Got 60 seconds? Here’s how to get healthier
There are things you can do each day that take little time but can improve your overall health.
- Put on sunscreen. Not only on your face, but also on your ears, neck and hands to prevent age spots, as well as both melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer, which can damage nerves and muscles when removed.
- Flossing is a key to removing bacteria and preventing gum disease. And, according to a study in the Journal of Periodontology—people who have periodontal disease are also at greater risk for systemic diseases, including cardiovascular disease.
- Get out of your chair. Have a desk job? Take a break and do a few stretches. “If possible, you may also want to consider a stand-up desk,” says Dr. Julie Brandies, an internal medicine physician at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill.
- Check your output. Your body waste can signal health issues. Dr. Brandies says your pee should ideally be light yellow to clear by mid-afternoon. If your urine is red or has blood, a foul odor or if you have pain while urinating, she advises you see a doctor. For poop, Dr. Brandies says color can vary based on diet but that bright red or black stools are almost never normal and could indicate bleeding—another reason to see your doctor.
- Drink a glass of water. You should aim to drink eight glasses of water a day. Staying properly hydrated helps your skin look better, prevents constipation and improves your kidney function, says Dr. Brandies.
- Wipe down your sink. Take a minute while you are in your kitchen or bathroom to wipe down the sink and handles with an appropriate cleaner. Both of these areas were found to be among the 10 dirtiest places in your home, according to research by NSF International, a global public health and safety organization.
- Replace your dish towel daily and clean your dish sponge after each meal prep. These were found to be the dirtiest items in the home, according to NSF International. Wash kitchen sponges and dishcloths in the washing machine or soak in bleach water and rinse clean after each use. Be sure to wear gloves and protect your eyes when working with products containing bleach.
- Pop a plank. This fitness move works your entire body and helps build your core muscles, which are essential to maintaining a strong back. Try to work up to a one-minute plank each day.
- Clean out your inbox. Take a minute each morning to delete any emails you no longer need. You may need to take more than a minute the first time you do this, but if you do this every day, your inbox will become manageable. Digital clutter is mental clutter and can lead to stress.
- Check your posture. A study published in Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found that sitting upright with your spine in line and shoulders back helped people who felt depressed feel better.
About the Author
Kate Eller, health enews contributor, is a regional director of public affairs and marketing operations. She came to Chicago and Advocate Health Care in 2014 after living in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and Texas. She enjoys road trips, dogs, minimalism, yoga, hiking, and “urban hiking” around Chicago while taking photos for Instagram.