We often think that staying healthy requires a major commitment… Long hours of exercise, diet planning, studying food labels, or choosing the right supplements.
But some of the most important things you can do take almost no time at all. Here are seven science-backed strategies that can boost your health in one minute or less:
- Leave Your Shoes at the Door. This Japanese custom has enormous health benefits. It prevents poisonous lawn chemicals and allergens from entering your home. More important, it stops germs at the door.
Researchers at the University of Arizona wanted to find out what microbes people track into their homes. They gave subjects new shoes to wear for two weeks. Then they tested the shoes’ exterior for germs. The soles were teeming with germs. On average, more than 420,000 units of bacteria were found on each shoe.1
More than a quarter of the bacteria were E. Coli. It can cause serious infections that can be deadly. They also found Klebsiella bacteria. This germ causes pneumonia and bloodstream infections. Another germ common on shoes is Serratia ficaria. It causes lung infections.
When shoes were not removed at the door, researchers found that more than 90% of the bacteria on the soles were transferred to floors throughout the home.
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- Brush Your Tongue. The back of your tongue is full of bacteria. They can give you bad breath. And they can make you sick.
A 2014 study published in Biomed Central Oral Health found that tongue brushing significantly reduces a germ called F. nucleatum. It causes gum disease.
When brushing your teeth, before rinsing, simply take 30 seconds to lightly brush both the top and bottom your tongue.
- Sneeze into the Crook of Your Arm. If a tissue is not available, most of us sneeze into our hands. Bad move. Your hands are the most germ-ridden surface on your body. By touching your nose and mouth, you give disease-causing microbes easy entry into your body.
And if you’re already sick, covering a sneeze with your hands makes it more likely you’ll spread your germs to others.
Instead, sneeze into the crook of your arm. It’s cleaner than your hands and you’ll be more likely to keep your germs to yourself.
- Take a 20-Second Screen Break. People who work on a computer can suffer eye strain which leads to headaches. This is known as “computer vision syndrome.”
Eye doctors have developed a simple “20-20-20 rule” to beat the condition. The rule is this: For every 20 minutes you spend on a computer, look away from the screen for at least 20 seconds to something that is at least 20 feet away. This reduces the eye fatigue that causes headaches.
Even better, stand and stretch your arms during the 20 seconds. This promotes blood flow, which further reduces the risk of a headache.2
- Take Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 boosts your heart, protects you from Alzheimer’s, and makes your bones stronger. It takes about 20 minutes of direct sun exposure every day to get adequate vitamin D3. But many of us fall short.
If that’s you, take a vitamin D3 supplement. A daily dose of 5,000 IUs is right for most people.
- De-Stress in 10 Seconds. Stress is one of the biggest enemies of good health. When you feel tension taking over, try this quick relaxer: Go to a quiet place. Close your eyes. Take a slow, deep breath through your nose. Exhale slowly through your mouth.
Do this 10 times. It’s a simple form of meditation that quickly relaxes you and turns off your “fight-or-flight” response.3
- Hug Someone. Scientists are discovering that social support is crucial to longevity and overall good health.4 Even something as simple as a hug can help.
You’d think that hugging would make you more vulnerable to catch contagious diseases. But Carnegie Mellon researchers found the opposite. They studied the social habits of 404 adults. Those who habitually hugged friends and family were less likely to get colds. What’s more, when huggers did get sick, the symptoms were less severe.
Said the lead researcher: “The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself, or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy.”5
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In Good Health,
Executive Director, INH Health Watch