What if we told you that you could improve your life just five minutes a day? That may sound like the introduction to every 1:30 a.m. infomercial ever written, but it really is possible. Science has found that we can boost our physical and mental health significantly without taking much time at all to do it. These five easy actions can make your life better in five minutes or less. Read on to find out more, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Take This Supplement
Kathryn Boling, MD, a family medicine physician with Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, tells her patients to take 2,000 IU of Vitamin D daily. Studies suggest the vitamin can support the immune system—particularly important in the age of COVID—and may lower the risk of developing several types of cancer.
Pet Your Dog
According to Harvard Medical School, a large study showed that dog owners had lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than non-owners—and those differences weren’t explainable by diet, smoking, or body mass index (BMI). High cholesterol and triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood) are major risk factors for heart disease. Scientists believe that dogs’ calming effect can lower blood pressure, reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke.
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Make A Gratitude List
Every morning, take time to write down five things you’re grateful for. It could be your health, your cup of morning coffee, or simply having a roof over your head. That short, simple exercise has been found to improve mood: Studies show that expressing gratitude causes the brain to produce more dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain.
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Talk To A Friend
Pick up the phone or fire up your texting app to protect your heart and brain. Feelings of loneliness and social isolation can increase a person’s risk of having a heart attack, according to a study published in the journal Heart. People who reported poor social relationships had a 29% higher risk of coronary disease and a 32% higher risk of stroke than people who have solid friendships. The reason: Researchers believe loneliness increases chronic stress, which can wear down the heart. Additionally, studies show that people who are more socially engaged have a lower risk of developing dementia in the later years.
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Take a few moments every day to limber up—it can benefit more than your muscles. “Stretching a few minutes a day will do wonders for your health in the long run,” says Dr. Thanu Jeyapalan, clinical director of the Yorkville Sports Medicine Clinic in Toronto, Canada. Some of those benefits: Better bone and joint health, improved balance, better flexibility and mobility, and lowered stress. “Even without formal meditation and controlled breathing, the gentle muscle stretching of yoga can reduce stress,” says Harvard Medical School. “Stressed muscles are tight, tense muscles. By learning to relax your muscles, you will be able to use your body to dissipate stress.” And to get through life at your healthiest, don’t miss these First Signs You Have a Serious Illness.