1. Take a break. Mental health is a huge (and sadly overlooked) part of physical health. A stress response to a life-changing event or a nagging unfinished task can raise your blood pressure, hurt your sleep and wrinkle your skin. Remember to take at least 5 minutes for yourself every day to manage your response to stressful events, relax and unwind those mental knots
2. Take 20 deep breaths. Take 10 deep breaths in the morning and 10 at night to improve lung and blood vessel function, fill your body with oxygen, flush toxins out of the body and relieve stress. Here’s how to do it right.
3. Take a run. In a large study of 55,137 adults, people who ran just 5 minutes a day lived, on average, three years longer than non-runners.
4. Take a walk. Research has shown that walking can be just as beneficial to your overall health as running (as long as you’re expending comparable energy in the process). Every five minutes you spend hitting the bricks represents an important step toward the 10,000 steps we should all get every day.
5. Wash your hands. One of the oldest public health initiatives is still the most effective. Washing your hands with warm water and soap is, hands down, the best thing you can do to keep yourself—and your loved ones—from getting sick.
6. Check your food’s nutrition label. And avoid foods that do a body bad. Trans fats? Skip it completely. Saturated fat? Keep it to less than 4 grams per hour. Same for sugar. One hundred percent whole grains? Now you’ve found a winner.
7. Check your food’s expiration date. The wording can get confusing. Sell by date? Use by date? Expiration date? Here’s our handy guide to knowing when your food is safe—and when you should play it safe and toss it.
8. Clean your keyboard. Let’s just put is this way: In some cases, desktops have been found to have higher levels of bacteria than a toilet seat. So clean before you work.
9. Stand up. Especially if you have a job that keeps you sitting at your desk for a long time, it’s important to get up at least once an hour. Take a stroll, drop into your boss’s office, or just spend some time standing in front of the screen.
10. Put on sunscreen, daily. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. The best way to prevent it takes almost no time at all. Not only will daily sunscreen keep you safe from the health effects of UV radiation, it will also help your skin stay taut, even-toned and wrinkle-free. Remember to use enough, and to really maximize the effect, choose a micronized sunscreen with zinc oxide.
11. Do a mole check. In addition to daily sunscreen, keep an eye on any moles or dark spots, and check with your dermatologist if any show these potentially dangerous signs of melanoma.
12. Hug someone. Physical closeness with a person (or pet) you care about releases oxytocin, a hormone that makes you feel warm and loved. Women’s heart rate and blood pressure go down in response to hugs and hand-holding with their partners. So snuggle up!