When done improperly or too much, [these habits] might actually be making things worse," Dr. Bohl says. Read on to see if you are doing anything in your daily routine that you may want to reconsider, and for more, don't miss The Best Supplements To Slow Aging, Say Dietitians.
Running is a stellar form of cardio—if you do it right. Dr. Bohl suggests hitting the pavement, and tells us, "Running is an excellent way to combat a sedentary lifestyle, burn calories, improve blood flow and cardiovascular health, build stronger bones and muscles, and more."
The caveat? Be sure to not run too much, wear improper shoes, run on a bad surface, or use poor form. Doing any of these bad habits can increase the chance of injury, such as plantar fasciitis or shin splints.
Dr. Bohl adds, "Whether this actually contributes to premature aging isn't necessarily established, but running can cause inflammation, and if you need to take a break to allow yourself time to heal, you may end up getting less exercise, which could be counterproductive to your goals."
Cutting back on carbs
Many dieters follow plans that cut down the number of carbohydrates they consume, which can be an integral part of reaching a healthy weight. But know that this means reducing carbs such as refined grains and extra sugars, which provide empty calories.
Dr. Bohl warns, "Going completely carb-free, however, isn't a healthy choice. Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients the body needs to survive and are one of the main energy sources for cells. And certain carbohydrates, like fiber, come with added benefits that are important for longevity, including reducing the risk of heart disease and certain cancers."
Washing your face
It's important to maintain a daily skincare regimen. You should wash your face one to two times each day in order to get rid of extra oils and dirt. But cleaning your face too often every day can be damaging to your skin. Overdoing it with cleansing can take away the natural oils in your skin that are necessary to keep it moisturized. Without these oils, your skin can get inflamed and dry.
Dr. Bohl points out, "While this doesn't necessarily have an impact on your longevity, it can cause visible premature aging of the skin, which may be the opposite of what you're trying to achieve by washing."
Relying on products that help improve your posture
Don't sit all day in discomfort. Consider using assistive products that help improve your posture and make you more comfortable—especially if you sit at a desk most days. You can purchase a device that will assist your body to sit correctly. The caveat here? You shouldn't rely on them 24/7.
Dr. Bohl advises, "While these assistive devices can be good training tools that get your body used to sitting in the right position, overly relying on them can sometimes be detrimental to your health. For example, if you continuously use a posture corrector as the primary means of keeping your shoulders in a neutral position instead of slouching, it may end up taking over the role of your muscles that usually do the same thing. Over time, your own muscles can weaken, leading to even worse posture when you're not using the device."
The use of sunblock is truly one of the most crucial habits you can do to avoid skin cancer and photoaging. However, totally staying out of the sun can have a negative impact on your health. Your body needs the sun for vitamin D production in order to control your circadian rhythm (the sleep/wake cycle in your body), and the sun positively affects your mood.
"While there isn't a recommended amount of direct sunlight to get every day due to the risk of skin cancer, occasional exposure can help keep your mood elevated and reduce the risk of vitamin D deficiency," Dr. Bohl explains.