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20 Ways to Improve Your Health in 60 Seconds or Less
Have you ever been so busy that you wondered where the heck your day went? That happens every day, right? So much so, in fact, that when you hear about some way to improve your health, or shortcuts to your workout time that can improve your health, you are quick to write it down or incorporate it into your life, most likely.
Well, that’s not a bad thing. Every little thing adds up, right? So although these won’t take the place of your regular workouts or healthy eating habits, but you can think of these little health minutes as icing on the cake, so to speak.
Check out the top 20 ways you can improve your health in 60 seconds or less.
1. Enjoy a Second Cup of Coffee
New research is mounting daily showing that having that second cup of coffee has numerous health benefits, including keeping skin cancer at bay. It only takes a minute to brew another cup, but you can take more than a minute to drink it!
2. Lower the Thermostat
Colder temperatures makes the unhealthy white fat in your body act a bit more like brown fat, which means you will burn more calories without doing anything else. It only takes a minute to turn down that thermostat!
3. Schedule a Week of Workouts
Take just one minute to add your next week’s workouts to your calendar. Studies show that if you schedule things such as workouts in advance, you are much more likely to stick to that schedule and make fewer excuses.
4. Microwave That Kitchen Sponge
Your kitchen sponge has been shown to harbor some of the ugliest germs in the house, even more than the toilet in some cases! Makes sense when you think about it. You probably scrub the toilet every day or every other day, but when was the last time you nuked that kitchen sponge? Take one minute to stick that damp sponge in the microwave and nuke those puppies into the afterlife! (Or wherever it is germs go when they die.)
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5. Enjoy Cinnamon in the Morning
Many people find that they can swap salt or sugar for spices and save some calories without missing out on flavor. One way to do this is with cinnamon. This spice has super protective powers, especially for those with diabetes, since cinnamon seems to lower blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol levels. Cinnamon is perfect for breakfast so try it in some yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, smoothies, tea or coffee. It only takes a minute to add a dash of cinnamon!
One study done in 2010 showed that people who smile the widest and the most often live the longest. If you don’t feel like smiling, even a fake smile can help you feel a bit better and a smile takes only a second, or less. So show those pearly whites, would you? Find out tips for changing from a negative thinker into positive thinker.
7. Do This Yoga Pose
Although most people find yoga relaxing, one pose in particular is super restorative. The Child’s pose is a gentle, invigorating stretch that can relieve neck and back pain as well. So sit back on your heels and hold this position for one entirely wonderful minute.
8. Wash Your Hands
Washing your hand only takes 20 seconds but my, oh my, is it ever worth it! The CDC states that educating people about hand washing lowers rates of diarrhea by 31 percent and lowers the number of people who get colds or other types of respiratory illnesses by 21 percent. So lather up and whistle happy birthday twice before rinsing. Who knows, maybe someone will hear you whistling and will give you a birthday present!
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9. Look for the Silver Lining
Studies show that those who look on the bright side have stronger immune systems and healthier hearts, so the next time you are tempted to see the glass as half empty, think again and see that glass not only as half full, but as being half full of champagne!
There is a good reason why laughing out loud has been considered to be good medicine for hundreds of years: it relieves stress and mimics some of the physiological responses in the body to physical activity. OK, maybe it’s very little mimicking but WTH, go ahead and laugh out loud anyway!
11. Give Out Free Hugs
No matter whether you are the giver or the receiver, hugs make you feel happy and relaxed. Science shows that it also lowers blood pressure levels and heart rates. So what are you waiting for? Hugs are free!
12. Stand Up
Numerous studies show that the more you sit on your butt, the more likely you are to die from almost anything. So get up and stand up, or walk around, pace, dance, or whatever, as long as you aren’t sitting down.
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13. Phone Home
Call you mom. Or your dad. Science says hearing a loved one’s voice makes your body produce oxytocin, which will help heal wounds and anything else that ails you. Love you, mom!
It might be gross, but research shows that poor oral hygiene can lead to mouth sores, ulcers, and inflammation of the gums. This means you are more apt to get infections. Take one minute and floss those teeth to get rid of all the food that your toothbrush can’t reach.
15. Take a Deep Breath
Actually, you should take a couple of deep breaths, especially when you are feeling stressed out. Deep breathing is one of the body’s natural stress relief methods. A couple of deep, controlled breaths can help stop a racing heart, feelings of anxiety, and those shallow breaths we take when we feel stress. Deep breathing can also lower your blood pressure, and slow the production of stress hormones.
16. Hold a Plank
Just a daily one minute plank is the classic fitness challenge. Everyone’s doing it, as you have probably seen on your Facebook or Instagram feeds, so why not join in? It only takes a minute and it can mean improved posture, a stronger midsection, as well as ward off back pain.
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17. Buckle Up
Although most Americans remember to buckle up in the car, not everyone does all the time. The most recent statistics say that about 13 percent still don’t believe in seatbelts, or think that they are more trouble than they are worth. It literally takes only seconds to protect yourself in a car by buckling up. Remember to teach your children this important safety habit as more than half of all teenagers between the ages of 13 and 20 who died in car crashes were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, according to the CDC’s statistics from 2012.
18. Look Away from the Screen
We can’t get away from screens in today’s world. We look at our phones first thing in the morning, we watch television while we eat, we work in front of computer screens all day at work and then look at video games, our phones, or more television when we get home. All this screen time wreaks havoc with our eyes, however. So follow the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something about 20 feet in the distance for a minimum of 20 seconds.
19. Take a Chocolate Break
Wow, this sounds like a health habit you could get into, doesn’t it? Dark chocolate has been shown in a multitude of studies to be super protection for your heart. It lowers blood pressure, removes some of the bad cholesterol, while increasing the good cholesterol. It can even improve circulation. There has even been some new research suggesting that just one ounce of dark chocolate each day can protect the skin and ward off diabetes. Isn’t that sweet?
20. Google “Adorable Puppies”
Or Kittens. Michigan State University performed a study which showed that thinking about happy things can improve your mood and reduce stress. So spend one minute watching those adorable puppy or kitty videos and give yourself a reason to smile.