7 surprising unhealthy habits (1)

It seems straightforward enough, right? Exercise regularly, eat the right amount of fruit and veg and keep your mind active.. Wrong! There are some everyday habits that we take for granted, that could be undermining our health. Here’s how to turn those health saboteurs into healthy habits.

Leaving your toothbrush in the open
While most of us are guilty of this one, did you know that leaving your toothbrush out on the bathroom sink welcomes all sorts of bacteria? The Academy Of General Dentistry in the US says toothbrushes can easily become contaminated with bacteria – from food particles, contact with skin and splashed water.

Get in the habit of… housing your brush in a cover and popping it away in a cupboard after use. You should also rinse off the bristles after use, shake off excess water and store upright.

Using one chopping board in the kitchen
By only using one chopping board to cut veg, raw meat and other foods you are opening yourself up to a potential cross-contamination of bugs.

Get in the habit of… using separate chopping boards for raw and ready-to-eat foods, and separate boards for raw meat and vegetables. Furthermore, always scrub them with hot water and detergent.

Drinking alcohol close to bedtime
It is thought that a little drink before bedtime can help you dose off quicker but in actual fact while it may make you drowsy initially, it will lead to poor-quality sleep later on. This is because as alcohol is broken down in your body it causes you to sleep less deeply and to wake more frequently.

Get in the habit of… using some relaxation techniques for 30 minutes before you go to bed to calm your mind – like meditating, doing some light stretches in your bedroom or practicing deep breathing.

Resting your handbag on the floor
It might be the last item you thought you’d pick up nasties from, but the truth is you might be carrying more than you realise on your handbag – especially if you place it on the floor in public place or in toilets, where E. coli bacteria is found.

Get in the habit of… holding on to your handbag rather than placing it on the floor or setting it down in public place. It’s also a good idea to clean the bottom of your bag every week with soapy water or anti-bacterial wipes. Just be sure to do a spot test first so as to not damage the material.

Eating on the run
Life can get busy at times and this means snacking in favour of sitting down for a meal can become a habit. The problem with this is that more snacky, on-the-go food items – like snack bars and biscuits and cheese dips – are highly processed and contain empty calories.

Get in the habit of… carrying healthy snacks to eat on the run, such as nuts, fresh fruit, protein bars, pita bread with low-fat dip or high-fibre wholemeal biscuits.

Ignoring persistent pain
Despite 80 per cent of Australians suffering from back pain at some point in their lives, many of us will put up with muscle aches, painful headaches or worse rather than seeking help.

Get in the habit of… seeing a medical professional is any pain persists or become intense. There are many treatments and medications that can help pain.

Skipping check-ups
When was the last time you visited the doctor? Can’t remember? Well, you’re not alone. Research from the Jean Hailes Foundation For Women’s Health found while 72 per cent of men and women have a financial plan, only 42 per cent of Australians plan for their health future.

Get in the habit of… seeing your doctor regularly. At the very least, it’s a chance to chat about your lifestyle, look at what health matters you need to consider at your age and find out what you can do now to reduce any risks.