Got a minute?

12 easy ways to improve your health in just 60 seconds

We’ve got some good news. While a lot of what we’re supposed to do to keep ourselves healthy is, frankly, time consuming (we’re looking at you, homemade meals, a good night’s rest, and aerobic exercise!), plenty of super-quick things will boost your health as well. The ones here can be done right at home – they take just a minute (or less!) and yield big results.

Drink H2O in the a.m.

Drink a large glass of water when you wake up in the morning, before your coffee. Not only are you super dehydrated from sleeping all night and perhaps getting up for the loo once or twice, but also, opting for water before coffee turns on your brain, kidneys, and gut faster – and you’ll find that you are sharper and can wake up more quickly this way.

Amp up your breakfast

Add three tablespoon of hemp seeds to your yogurt, smoothie, or oats to shoehorn in 10 extra grams of plant-based protein. Eating protein in the a.m. helps keep blood sugar and energy levels stable all morning, which means your hunger and mood are more stable too.

Rinse your beans

That liquid your canned beans and veggies are swimming in is mostly salt and starch. A strain followed by a quick 10-second rinse will remove about 40 per cent of the sodium. Then you can add ½ cup to pretty much anything you’re eating for lunch or dinner every day. Fold into sauces and salads, add to veggie side dishes, mix with ground meat, and more. Eating beans/legumes every day is the single common dietary factor among people who live the longest, most disease-free lives.

Pause mid-meal

When you sit down to eat, take a moment to physically divide your food in half before you begin eating. Consider the divide a ‘speed bump. When you hit the bump, it reminds you to pause and slow down to reassess your hunger and fullness level – and stop before you’re too full. It’s very helpful.

Healthy up your carbs

When enjoying a carbohydrate-rich food, like bread, pasta, or potatoes, drizzle it with some olive oil or vinegar first. The fat and acid can considerably lessen the carbs’ glycemic impact. In other words, this helps keep your blood sugar on an even keel, which can keep your energy even too.

Brew a cup of tea

For many varieties of green tea, just one minute of brewing is all that’s needed for a beverage that packs a big health punch. In fact, drinking green tea at least three times a week has been linked with an approximately 25 per cent lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

Gauge your fitness

Sit down in a sturdy armless chair, back straight and feet on the floor. Then stand up. Then sit down. Repeat this up-and-down as fast as you can 10 times. In one study, middle-aged folks who took longer than 26 seconds to do this, or who could not finish, had increased risk of dying early. Can’t do it? It may be time to move more.

Dim the lights

Once the sun sets, mirror that darkness inside your home by dimming the lights. This simple task helps promote production of the hormone melatonin, which has a sedating effect. That means you’ll fall asleep faster.

Dry your hands

You know to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. But you’re not done. You need to take another 20 seconds to properly dry your hands. Damp hands are more susceptible to germs.

Engage in mindfulness

Find a clock with a second hand and focus all your attention on the hand moving around for one minute. The more you practice, the more you’ll build up your ‘attentional muscle,’ or mindfulness. Doing this can benefit both your physical health and your emotional health.

Try deep breathing

Take two to three deep breaths and, while focusing on your breath, think of three things that are going well for you – or things you’re looking forward to in the near future. Then write them down. An exercise like this can lower your heart rate and blood pressure and improve your mood.

Stand up!

It’s thought that when we sit for prolonged periods, toxins also sit, which promotes damage to our blood vessels, increasing our risk for heart disease and related diseases. To combat the effect, doctors recommend standing up once an hour to help reduce the damaging effect on blood vessels.