Get outside for just five minutes a day
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
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.