Are yoga pants and high heels hurting your health?Is your closet filled with chic threads and killer shoes? Beware: Your favorite wooly sweaters, stylish yoga pants, and high heels could be health hazards. Here's why -- and what you should wear instead.
1. Comfy Yoga Pants
The trap: Yoga pants are the fashion diva's answer to sweats. But all that stretch lets you ignore an expanding waistline -- bad for your heart and your self-esteem.
The impact: A thick middle -- over 35 inches for women, 40 inches for men -- boosts your diabetes risk up to 10 times, even if you're not overweight! Your odds for high blood pressure and high cholesterol rise, too. The cause: visceral fat around your mid-section. Its gooey globules inflame your liver, blood vessels, immune system, and more.
Swap 'em for: Pants that button at the waist. When they feel snug, you know it's time to exercise more and eat less. (Save your Lululemons for yoga class.)Related: Use this tracking tool and watch your waistline shrink.
2. Cozy-Chic Wool Sweaters
The trap: Wool acts like Velcro to attract all kinds of stuff, including allergens like cat dander.
The impact: In one study, cat-dander levels were 11 times higher and dust mite levels 10 times higher on wool sweaters than on bare skin. No wonder your sweater could trigger miserable sneezing, a dripping nose, and teary eyes.
Swap 'em for: Cotton sweaters. If your allergies are super serious, just wear cotton T-shirts (layer them if it's cold). They pick up the fewest allergens.
Related: Learn more about what's making you sneeze and how to avoid it.
3. Four-Inch Heels and Perilous PlatformsThe trap: Torturing your tootsies by jamming them into sky-high shoes sets you up for serious foot pain.
The impact: High heels boost your risk for foot pain by a whopping 67%. How? Wearing heels that are 2 inches or higher every day shortens calf muscles and thickens your Achilles tendons, making the world's easiest exercise -- walking -- difficult. Chunky platforms are easier on your feet, but because you can't feel the ground under you very well, tripping on uneven pavement is a daily risk.
Swap 'em for: Kitten heels and ballet flats. They're stylish (flats are back, big-time) and unlikely to send you careening onto the sidewalk.Related: Are your shoes causing your pain, or is it arthritis? Take this quiz to find out.
Get more health tips from RealAge:
- Take the new RealAge Test to see whether you're younger than you thought.
- 7 questions you should ask your doc about cholesterol.
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- Want an easy way to lose a few pounds? Walk them off with this fun, effective program.