Got a minute? We’ve got some good news. While a lot of what we’re supposed to do to keep ourselves healthy is, frankly, time- consuming (we’re looking at you, homemade meals, a good night’s rest, and aerobic exercise!), plenty of super-quick things will boost your health as well. The ones here can be done right at home—they take just a minute (or less!) and yield big results.
This story originally appeared in the July 2020 issue of Prevention.
1 of 26
“With practice, you can floss in under a minute. The sides of the teeth are where food and bacteria collect and cause problems,” says Sargon Lazarof, D.D.S., a dentist in Los Angeles. If regular flossing is hard, try a water flosser that sends high-pressure H2O between teeth. “While not as efficient as floss, it’s much better than not using anything,” he says.
Science Photo LibraryGetty Images
2 of 26
Swish for 30 seconds.
Sloshing mouthwash for at least 30 seconds allows enough time for all your teeth to be exposed to the antibacterial properties of the rinse. “While you can do it any time, doing it before bed is best,” says Lazarof. “When you sleep, your mouth is drier, which allows bacteria to do most of the damage, so mouthwash can help blunt the effects.” (Look for a mouthwash that carries the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.)
3 of 26
Drink H2O in the a.m..
“Drink a large glass of water when you wake up in the morning, before your coffee,” says Will Bulsiewicz, M.D., a gastroenterologist and the author of Fiber Fueled. “Not only are you super dehydrated from sleeping all night and perhaps getting up for the loo once or twice, but also, opting for water before coffee turns on your brain, kidneys, and gut faster—and you’ll find that you are sharper and can wake up more quickly this way.”
Viktoriia Marteniuk / EyeEmGetty Images
4 of 26
Amp up your breakfast.
Add 3 Tbsp of hemp hearts (a.k.a. seeds) to your yogurt, smoothie, or oats to shoehorn in 10 extra grams of plant-based protein. “Eating protein in the a.m. helps keep blood sugar and energy levels stable all morning, which means your hunger and mood are more stable too,” says Desiree Nielsen, R.D., the author of Eat More Plants.
Anna KurzaevaGetty Images
5 of 26
Rinse your beans.
That liquid your canned beans and veggies are swimming in is mostly salt and starch. A strain followed by a quick 10-second rinse will remove about 40% of the sodium. Then you can “add ½ cup to pretty much anything you’re eating for lunch or dinner every day,” says Tamara Duker Freuman, R.D., author of The Bloated Belly Whisperer. Fold into sauces and salads, add to veggie side dishes, mix with ground meat, and more. “Eating beans/legumes every day is the single common dietary factor among people who live the longest, most disease-free lives,” says Duker Freuman.
Alexander SpatariGetty Images
6 of 26
When you sit down to eat, take a moment to physically divide your food in half before you begin eating. “Consider the divide a ‘speed bump,’” says Michelle May, M.D., author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. “When you hit the bump, it reminds you to pause and slow down to reassess your hunger and fullness level—and stop before you’re too full. It’s very helpful.”
7 of 26
Healthy up your carbs.
“When enjoying a carbohydrate-rich food, like bread, pasta, or potatoes, drizzle it with some olive oil or vinegar first,” says Kelly Toups, R.D., director of nutrition at Oldways, a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization. “The fat and acid can considerably lessen the carbs’ glycemic impact.” In other words, this helps keep your blood sugar on an even keel, which can keep your energy even too.
Natalia GanelinGetty Images
8 of 26
Brew a cup of tea.
For many varieties of green tea, just one minute of brewing is all that’s needed for a beverage that packs a big health punch. In fact, drinking green tea at least three times a week has been linked with an approximately 25% lower risk of heart disease and stroke, according to a new study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
9 of 26
Prep some produce.
Take a quick minute each morning—or the previous night—to cut up at least one fruit and/or vegetable to snack on during the day. “It’s such an easy way to increase your intake of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, which do things like improve digestion, support healthy skin, and help keep blood sugar stable and make your body more resilient against everyday damage,” says Nielsen. And research suggests that adding fresh fruits and veggies to your routine may improve your mood and motivation.
Michael BlannGetty Images
10 of 26
Gauge your fitness.
Sit down in a sturdy armless chair, back straight and feet on the floor. Then stand up. Then sit down. Repeat this up-and-down as fast as you can 10 times. In one study, middle-aged folks who took longer than 26 seconds to do this, or who could not finish, had increased risk of dying early. Can’t do it? It may be time to move more.
Blend Images - Erik IsaksonGetty Images
11 of 26
Build stronger bones.
Running for at least one minute a day is associated with 4% better bone health (compared with running for less than a minute), according to research in the International Journal of Epidemiology. “This is important, especially because after menopause the rate of bone mineral density loss is approximately 1% a year,” says study coauthor Victoria Stiles, Ph.D. “So doing 60 seconds of daily jogging essentially reverses about four years of this decline.” (It’s thought that the bone-building kicks in after six to 12 months of daily running.)
12 of 26
Use your bodyweight.
No time for a full workout? “Do one minute of body-weight squats,” says Alex Robles, M.D., a physician and certified personal trainer and founder of The White Coat Trainer. “Squats strengthen your legs; improve hip, ankle, and spine mobility; and increase blood flow throughout your body.” They also target your core. Make sure your heels are flat on the floor, your back is straight, and your hips are open so your knees are in line with your toes. “If you’re a beginner, work up to 25 squats in a minute,” says Dr. Robles. “For more support as you stand up, place a chair in front of you with your hands on the back.”
13 of 26
Go on a stair run.
Vigorously climbing 60 steps in 20 seconds three times a day, three days a week for six weeks boosts cardio fitness by about 5%, says a 2019 study. That might seem modest, but “even a small increase in cardiorespiratory fitness improves overall health and reduces your chance of developing cardiovascular disease,” says study author Martin Gibala, Ph.D. That’s a big win!
14 of 26
Adjust the thermostat.
“Lower the temperature two to three degrees after dinner and two to three more at bedtime, with a target of around 65°F,” says W. Christopher Winter, M.D., author of The Sleep Solution. “In cooler temperatures, we tend to sleep more deeply and have fewer arousals.”
15 of 26
Dim the lights.
Once the sun sets, mirror that darkness inside your home by dimming the lights. “This simple task helps promote production of the hormone melatonin, which has a sedating effect,” says Dr. Winter. That means you’ll fall asleep faster.
16 of 26
Save your face.
You should be able to properly apply sunscreen to your face each morning in a minute or less, says Maritza I. Perez, M.D., senior vice president of the Skin Cancer Foundation. “Use a nickel-size dollop for full coverage, including the areas around the eyelids and nose.”
17 of 26
Protect forgotten skin.
Take a few more seconds each morning to apply SPF to the backs of your hands, your neck, and your ears. “These are common spots for several kinds of skin cancer, so it’s vital not to miss them,” says Dr. Perez.
18 of 26
Dry your hands.
You know to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. But you’re not done. “You need to take another 20 seconds to properly dry your hands,” says Jeffrey D. Klausner, M.D., professor of medicine and public health at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and Fielding School of Public Health. Damp hands are more susceptible to germs.
Jeong Woo Kim / EyeEmGetty Images
19 of 26
Engage in mindfulness.
“Find a clock with a second hand and focus all your attention on the hand moving around for one minute,” says Clinton Moore, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Sydney, Australia. “The more you practice, the more you’ll build up your ‘attentional muscle,’ or mindfulness.” Doing this can benefit both your physical health and your emotional health.
20 of 26
Try deep breathing.
“Take two to three deep breaths and, while focusing on your breath, think of three things that are going well for you—or things you’re looking forward to in the near future. Then write them down,” says Glenn R. Fox, Ph.D., head of design, strategy, and outreach at the USC Performance Science Institute in Los Angeles. An exercise like this can lower your heart rate and blood pressure and improve your mood.
Olga BatishchevaGetty Images
21 of 26
Be nicer to yourself.
When you’re about to tell yourself something harsh or demeaning, pause for a moment and ask, Would I say this to my best friend? “This simple question allows you the space to think about the compassion we often have for others, but don’t always show ourselves,” says Jessica Zucker, Ph.D., a psychologist in Los Angeles who specializes in women’s health.
22 of 26
Send a meaningful text.
Take a few seconds to text a sincere compliment to someone you love. “It’s a quick way to do a random act of kindness that can boost the mood of the compliment receiver—and yours too!” says Laurie Santos, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and head of Silliman College at Yale University in New Haven, CT. Research shows that a random-acts habit can also increase life satisfaction.
23 of 26
“It’s thought that when we sit for prolonged periods, toxins also sit, which promotes damage to our blood vessels, increasing our risk for heart disease and related diseases,” says Monique Tello, M.D., a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School in Boston. To combat the effect, Dr. Tello recommends standing up once an hour to help reduce the damaging effect on blood vessels.
24 of 26
Soothe back pain.
Sit up straight in a chair, hands on thighs and shoulders down. Pull your shoulders back, squeeze the blades together, and hold for five seconds. “Repeat this three to four times daily to strengthen your back muscles and mitigate back pain,” says Neel Anand, M.D., a professor of orthopedic surgery and the director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles. When you slouch, the muscles and ligaments in your back strain and work double-time to keep you balanced.
25 of 26
Strengthen your pelvic floor.
“Each time you’re stuck at a stoplight, do five Kegel exercises, squeezing for about five to 10 seconds each,” says Heather Bartos, M.D., an ob/gyn in Cross Roads, TX. To do them, squeeze (and release) the muscles you’d use to stop urine flow without engaging your upper abs, thighs, or butt muscles. “Doing these regularly strengthens the pelvic floor, which can prevent problems such as incontinence,” says Dr. Bartos.
26 of 26
Examine your breasts.
Spend one minute once a month on this task. “Always do it during the first week of your period, when the hormonal effects on breast tissue have subsided,” says Sherry Ross, M.D., author of She-ology.
- Stand in front of a mirror with your hands on your hips.
- Raise your arms over your head while looking for changes in the mirror.
- Gently squeeze your nipples to look for any discharge or fluid coming from them.
- Lie on your back and extend one hand overhead (the breast on that side is the one you’ll examine first). Using the opposite hand, run your fingers firmly over the breast tissue in a circular motion, over an area about the size of a quarter. (Think of the breast as a plus sign, feeling each quarter in a purposeful way.) Do the other breast, then check your underarms.
26 Easy Ways to Improve Your Health in Less Than a Minute? ›
- of 26. Floss smarter. ...
- of 26. Swish for 30 seconds. ...
- of 26. Drink H2O in the a.m.. ...
- of 26. Amp up your breakfast. ...
- of 26. Rinse your beans. ...
- of 26. Pause mid-meal. ...
- of 26. Healthy up your carbs. ...
- of 26. Brew a cup of tea.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Consume less salt and sugar.
- Reduce intake of harmful fats.
- Avoid harmful use of alcohol.
- Don't smoke.
- Be active.
- Check your blood pressure regularly.
- Get tested.
- Enjoy de-stressing. Experts recommend regular exercise, meditation and breathing techniques to reduce stress. ...
- Put away the salt. ...
- Get to bed earlier. ...
- Have a glass of red wine. ...
- Check your posture and ergonomics. ...
- Do a crossword puzzle. ...
- Weigh in. ...
- Make a few dietary substitutions.
- Exercise. The benefits of a regular exercise routine extend far beyond meeting weight-loss goals. ...
- Sleep. ...
- Eat healthfully. ...
- Drink water. ...
- Enjoy leisure time. ...
- Know your risk factors and be proactive with your health.
- Fill Half of Your Plate With Non-Starchy Vegetables. ...
- Eat From a Smaller Plate and Bowl. ...
- Swap Refined Carbs for Whole, Unprocessed Carbs. ...
- Add Some Fruit to Your Morning Oats. ...
- Eat Fatty Fish Often. ...
- Consider Certain Supplements. ...
- Drink Green Tea. ...
- Have Your Coffee Black.
- Get good sleep. If you're tired, your worries can get blown out of proportion. ...
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet can help you feel well and think clearly. ...
- Exercise regularly.
- Broccoli. Broccoli provides good amounts of fiber, calcium, potassium, folate, and phytonutrients. ...
- Apples. Apples are an excellent source of antioxidants, which combat free radicals. ...
- Kale. ...
- Blueberries. ...
- Avocados. ...
- Leafy green vegetables. ...
- Sweet potatoes.
- Don't wait so long to eat breakfast. Shutterstock. ...
- And start your day with warm lemon water. Shutterstock. ...
- Avoid processed foods. iStock. ...
- Cut back on sodium. ...
- Drink your fruit and veggies. ...
- Rethink where you get your fluids. ...
- And carry around a water bottle. ...
- Stretch it out.
Listen to your body.
Eat slowly. Focus on the tastes and textures of your food. Enjoy your food rather than inhaling it! Be sure to slow down so that you can feel the hunger go away and feel a comfortable, full feeling take over.
Build Healthy Eating Habits
Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark green, red, and orange vegetables (3 or more servings a day). Eat a variety of fruits (2 or more servings a day). Eat whole-grain, high-fiber breads and cereals (3 to 6 servings a day).
How can a teenage girl be healthy? ›
Choose Healthy Foods and Drinks. Healthy eating involves taking control of how much and what types of food you eat, as well as the beverages you drink. Try to replace foods high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat protein foods, and fat-free or low-fat dairy foods.How can I live a clean life? ›
- Eat more whole foods.
- Use non toxic products.
- Stretch and foam roll.
- Drink more water.
- Eat out less.
- Clean and organize your home.
- Sweat several times per week.
- Source better quality food.
- Portion Size.
- Water Intake.
- Avoiding Fake Food.
- Balancing Nutrition.
- Avoiding Food Bans.
- Reducing Toxic Load.
- Maintaining a Non-Sedentary Lifestyle.
- Choosing a Positive Perspective.
/ˈkliːn.lɪv.ɪŋ/ used to describe someone who lives in a healthy and morally acceptable way, for example, by not taking any drugs: He is a clean-living teetotaler who doesn't even touch caffeine. Young players were expected to be clean-living - not to smoke or drink alcohol.What are 4 healthy habits? ›
- Eating a low-fat diet. ...
- Staying physically active — especially with regular aerobic exercise. ...
- Not smoking. ...
- Getting enough sleep.
What is a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE? A way of living that LOWERS THE RISK of being seriously ill or dying early. Not all illness and disease is preventable: however a large proportion of deaths, particularly those from coronary heart disease and lung cancer, can be avoided.What is the healthiest snack? ›
- Fruits canned in water or their own juice.
- Whole grain bread, crackers and cereals.
- Lower fat yogurt.
- Lower fat cheese.
- Unsalted nuts and seeds and their butters.
- Hard boiled eggs.
- Single serving canned fish.
Pizza is a great source of nutrients in the American diet. It provides high percentages of the total daily intake of protein, fat, saturated fat, fibre, calcium and lycopene.What are three types of health? ›
The three sides that make up the health triangle and contribute to your overall health are: Physical Health. Mental Health. Social Health.How get a healthy body in a week? ›
- 1 DO: Drink lots of water. Water is essential - it regulates the shape of every cell inside our bodies. ...
- 2 DON'T: Go on a juice cleanse. ...
- 3 DO: Cut back on sodium. ...
- 4 DON'T: Start banning foods. ...
- 5 DO: Fill up with fibre. ...
- 6 DON'T: Rely on powders and pills. ...
- 7 DON'T: Focus exclusively on calories. ...
- 8 DO: Think positive.
How can I be on top of my health? ›
- Be physically active for 30 minutes most days of the week. ...
- Eat a well-balanced, low-fat diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. ...
- Avoid injury by wearing seatbelts and bike helmets, using smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the home, and using street smarts when walking alone.