As far as self-care goes, it doesn't get much better than focusing on your total and complete relaxation. Maybe you fill up the tub with some bubbles, pour a glass (or two) of wine, or hunker down in front of the TV for a marathon of your favorite show. Whatever you choose, there's no denying it feels so good to chill out. But did you know some of these relaxing activities can be bad for your health?
That's not to discourage you from doing them, of course. We all need to occasionally stare at Netflix 'til it begs us to stop. And it's obviously OK to soak in a tub and sip some wine — as long as it's all done in moderation. As with most things it's a case for not overdoing it, especially when it comes to relaxing activities that are sedentary in nature.
"In general, relaxation is great as a way of decreasing stress and thereby making your RealAge younger and making you more AgeProof," says Dr. Michael Roizen, the chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic and co-author of the new book AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip with Jean Chatzky. You certainly don't want to sit around for hours on end, but that's not the only reason you should think twice about some of your fav activities. Read on for other examples of relaxing hobbies that are just as bad for your health.
1. Running Marathons
For many people, hitting the road for a jog (or, you know, a marathon) is just about as relaxing as it gets. And yet, over-exercising on the regular can be damaging to your health. As Roizen says, "Exercise for more than two hours in a row overwhelms your 'in-cell' antioxidants leading to free radicals causing inflammatory damage greater in marathon runners than in people who exercise less than two hours at a time." If you know when to take a break, however, you should be OK.
2. Only Hanging Out By Yourself
When life gets stressful, it can be tempting to keep all your thoughts to yourself and traipse off to your bedroom for a few hours of alone time. But it is so much better to share what's on your mind. As Roizen says, it is "... best to share your free time with buddies who help you manage tough times." So go ahead and give 'em a call.
3. Soaking In A Bubble Bath
If you're someone who gets yeast infections easily, then you might want to think twice before soaking in the tub. "Taking a bubble bath for more than ten to 15 minutes predisposes women to candida, [which can cause] yeast infection and urinary tract infection by alkalinizing vaginal pH," holistic practitioner Dr. Svetlana Kogan tells Bustle. Definitely something worth keeping in mind.
4. Watching TV For Hours On End
There's nothing wrong with catching up on a few episodes of your favorite show. But, as I said above, sitting for forever isn't good for you. As Roizen says, "Lack of movement and just resting in one place may add to your aging." So make a point, from now on, to get up and shake it out every hour or so.
5. Getting Super Hot In A Hot Yoga Class
Hot yoga classes aren't the healthiest of options for those who suffer from rosacea and/or acne. That's because, as Kogan tells me, the heated rooms can cause flareups and make your condition worse. If you notice redness or bumps after class, it may be worth sticking to another form of yoga.
6. Napping The Day Away
I know, it's so tempting to crash on the couch and sleep whenever you have the time. But midday naps truly can mess with your health. As Dr. Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute says, "... they can actually affect your ability to sleep at night, creating a vicious cycle." He tells me to keep your naps short (20 minutes or less) and try to avoid them altogether after 3 p.m.
7. Drinking A Glass Of Wine To De-Stress
After a long crappy day at work, you might crave a glass of wine to help take the edge off. But did you know drinking alcohol can actually make you feel worse? As Kogan says, "Having a drink to de-stress ... accentuates the mood that you are in." While it's fine to have a glass or two, using it purely to deal with those feels isn't a good idea.
8. Relaxing In The Sun For Hours
A little bit of sun exposure (about 15 minutes of SPF-free time per day) can help boost your mood and your levels of vitamin D. But take this as your yearly reminder not to overdo it. As board-certified dermatologist Dr. Alan J. Parks tells me, hanging out in the sun greatly increases your risk of developing skin cancer. And, it can age your skin prematurely.
9. Eating In Bed
While not for everyone (it can be incredibly crumby), snacking from the comfort of your bed is a fav past time for some. And yet, eating while in a reclined position can cause all sorts of problems. Aside from increasing your risk of choking, "[it makes it] more difficult for the body to digest because we are working against gravity," says health expert KJ Landis. "I suggest sitting up for the few moments it takes to eat or drink and then lay down again to relax. It's much safer!"
Remember, you should feel free to take a bath and sip some wine, if it makes you feel good. But do keep in mind how your go-to relaxing activities may not always be great for your health.
Images: Pexels (11); Unsplash, Naomi August