Setting yourself up for a wonderful day can be as easy as tweaking your morning routine. These A.M. add-ons are proven to foster healthy days and a worry-free season.
To boost focus: Add happy to your stretch.
Before leaping out of bed, take two minutes to stretch out while visualizing a positive day — you’ll increase concentration, recall and mental energy by 42 percent for four hours. University of Pennsylvania researchers say stretching boosts the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your brain, while positive imagery encourages the release of focus-enhancing dopamine, which is in short supply in the morning.
To prevent pain: Add caffeine to your walk.
Sip a mug of coffee or tea before lacing up your sneakers, and you’ll be able to go 25 percent longer without feeling weary, plus cut stiffness, achy muscles, and joint pain by 48 percent, report scientists at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Turns out caffeine boosts muscle strength and flexibility and raises the pain threshold, often within 20 minutes.
To end anxiety: Add C to your first sip.
Downing a glass of water to rehydrate after sleep is smart; adding 500 mg. of vitamin C will help you feel 35 percent calmer and more relaxed all day, say researchers at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital. Explains psychologist Stuart Brody, PhD, vitamin C relaxes muscles and arteries, plus calms your adrenals, reducing stress hormone release. Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.
To stay perky: Add avocado to a smoothie.
A morning avocado can increase your energy level by 57 percent and cut your diabetes risk by 35 percent, suggests research in The Journal of Nutrition. Says nutritionist Tom Sanders, PhD, avocado compounds prod your liver to burn stored fatty acids for fuel, plus heighten blood-sugar control.
To get pain relief: Do this before you sleep.
When you’re achy, reach for pain relievers before you go to bed rather than when you get up. You’ll double relief, plus cut the risk of side effects by 75 percent, say University of Texas researchers. That’s because your body’s ability to absorb and use pain meds peaks while you’re in dreamland.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.