Get outside for just five minutes a day
iStock/georgerudy Even if you don’t have time for a full workout, squeezing in a five-minute walk is an easy commitment. That short jaunt during your lunch break or while waiting for soccer practice to end could offer a major boost to your well-being. Not only will you burn some extra calories and break the cycle of sitting, but a study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found that a short burst of exercise in the fresh air could have mental health benefits too. The researchers found that just five minutes walking, gardening, or cycling in a green area can give boosts to self-esteem and mood. Don’t worry if you can’t escape to the wilderness, either—even participants who found green spaces in urban areas had benefits.
Turn off your phone before bed
iStock/kizilkayaphotos Forcing yourself to bed earlier is a tall order, but you can at least aim for the most restful sleep when you finally do turn in for the night. Your Candy Crush “wind-down” session could be keeping you from getting your best night’s sleep. People who use a light-emitting device instead of reading a book before bed are more alert, take longer to fall asleep, get less deep REM sleep, and take longer to wake up, neuroscientist Anne-Marie Chang has said. “Simply avoid your devices before going to sleep,” she told Scientific American. Quit trying to squeeze in more emails or get a new high score, and put a dent in your reading list instead. Here are 7 New Year’s resolutions health experts wish you’d really make.