Health: Fix your mistakes

Did you know you could be putting your health in jeopardy this very second? From sitting to slouching and even the simple act of breathing, check out the five worst health mistakes you are making right now

Incorrect breathing

Breathing is something that most of us do without much thought. However, did you know that there is a "correct" way to breathe, and - more importantly - you are probably not doing it? The fact is, many of us go through life breathing incorrectly, yet experts believe learning to breathe properly could help prevent many conditions including asthma, high blood pressure and anxiety.

Most of us take shallow breaths and breathe from our chests; however, breathing from the abdomen is considered to be healthier as it provides us with more oxygen with each breath. To help boost your physical and mental health, spend some time each day concentrating on your breathing technique, trying to focus on abdominal breathing. Incorporating regular breathing exercises into your routine is a good way to stay energised, healthy and stress-free.

Not drinking enough water

Did you know thirst can be a sign you are already dehydrated? Yet this is something many of us experience on a daily basis, as many people underestimate the importance of drinking enough. However, although feeling thirsty every now and then is unlikely to be a cause for alarm, getting enough fluids is essential for keeping your organs healthy, increasing energy levels, helping detoxify your body, curbing hunger, improving digestion and reducing fluid retention.

Furthermore, drinking water is also one of the cheapest beauty treatments around, helping to promote a clearer, more radiant complexion. Though there is no definitive guideline for how much you should drink, try to have some water to hand - keep a bottle in your bag and on your desk and take regular sips throughout the day.

Poor posture

Shoulder, back and neck problems account for a large percentage of work absence rates, yet much of this is related to poor posture. Many of the physical problems related to poor posture, including headaches and digestive problems as well as back and neck pain, are avoidable and can be alleviated by paying attention to your body's position, particularly while you are sitting at your desk.

Slouching at or hunching over your desk are reasons why office workers in particular suffer so much with back pain. To avoid this, make sure your monitor is high (level with your eyeline) so you are forced to sit upright and with a straight back. Although this will be tiring at first, your body will soon adapt to the position as your core strength improves. You can also improve your core stability and the flexibility of your spine through exercises such as yoga and Pilates, which will improve posture and help prevent back pain and associated health problems.

Sitting down

According to a number of research studies, sitting for long periods of time puts you at risk of dangerous illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes, even if you are otherwise physically active. This is particularly bad news for office workers who are obliged to sit still for prolonged periods of time.

If you spend a lot of time sitting still at work, try to make an effort to move more often throughout the day in any way you can. Have standing meetings, set yourself a reminder to regularly get up and stretch, take more trips to the water cooler, or organise your workspace so things are out of reach. Even the smallest activities can make a difference to your health. You should also make an effort to stay active during your time away from the office; go for a walk, run or exercise on your lunch breaks and keep active throughout your evenings.

Taking on too much With many of us juggling personal commitments alongside heavy workloads, hectic to-do lists are a common feature of most of our lifestyles as we continually try to multi-task and squeeze too much into our days. However, although you may think you are being dynamic and productive, you could be compromising your mental and physical health, as well as the quality of the tasks you are completing.

Not only can multi-tasking lead to stress and anxiety, having a hectic to-do list can cause you to miss out on sleep. Furthermore, a busy lifestyle can lead to erratic eating patterns and a reliance on unhealthy fast foods, and having a busy day can also cause you to miss out on essential breaks, which are good for mental health as well as productivity. To look after your mental and physical health, make a list of tasks and priorities and get rid of any tasks that aren't completely necessary. Also, make sure you take all the breaks you are entitled to and find some time at the end of each day to relax and unwind.

For more lifestyle news see

- Hamilton News

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