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Boost your confidence in 30 seconds
Sit up straight. Results from a 2009 study conducted at Ohio State University found that sitting with good posture provides an immediate increase in self-confidence. Sit on a chair with both of your feet flat on the floor, your legs uncrossed and your buttocks resting against the back of the chair. Make sure that your knees are bent at a right angle and are in line with or slightly higher than your hips. Keep your back straight and relax your shoulders down and away from your ears.
Whittle your waistline in one minute
Download a fitness app to your phone. Complementing a well-rounded weight-loss strategy with a mobile application that tracks your calorie intake and daily fitness exploits has proven to increase mindfulness and motivate users to stick to their diets. Popular apps like MyFitnessPal and Lose It! are inexpensive (or free!) and help you stay vigilant on the go.
Re-energize in three minutes
If you're feeling sluggish, get re-energized by listening to your favourite upbeat anthem. According to a recent McGill University study, listening to music activates your brain's pleasure centre and increases your dopamine to a level similar to that achieved by eating good food or having sex. For added health benefits, dance and sing along to the music to increase your oxygen intake and get your heart pumping.
Burn fat in four minutes
Get healthy by revving up your workout. Incorporate high-intensity interval training (a.k.a. HIIT or Tabata) into your fitness regimen to maximize fat burning and improve your anaerobic capacity. At the end of your regular workout rtoutine, perform a cardiovascular exercise (such as doing squats or jumping rope) at maximum effort for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest and repeat for eight rounds. Your metabolism won't know what hiit it.
Improve your mood in five minutes
Take a short break from work to stroll through the nearest green space or take a detour through a park on your daily bike ride. Studies show that performing activities such as walking and cycling surrounded by nature quickly improves mood and self-esteem, with the effects peaking at the five-minute mark. Want a bigger boost? A green space that also includes a body of water, such as a pond or a lake, intensifies mood elevation even more.
Relieve stress in 10 minutes
Phone a friend. Connecting with a close pal can help reduce feelings of anxiety. A supportive friend (or group of friends) is the perfect person to confide in or share your frustrations with – as long as unloading your problems isn't the only reason you ever get in touch with him or her. Even just shooting the breeze and sharing a laugh will promote a sense of relaxation and happiness. As an added bonus, the results of a Brigham Young University study suggest that having quality social connections improves your odds of survival by up to 50 per cent.
Control your appetite in 15 minutes
Eat breakfast. We know, we know, we're starting to sound like a nagging parent about this – but it's for good reason. If you're not in the habit of eating the most important meal of the day, you're missing out on a long list of health benefits, including weight maintenance and improved brain function. Plus, a new study shows that consuming a protein-rich morning meal will help curb unhealthy snacking later in the day. Not a fan of breakfast food? There's no rule that says breakfast has to consist of eggs or cereal. Eating a mix of healthy carbs, protein and fibre – even if they're dinner leftovers – should get you well on your way to a day of balanced eating.
Prevent heart disease in 20 minutes
Transcendental meditation has myriad health benefits, but perhaps one of the most surprising ones is that it can save your life. Results of a recent study by the American Heart Association prove that those who take up the ancient practice are 48 per cent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who spend the same amount of time practising heart-healthy behaviours such as working out, eating healthfully and doing nonspecific relaxation exercises. Practise transcendental meditation twice a day for 20 minutes at a time by sitting comfortably in a quiet space and repeating a mantra to quiet the mind.
Get healthy – and happy – in nine easy steps.
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