6 Simple Ways to Be Healthier Right Now (No Dieting Required)
You don’t necessarily need to count calories like crazy or swear off carbs to boost your health. Here, easy resolutions to be instantly healthier without dieting.
Take a five-minute walk for each hour you sit
Indiana University researchers recently found that if people sat for just one hour, they experienced a 50 percent drop in their leg arteries’ ability to expand. Over time, this impairment can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems. But participants who walked for five minutes for each hour they spent on their duffs had no changes in blood vessel function.
Make your bed
Bed makers were 19 percent more likely to report getting a good night’s sleep than people who leave their blankets messy in the morning, found a poll from the National Sleep Foundation. There may be a connection between feeling good about where you sleep and your tendency to sleep through the night, according to the NSF.
Read for pleasure, without distraction
Proponents of the “slow reading” movement advocate curling up with a good book for at least a half hour, uninterrupted by text messages or Facebook alerts. The practice may reduce stress and promote clearer thinking. Studies have shown that when people read multimedia content—say, text coupled with images and videos—their reading comprehension is lower than when they read only text.
Stash disinfecting wipes at your desk
How’s this for gross? Fewer than four hours after University of Arizona researchers swabbed virus samples onto common workplace surfaces, like tabletops or doorknobs, they found traces of the germs on 40 to 60 percent of other frequently touched objects in the building. Protect yourself by sanitizing your own workspace—wipe down your desk, keyboard, and phone with disinfecting wipes frequently. In the study, this helped reduce virus spread by up to 99 percent.
Watch one fewer TV show a day
The older adults get, the more they tend to watch TV. According to recent numbers from the media-ratings company Nielsen, people in their 30s and 40s log nearly five hours of TV a day on average; those in their 50s and early 60s watch about six hours daily; and adults ages 65 and older spend a whopping seven hours in front of their television set each day. Too much sedentary screen time in midlife is linked with type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Shop for a doc you love
When physicians received “bedside manner” training about empathy and communication, their patients often had significant improvements in blood pressure, weight loss, or pain management, found 2014 research from Harvard Medical School scientists. If you’re not crazy about your doctor, ask friends or colleagues for recommendations. Or speak up about the factors that frustrate you. Maybe your doctor could use clearer language or give you a little more time during visits.