Is your love of fashion hurting your health?
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For centuries, women (and men!) have sacrificed health and wellness for beauty and fashion. Sure, today's hottest trends may look great, but as anyone who has squeezed into skinny jeans or spent eight hours in stilettos can tell you, following suit can lead to misery.
You might be willing to put up with temporary pain to look fabulous, but when bowing to fashion leads to long-term health damage, it may be time to reprioritize.
Here are seven style trends that you should think twice about following:
1. Skinny jeans
Tight jeans look great on fit bodies — and they may suck in extra flab on less fit ones. Trouble is, painted-on pants can restrict circulation, compress critical nerves (leading to numbness and tingling) and interfere with digestion. Tummy trouble, heartburn and gas aren't exactly glamorous! Plus, skinny jeans trap heat and moisture, which can increase the risk of yeast infections in women and reduced sperm count in men.
2. Belts and waist trainers
The modern-day corset, also known as "Spanx," comes with numerous health concerns. While waist-trainers and compression garments may shrink your stomach temporarily, according to Karen Russell-Little, internist at Henry Ford Medical Center – Novi, they can also prevent your lungs from fully inflating. And when you can't take a deep breath, your body and brain miss out on much-needed oxygen. "You might feel dizzy, lightheaded and even hyperventilate," Russell-Little says. Like skinny jeans, belts cinched too tightly (even the stretchy ones) can also compress the major nerve that runs from the belly to the outer thigh and wreak havoc on your digestive system.
3. Tight neckties
Wearing tight, collared shirts or too-tight ties can reduce circulation to the brain and increase pressure in the eyes. Over time, this restrictive neckwear increases your risk of developing eye problems ranging from blurred vision to glaucoma. It can also be a pain in the neck — literally. Tight neckties decrease range of motion, causing strain in the shoulders, neck and back. Russell-Little's advice: Make sure you can fit three fingers behind the tie so coughing, sneezing and laughing don't make you feel like you're choking.
4. High heels
Whether you're wearing platforms or stilettos, high-heeled shoes force the torso to tilt forward while the rest of the body leans backwards to compensate, Russell-Little says. Wear them every day, and you may cause fatigue of the calf muscles, leading to cramping and pain. Adding insult to injury, the irregular distribution of weight also alters your balance, so you end up walking more on the balls of your feet. That can lead to foot and toe cramps. And let's face it, there's nothing sexy about bunions, hammertoes and "pump bumps" (lumps or bulges on the back of your heel) — let alone falling on your face.
Sure, they may look comfy, but there's a reason flimsy fashion statements should stay on the beach. Not only are your feet exposed to the elements (dirt, germs, sharp objects), but they also have zero support and heel cushioning. "That forces you to walk differently, even clench your toes to keep them on," Russell-Little says. The end result: foot fatigue, sore calf muscles and strain on the tendons of your feet. Still wedded to the simple slip-on? Spring for support flip-flops that wear more like shoes and mold to your feet.
6. Sexy underwear
Certain materials (like non-breathable lace) can trap moisture and lead to vaginal and urinary tract infections. What's worse, the constant friction against the fabric can cause skin irritation, small tears in the delicate skin around the genitals and increased risk of infection. Wearing thong panties increases the ick factor — the thin band acts as a vehicle for fecal matter to travel.
7. Oversized bags
Heavy handbags and briefcases throw your posture off-balance, says Lanny Orr, chiropractor at the Center for Integrative Medicine. Over time, the lopsided load causes muscles in your spine to curve, which can lead to lower back pain. Ditch the heavy bags in favor of lighter cargo (no more than 10 percent of your body weight) or opt for a messenger bag that fits diagonally across your body. Better yet, wear a backpack — over both shoulders.
The bottom line? Make sure you are balancing looking good and making a fashion statement with taking care of your body and your health.
For more tips on how to live healthy and be well, visit henryfordlivewell.com and subscribe to get weekly emails of the latest topics.
This story is provided and presented by our sponsor Henry Ford Health System.