Eat your meals the same time every day
One of our biggest stressors is not finances or marriage but the lack of a regular routine, says oncologist David B. Agus, MD, in his book The End of Illness. Even simply eating lunch an hour later than usual can spike levels of the stress hormone cortisol and disrupt your body’s ideal state. Try to eat, sleep, and exercise at the same time every day, 365 days a year. Don’t miss these other 36 almost effortless ways to make your day less stressful.
Pack your suitcase on your bed
Don’t fill your luggage on the floor. Leaning down puts stress on your back, notes spine orthopedic surgeon Gerard J. Girasole, coauthor with Cara Hartman of the book The 7-Minute Back Pain Solution. Instead, pack your luggage atop a towel-draped bed or table so you’re not bending over as much. Avoid these other 15 everyday habits that give you back pain.
Read away stress
A good read can lower levels of unhealthy stress hormones such as cortisol. Participants in a British study engaged in an anxiety-provoking activity and then either read for a few minutes, listened to music, or played video games. Readers’ stress levels dropped 67 percent, a more significant drop than that of the other groups. Here are other incredible benefts of reading every day.
Curse pain goodbye
You’ll feel better if you let loose with some profanity after you whack your funny bone. U.K. researchers found that participants who repeated a swear word could keep their hands in freezing water longer than those who repeated a non-curse word. One caveat: the trick works better if you’re not a regular potty mouth. Here are more proven ways to relieve chronic pain without medication.
Steep your tea bag for five minutes
Research links tea to lower risks of heart attack, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. More antioxidants were unleashed in tea steeped for five minutes than for just one or two, according to a British study. Find out what could happen if you swap coffee for tea every day.
Stand up (now!)
When you sit for long stretches, triglycerides increase, good cholesterol drops, and your body becomes inflamed, which creates a perfect storm for a heart attack or stroke. If you’re glued to your desk, read these ways to recover from a day of sitting.
Downsize your meat portion
Is meat good or bad for you? While the debate rages on, steak lovers can indulge with less guilt simply by eating a more reasonable helping. The perfect meat portion is three ounces (about the size of a deck of cards), which is A LOT smaller than many restaurant portions. Learn 11 things that could happen if you stop eating red meat.
Cook one more meal per week at home
Research in the journal Public Health Nutrition that found that people who cooked at home five times a week were nearly 50 percent more likely to be alive after ten years than those who steered clear of the kitchen. The benefits aren’t just from eating healthier but also from grocery shopping, following a recipe, and preparing food, which help your brain develop new connections. Swap out one night of takeout for an easy go-to recipe, then gradually add more recipes/meals to your repertoire over time. Do your body and your bank account good with these other 13 healthy food swaps that will save you money.
Steer clear of coughers and sneezers
“Most germs are spread by droplets; talking and sneezing produce droplets that fall within a six-foot range,” says Michael Pentella, PhD, clinical associate professor at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. During cold and flu season, he tries to stay three feet away from people who are visibly ill. Steal these other habits doctors use to avoid cold and flu.
Drink this before driving
Mild dehydration may increase driver inattention and compromise safety as much as alcohol does. A small Loughborough University study tracked men during two simulated driving tests. In one test, they drank large amounts of water the day before and the day of the test. In another, they had limited water both days. When dehydrated, the men made 101 minor driving errors (comparable to a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent) but only 47 errors when hydrated. Here are more incredible health benefits of drinking more water.
Snack on an apple a day for healthier arteries
There may be something to that “doctor a day” adage: Middle-aged participants who started eating an apple a day saw a dramatic 40 percent drop in their oxidized LDL, which is a particularly dangerous, artery-hardening form of “bad” cholesterol. In the small, month-long study, participants who took pills containing the same amount of polyphenol antioxidants contained in apples also saw a decrease, though significantly smaller. Further studies are needed to discover why eating whole apples maximizes the heart-happy benefits. Check out these other drug-free ways to lower your cholesterol.