The way you live from day to day could help protect you from a range of age-related conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and dementia, as well as boosting your energy and happiness levels. Most of us have room for improvement when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle, but the good news is you don’t have to give yourself a complete overhaul — lots of little things can make a huge difference. All these easy fixes have been proven to help keep your body and mind fit and healthy. Check out the list below.
1. Count your blessings for five minutes.
Spend some time once a week writing down all the things you’re grateful for — everything from your lovely friends and family to the relaxing holiday you’ve just booked. You’ll feel happier and will sleep better, according to research from the University of Miami.
2. Breathe in peppermint oil for 10 seconds.
Feeling sluggish? Inhale peppermint essential oil to give you a shot of vitality; it can even make you more alert. Simply sprinkle a couple of drops on a tissue and sniff.
3. Head outdoors for 15 minutes.
Your risk of developing diabetes rises with age, especially if you’re overweight, but a shot of sunlight could help. Research has found a dose of vitamin D could reduce your risk of diabetes. Your body makes the vitamin from sunlight, and for the average person spending around 15 minutes outside on a sunny day, with no sun protection, should be enough. Roll up your sleeves and expose your legs as well so you absorb as much sunlight as possible.
4. Drink a glass of water.
Try to do this every hour. A new survey has shown that drinking enough fluids makes you look younger. It keeps all your body’s cells working efficiently and can boost your energy levels.
5. Enjoy a cup of tea.
Ideally, make it a green tea, as studies have found this may help guard against heart disease and reduce levels of the unhealthy form of cholesterol. Research from Kingston University found that white tea, made from the buds and young leaves of tea plants, has properties that might stave off all sorts of age-related problems such as arthritis and wrinkles.
6. Dance for 30 minutes.
Put on your favorite tunes and whirl around the living room or follow a zumba DVD. Dancing is a great way to boost your heart and lung health, but research has found it can also reduce your risk of dementia by an astonishing 76 percent if you do it frequently. Aim for a boogie of some description at least four times every week.
7. Look after those pearly whites.
A good dental routine helps keep teeth and gums healthy, which could in turn help protect your overall health. Researchers think gum disease may result in whole-body inflammation that’s linked with diabetes and heart disease. Whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush, you should brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day for maximum benefits. Set a timer to make sure you don’t cheat. And remember to floss, too!
8. Boost your bones with a 10-minute yoga sequence.
Do some yoga stretches. One study found that people with osteoporosis or early signs of bone loss who did just ten minutes of yoga daily actually increased their bone mass. Go to a local yoga class to learn some postures you can put into practice at home as well.
9. Phone a friend for 10 minutes.
Having a ten-minute chat with a friend can help to sharpen your mind in just the same way as doing a crossword puzzle or Sudoku, according to research.
10. Keep on the move for two minutes.
Sitting down for hours on end either at home or at work isn’t good for you. Getting up to walk about every half an hour can help reduce blood pressure and blood glucose, according to research from New Zealand. Just two minutes of walking makes a difference.
11. Enjoy a glass of wine.
Red wine contains resveratrol, a powerful compound that can help give your immune system a boost. For the maximum dose of resveratrol, choose Australian shiraz, Italian sangiovese, or French burgundy, as these have been shown to contain the highest levels of this super substance.
12. Whip up a smoothie.
Eating eight portions of fruit and veggies daily can slash your risk of heart disease by 25 percent. If you struggle to fit that many helpings onto your plate, blitz two big handfuls of kale or spinach with a handful of berries and a banana, plus a cup of almond milk or water, and you’ve squashed at least four of those portions into one speedy drink.
13. Eat a bowl of bran flakes.
Cereal fiber is good for your lung health, American research has found. Even if you have been a smoker it could reduce your risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of conditions including emphysema.
14. Touch your toes.
Your arteries can narrow and harden with age, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Research has found that exercise that promotes flexibility also helps to keep your arteries supple. Spend a few minutes each day stretching — try to touch your toes and reach behind your back to touch your fingertips together, for example.
15. Take a walk.
Strolling outside, preferably in a green space, is an instant stress-buster. Research has found that just five minutes of gentle exercise like walking can boost your sense of well-being and self-esteem.
This article was written by Yours editors. For more, check out our sister site, Yours.