Combining a busy life with a healthier lifestyle
Most of us do a lot of talking about trying to achieve a healthier lifestyle in general and make better choices in particular. The number one reason why those good intentions never get past the "wouldn't it be nice" phase is lack of time. "I don't have time to exercise." Or "I don't have time to shop and cook so let's grab some fast food." There are as many excuses as there are people making them but in the end, most of them center on time.
And the truth is, when you look at how so many of us have to juggle family responsibilities, work and what remains of our lives, it's no wonder that time is a too-scarce commodity. So consider this: What if there were some steps you could take that only required 10 minutes of your time or less – sometimes considerably less – and could make a positive impact on your health and overall wellbeing … wouldn't you want to make that minimal investment?
If the answer is yes, and why wouldn't it be, here are 10 quick activities or behaviors you can carry out in 10 minutes or less, and undoubtedly you can think of a lot more:
1. Take time out for better posture: Good posture comes into play when you're standing, sitting, walking and even sleeping and it can affect everything from comfort to self-esteem. Since we often find ourselves sitting (You are likely sitting as you read this) take a quick moment to make sure your head with its not insubstantial weight is lined up over your spine. When you're sitting with your back against the back of a chair – and not slumping forward or slouching backward – your vertebrae are supporting your head rather than your neck muscles. The result is less possibility for neck pain along with more efficient breathing.
2. Stand up and stretch: Speaking of sitting, change positions from time to time and take a break from sitting in a chair every half an hour (whether you're working, watching TV, reading or even traveling) by standing up, stretching and walking in place if possible. Even a minute will help you avoid tired muscles and increase your energy.
3. Keep up with the news about health: It really is true that sometimes good health can begin with good information. Even if you don't have time to read the latest health-related news, be sure to scan headlines in newspapers, magazines and online in order to keep up on health and wellness developments that may be of interest and value to you and your family.
4. Drink (a glass of water) to your health: Water is essential to the functioning of every single cell and organ system in the human body. An adequate supply of contaminant-free water is needed to carry nutrients and oxygen to the blood, regulate your metabolism, reduce the risk of disease and improve physical and mental performance. Notice that we're talking specifically about water, not just any liquid. That's because other drinks like coffee, tea, chocolate and some sodas have a diuretic effect – so for every cup of a caffeinated drink that you have you need an additional cup of plain water to counteract the effect. The same goes for alcoholic beverages. So take the very short time necessary to have a drink … of cool, clear water.
5. Put on your seatbelt: Over the past two decades, the use of seatbelts by drivers and passengers in personal vehicles has increased significantly and can rightly be looked at as a triumph in public health. But there are still too many cases of people without seatbelts getting injured or killed. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a seatbelt can decrease your chance of experiencing a fatal injury by more than 50 percent. That's a fact and those are the kind of odds you want on your side. We're describing things that can improve your health and quality of life in less than 10 minutes. Seatbelts meet that criterion in less than 10 seconds. This is one where time limitations are no excuse.
6. Set your clock for 10 minutes earlier: Getting up in the morning 10 minutes earlier won't make much difference in your sleep (which is, of course, vitally important to your health) but it can make a difference in your ability to do a little stretching, or have a nutritious breakfast, or reduce stress related to getting to work on time or say a few kind words to someone close to you who is also struggling with finding their rhythm in the early morning. You can even combine several of these steps in 10 minutes and all are part of a healthier lifestyle.
7. Wash your hands: Even if you scrub like a surgeon you might have to expend only a few minutes using proper technique to wash your hands. And this is a short time well used because frequent hand washing, whether in a hospital or other health sector environment, at home, or anywhere else, is the best method available to limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes.
8. Throw away that pen that doesn't work: This simple act definitely can be carried out in seconds. Since we all have non-functioning pens that we still manage to keep around for some strange reason, this simple tip can be taken literally. But it is also a symbolic recommendation, because what brings us more happiness and wellbeing isn't always the addition of something to our life but, rather, the elimination of something that causes frustration or tension.
9. Put down the remote, get up and change the channel: Years ago in an America far way, people actually got up from their chairs and couches to change the TV channel. It's hard to remember, and if you're 40 years old or younger, hard to imagine. Changing the channel manually may be old school, but it doesn't take much time at all and if you find yourself regularly ripping through the channels, get up, move around and expend a little energy doing what you would otherwise be achieving with the click of a button, because remote control may be convenient but it doesn't offer anything else.
10. Add your own ideas to the list: These things take very little time, yet they could add to a healthier lifestyle and a more positive day. What else can you do in 10 minutes or less that can make a difference over the next 24 hours and beyond?
- Return to Newsletter Home