We don’t always have the time or energy to do a major overhaul of our routines and habits. The thing about health, however, is that the little things add up over time (just calculate the calories you ate in snacks today, and you’ll see what we mean).
And luckily, this additive property applies to both the good and the bad things we do for our bodies. Here are ten simple ways to treat yourself a little better, and increase your overall health.
10 Little Ways to Increase Your Health
1. Stand On The Bus
Research has shown that sitting for prolonged periods can be destructive to your health. While buying a standing desk is one great solution, cutting down here and there during the day is a low-effort way to change your ways. Instead of sitting during your morning commute, stand on the bus or the subway.
2. Drink Some Tea
If you’re a coffee fiend, consider switching one of your daily cups to a mug of black or green tea instead. Both types of tea contain powerful antioxidants, chemicals that work to prevent cancer by scrubbing your body of harmful free radicals.
3. Write it Down
About to go into a nerve-wracking meeting with your boss? Have to take a difficult test? New research shows that writing down your fears directly beforehand is a great way to help get rid of those worries and perform better.
4. Walk and Listen
Instead of plopping down in front of the TV, go on a walk and listen to some auditory entertainment instead. Put a This American Life or Radio Lab episode on your iPod and hit the streets. Your TV will be waiting when you return, we promise.
5. Quit Daydreaming!
Letting your mind wander when you should be focusing leads to feeling unhappy, according to a Harvard study that came out in 2010. Whether you’re writing out an invoice at work or having sex with your partner, a wandering mind can make you feel more anxious and less content. Make an effort to stay focused instead.
6. Pack Some Sweets
Instead of using that vending machine at work, bring some fresh fruit with you from home. Strawberries, apples, grapes, or bananas will be tastier, more satisfying, and pack a bigger nutritional punch. Here are a quick guide to fruit (and veggie) antioxidant and vitamin content.
7. Sit in the Sun
Sun exposure is the best way to get your body to produce vitamin D, a vitamin that can prevent cancers, especially in the digestive tract. If you don’t usually see the sun, make it a habit to spend 15 minutes a day with at least your arms exposed to the warm rays.
8. Get a Massage
Besides healing the lower back and shoulder pain many of us have from working on the computer all day, a quality massage has also been shown to literally release happy chemicals into the body. Massage reduces levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, while also releasing mood-boosting serotonin and dopamine.
9. Ergonomic-if Your Setup
If you’re still sitting at a desk that’s not the right size or using a flat keyboard, make it a point to change your ways this year. Your body will feel a hundred better times at the end of the day if you invest in an ergonomic office chair, a curved keyboard, and a monitor that’s the right height.
10. Cook Something New
Once a week, make the effort to cook a dish that incorporates an unfamiliar veggie into your meal. Never tried eggplant? Give Bangan ka Bhurta shot. Scared to death of kale? Bake it in the oven into salty “chips.” Incrementally bettering your diet is easier and more sustainable than making a sweeping change.