7 Things You Can Do in 5 Minutes (or Less) to Promote Healthy Aging
Celebrate #ActiveAgingWeek September 21-27, 2014!
Everyone knows there are things we should do more of. There’s a long list of healthy activities that we all carry around in our head and swear we’ll get around to doing more of one of these days. The problem is these things take time, which is a resource in ever diminishing supply.
So let’s make this easier. How about if you just focus on doing a few things regularly that take less than five minutes? That doesn’t sound so hard.
Each of these suggestions can be completed in five minutes or less and will help you maintain your health as you age.
1. Drink more water.
I know you’ve heard this one before, but there’s a good reason for that. Several actually.
In addition to the basic needs it fills, water is good for muscle fatigue, healthy skin, and digestion. You can definitely drink an extra glass of water each day in less than five minutes, but a better (and pretty easy) approach is to try to always have a full glass or water bottle around so you think to drink it consistently throughout the day.
2. Brush and floss.
For a long time the role dental hygiene played in larger health issues was overlooked, but researchers are increasingly seeing links between unhealthy mouths and a number of diseases. If you’re not careful, bacteria can build up in your mouth and weaken your body’s defenses against potential threats.
So make sure you keep brushing. And even though most people don’t listen to their dentists on this front, regular flossing is important too.
3. Munch on some fruits and veggies.
A quick, healthy afternoon snack can really pay off if you’re careful to pick the right food to eat. Stay away from that bag of potato chips and head for some fruits and veggies instead.
4. Play word games.
Word games or other types of activities that make your brain do a little work (but in a fun way) can help you ward off dementia and memory loss. Just like your body needs to stay active to stay healthy, your brain does as well.
Devoting five minutes now and then to a crossword puzzle or game of sudoku will help you stay sharper in the years to come.
5. Do 5 minutes of cardio.
You knew this was coming, didn’t you? Excepting the few passionate, natural athletes of the world, exercise is not a word that connotes fun for most people. But how much less intimidating is the idea of exercising if you’re thinking in terms of 5 minutes rather than an hour?
Rest assured, 5 minutes worth of cardio is not a waste of time. A recent study looked at the health effects of 5 minutes of running and found even just that amount a few days a week helps people live longer. If running’s not your thing, the same benefits likely apply to other types of cardio and exercise, so don’t feel limited. Here are a few other 5-minute exercise suggestions to consider.
6. Do balancing exercises.
Walking is one of those things you always assume you can count on, until you start to get older and it gets harder. A few simple balance exercises can make it easier to continue walking for longer and decrease your risk of falling.
It might sound new-agey, but there’s science behind the benefits of meditating. Studies have found that it decreases anxiety, stress, and depression. Those are all big enough problems on their own, but each lends itself to health problems no one wants to deal with, especially when already facing the new health challenges that come with aging.
Devote five minutes each day to doing nothing (but in a focused way) and you could make yourself healthier, happier, and more relaxed.
Not only do these tips not take much time, but many of them will actually prove to be fun. Whatever excuses you may have had at the ready, put them away. None of these tips are difficult and they’re all tangibly good for you, so get started!
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