Better Health in Just 20 Minutes A Day

You want to be healthier and have more energy. You want to take good care of yourself. The problem is, life is hectic. However nice it’d be to have time for long strolls in the countryside, afternoon naps and relaxing baths … you’ve got a few little matters like work, family, friends, chores and hobbies to fit into your day.

Perhaps you’ve made a few attempts at trying to live a healthier lifestyle, and they’ve never worked out. You start a new diet every Monday. You try to quit caffeine, sugar and alcohol all at once. You take up exercising – and your muscles are protesting after a day.

Sometimes, though, it’s the little changes which make a big difference. You don’t need to follow a huge time-consuming plan for the perfect body – you just need the energy and enthusiasm to tackle life every day.

Here are five simple steps, all of which combined will take just twenty minutes each day. (If you have a few extra minutes to spare, I’ve also suggested some bonus activities.)

Switch one drink to de-caff – 0 minutes

I’m not suggesting you quit caffeine full stop – just switch one of your daily coffees to a de-caffeinated version. It’s a little change which takes no time at all, and which you’ll hardly notice after a couple of days.

If you’re trying to cut down considerably on caffeine, do it gradually. For instance, if you currently drink six coffees per day, switch to five regular and one de-caffeinated this week, then cut down a bit more next week, and so on.

Bonus: Do the same thing with one regular soda – switch to a diet version, or flavored water. It might take your taste buds a week or two to adapt, but stick with it!

Grab a piece of fruit – 1 minute

Next time you’re feeling peckish, grab a piece of fruit. This takes a minute at most – probably just a few seconds. If you keep a bowl of fruit close at hand, it’s a very easy snack!

Eating more fruit will:

  • Ensure you get enough vitamins, vital for health
  • Boost your fiber intake, improving your digestion
  • Help fill you up between meals for minimum calories

Bonus: Keep a bottle of water on your desk so that it’s within easy reach. You’ll find yourself sipping more and staying hydrated during the day – reducing the urge to snack. (Many of us mistake mild thirst for hunger.)

Brush your teeth (properly) – 4 minutes

Hopefully, you already brush your teeth twice a day. If you’re being totally honest, though, there are probably times when you don’t manage that – or when “brushing” is just a quick swipe round your mouth with the tooth brush.

Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth for two minutes. Try timing yourself next time you brush yours: chances are, you’re not brushing for long enough.

Bonus: Don’t forget to floss daily too.

Meditate – 5 minutes

In recent years, meditation has become much more mainstream. Proven health benefits – like decreased stress – are pretty attractive to most of us! But because we’re busy, we often don’t take the time to sit and quieten our minds.

If you’re uncertain about what meditation involves, and want an easy introduction, try 6 Tips for People Who Don’t Have Time to Meditate.

Meditation really isn’t a “woo-woo” new agey activity. It’s just a way to get some space and perspective in your life through a few minutes of precious calm.

Bonus: Many people – not just those who follow a particular religion – find it helpful to read a little from a spiritual or inspirational text each day.

Take a brisk walk – 10 minutes

Let’s face it, most of us should do more exercise. The trouble is, just the thought of the gym can be stressful. Perhaps you don’t have time after work, or you don’t want to follow a vigorous routine.

One of the best things you can do for your health is to walk. Walking won’t put as much stress on your joints as other cardio activities, you can do it in your normal clothes, and you can easily go faster or slower depending on your fitness level. Just ten minutes is enough to see physical and mental benefits.

Bonus: Find ways to incorporate walking into your daily routine, so that it doesn’t take up extra time. (Get off the bus a stop earlier, or walk to the local store instead of driving, for instance.)

Do you have any quick wins for extra health and energy? Share them with us in the comments … and let us know how many minutes they’ll take on a daily or weekly basis!

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