5 habits that aren’t as unhealthy as you’d think
When it comes to our health and fitness, it can become quite confusing with the amount of mixed messages there are out there. Thanks to some of the latest research we discovered that some of the things we thought were “bad for us” really aren’t that bad at all (and we’re cheering!)
Taking a few days off exercise
While sticking to an exercise schedule with unwavering dedication is admirable (we’re giving you a slow clap over here) taking a break or skipping a few days isn’t as bad as you might think. In fact, studies have found that taking more than 24 hours away from the grind not only assists recovery but also promotes the growth of muscle. On top of this, a study from Stirling University in 2013 concluded that less, higher intensity sessions were more beneficial than many moderate intensity sessions, so take a day (or two!) off and go harder the next time you hit the barbell, pavement or mat.
Snacking often gets a bad rap because the foods we tend to munch on between meals are lacking in nutrition (sorry, potato chips). But snacking isn’t exactly bad for us, especially if we snack wisely. Studies have found that eating little and often can improve our satiety with research from the Journal of Nutrition suggesting that somewhere between three and six meals may be preferred for energy regulation and weight control. The only time snacking might be “bad”? If the snacks we’re eating are contributing to us eating over our daily kJ allowance.
In moderate amounts caffeine can be beneficial. While excessive caffeine consumption has been red flagged for its effects including sleeplessness, heart palpitations and increased feelings of anxiety, this doesn’t mean that caffeine itself is the problem. Many things have side effects when consumed in excess. In moderate amounts, caffeine has been linked to improved concentration and can benefit athletic performance. Studies have shown that caffeine before exercise (think one cup of coffee not four) can increase the intensity of exercise and endurance of the athlete. Sounds good to us!
Forgetting to stretch
Time to say sayonara to the foam roller? Not quite. While stretching after exercise is seriously necessary, studies have found that the old pre-workout stretch sesh could actually impede our performance. A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports showed that static stretching before exercise can inhibit strength, power and explosive muscular performance. Try a more dynamic warm-up that is exercise specific instead of those static stretches, it will make for a more effective sesh.
While “dairy-free” is a selling point for many health food products, dairy isn’t the bad guy for those of us who aren’t lactose intolerant. Dairy products are packed full of important nutrients including protein, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin B12. Our resident dietitian, Caitlin Reid weighed in to give us some peace of mind. “Research shows that the consumption of dairy products may reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Like any food group, dairy products only need to be excluded from the diet if there is an allergy, intolerance or of course a clear dislike,” Reid says. If this is the case, then a calcium-fortfied dairy alternative should be used in place of dairy products. “Before excluding a food group like dairy though, it’s always best to see an accredited practising dietitian who can ensure you’re meeting your dietary requirements through other food sources,” Reid explains.