We all know we should exercise more, eat less sugar, and brush our teeth daily. But what are the most surprising habits to improve your health? What do scientific studies actually say?
We’ve found the easiest and most surprising habits to improve your health.
Simple Ways to Improve Your Health
Here are the simplest ways to improve your health, including links to research that backs them up.
1. Wake Up At the Same Time Every Day
Waking up at the same time every day helps improve your circadian rhythm. Plus, according to the experts, having a good circadian rhythm means that you will be less stressed and more productive.
2. Get Early Morning Sunlight
Getting sunlight first thing in the morning, even for just a few minutes, is proven to help you sleep better since it regulates your circadian rhythm.
Research shows: “When people are exposed to sunlight or very bright artificial light in the morning, their nocturnal melatonin production occurs sooner, and they enter into sleep more easily at night.”
Windows significantly reduce the amount of light, so get outside without sunglasses and let the light shine in.
3. Drink Coffee or Tea
Coffee and tea have both been punching bags and held on pedestals in recent years, ranging from people saying they are super healthy and you can consume them all day to those saying even smelling it will poison you. (Well, maybe not smelling, but you get my point.)
Everything in moderation of course, and since both have L-Theanine, research shows this will improve your health. As an important amino acid, L-Theanine helps reduce stress and promote relaxation.
4. Skip Breakfast or Dinner
As someone who loves food, especially breakfast, I’m still coming to terms with how skipping breakfast can be good for me.
But the science is consistent (at least in mice). Providing your body at least 12 (but ideally 16-18) hours of fasting time per day is one of the best ways to extend your lifespan.
5. Do Some Pushups and Squats
Everyone knows that cardio is good for your heart. However, strength work also will improve your quality of life as you age. Plus, it is shown to help you live longer.
Doing just a few squats or pushups a day will make a difference.
6. Move for Just a Few Minutes Many Times a Day
Moving for just a few minutes many times a day is better than moving at a higher intensity for a longer period of time. Frequency matters more than intensity.
Do you know anyone who runs or bikes really hard for 45-60 minutes every day but then sits at a desk for the remainder? They are actually better off getting up and moving many times throughout the day to improve her health.
Science says you should move frequently throughout the day to improve your health.
(Don’t use laughter as your only medicine though, as some more rigorous studies have been less conclusive.)
How many times have you been told to take a deep breath? Just as important as your inhale is, focusing on your exhale is also critical.
According to science, count four counts on your breath in and eight counts on your breath out to reduce your stress level.
9. Get Outside
When it’s the middle of winter in northern states or mid-summer in southern states, it’s hard to convince yourself to get outside. But, even in the coldest, darkest Scandinavian countries, people still get outside.
10. Dial a Friend
Social connection is incredibly important for your health. A massive meta-analysis including more than 300,000 people proves that social connection matters.
11. Quit Your Overly-Stressful Job
We all know someone who has quit their job and ended up with a significantly improved quality of life and also improved stress level. The studies on this are harder to find. Check out this one about reaching burnout finding:
“Burnout was a significant predictor of the following physical consequences: hypercholesterolemia, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, hospitalization due to cardiovascular disorder, musculoskeletal pain, changes in pain experiences, prolonged fatigue, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, respiratory problems, severe injuries, and mortality below the age of 45 years.”
The Bottom Line
Becoming just a little bit healthier doesn’t have to be challenging. Work on forming good habits, but also focus on these simple habits that science shows can dramatically improve the quality of your life.