Wellness Wednesday: Your Health And Wellness Myths Busted
In the online age, misinformation and myths abound. Google can be a hypochondriac’s best friend: type in any symptom and you’ll get a hundred potential diseases. Trying to navigate all that information and hew to reliable sources can be tricky. Even well-meaning people like friends and families can send us articles and blogs with information that sounds good but is actually harmful. Consider all the stories over the COVID-19 vaccines, which lead the CDC to release an information page to help clear up the myths and misconceptions surrounding these important treatments.
We’ve taken the liberty of gathering six of the most popular health and wellness myths so we can give them a good old-fashioned myth-busting.
MYTH: "You should never eat before bed."
FACT: The idea behind the popular perception that you shouldn't eat before sleeping is that your metabolism slows down while you sleep, which would automatically convert those late night calories into stored fat. This actually isn’t true for everybody: in most cases, your metabolism doesn’t slow down or stop working while you rest. The calories you consume at night don't "count more" than they would during the day—your metabolism continues to burn calories throughout the night.
MYTH: "Dietary fat should be avoided at all costs."
FACT: Fat is actually a necessary part of a healthy and balanced diet, providing fatty acids that your body can't produce alone. Unsaturated fats from sources such as nuts, avocados, and olive oil also helps keep the "bad" fats - cholesterol levels - in your blood down. Those bad saturated fats tend to raise your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. The key for optimal health is to opt for foods that are lower in saturated fats.
MYTH: "You need to get 10,000 steps a day to be healthy."
FACT: You should not feel discouraged if you cannot meet 10,000 steps a day. All bodies are different, and incorporating more movement in general is going to impact your health and wellbeing. A mobile lifestyle is a healthy one. Researchers found that people who met 4,400 steps per day still showed higher longevity in their lives than those who hit under 2,500, which is typical for a sedentary lifestyle. As as long as you are making an effort to move more, you will feel the benefits of increased activity.
MYTH: "You don't need to see an eye doctor unless your vision needs correcting."
FACT: Eye exams should be part of your preventive medicine routine. They are a very important part of maintaining your health. Optometrists and opthamologists are able to detect signs of diabetes, high blood pressure, lupus, and more through routine examinations. Many of these illnesses impact your ocular nerve and blood vessels - sometimes before other symptoms occur. So don’t wait until your vision needs to be corrected before you get a check-up.
MYTH: "Only liquids count toward your daily hydration needs."
Make sure to be careful with eating too much salty, high-sodium food like potato chips: these can dehydrate you.
MYTH: "You need to have a certain body type to do physical exercises like yoga."
FACT: While having certain body types can make the learning curve a little easier for certain forms of physical activity, our bodies are surprisingly versatile regardless of the shape. Focus more on what you want to achieve; dwelling on your perceived limitations is a great way to stop yourself from starting anything.
Always be sure to consult a physician if you are looking to take up a new physical activity to ensure that you are able to safely participate. Never forget that proper form will save you a lot of time and potential pain, so don’t rush through the learning process. Learn at a snail’s pace so you can rock it like a cheetah later.
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