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10 fast ways to improve your health

Patsy Westcott / 21 December 2016

Small, surprising changes in your everyday habits can make a big difference to your chances of getting cancer, dementia and many other illnesses.

Couple taking a selfie
Taking pictures of yourself and sharing them with friends can reduce stress, according to a study.

1. Empty your wallet

Carrying a heavy wallet in your back pocket can press on the sciatic nerve causing numbness, burning, tingling, pins and needles, aching and muscle pain.

2. Stand up

Reducing and regularly interrupting prolonged sitting time improves blood sugar control – vital to prevent and better manage type 2 diabetes. So says a November 2016 study.

Two minutes an hour to better health

3. Wake up and smell the coffee

Higher caffeine intake is linked with fewer and less severe symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, which effects one person in every 500.

Tea vs coffee: which one is better for your health?

4. Take a deep breath

A recent Belgian study found that a spontaneous sigh instantly relieves anxiety and alleviates bodily tension.

5. Choose the veggie option

High-protein diets are bang on trend but, say US researchers, in women aged 50-79 they could do more harm than good. Why? They may raise their risk of heart failure, especially if most of the protein comes from meaty dishes.

Do vegetarians have a lower risk of cancer?

6. Open the curtains

Blue light, part of the light spectrum, can boost brain sharpness. What’s more, effects last for up to 40 minutes.

7. Snap a selfie

Taking pictures of yourself and sharing them with friends can reduce stress, according to a University of California study.

8. But avoid online food

American researchers found that constantly exposing yourself to tempting virtual images of dishes on social media can cause you to eat too much and pile on all-too-real pounds.

9. Sit up straight

An upright posture can make someone with negative thoughts, and all the effects on health that can cause, feel much more positive, according to recent Dutch research in Cognition and Emotion journal.

10. Sniff a stick

A few inhalations of an aromatherapy stick dramatically reduce blood pressure and heart rate, according to a new study.

For more on the latest health research that could boost your wellbeing in 2017, see the January issue of Saga Magazine.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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