5 Seconds to a Longer, Healthier Life

5 Seconds to a Longer, Healthier Life

When it comes to living a long and healthy life, the right habits can make all the difference.

Treating your body well can help you live longer, but even the smallest changes — like taking a few seconds out of your day to do these five simple things — can make a big impact on your health.

1. Smile

Research suggests that smiling more often could be one of the easiest ways to extend your life. It’s a simple way to put yourself in a better mood, which may lead to better overall health. And smiling is contagious, so not only will you feel happier, but others around you will as well.

2. Pet your dog or cat

A quick pat on the head for your furry friends isn’t just for their enjoyment; it has serious health benefits for you, too. Studies suggest that petting animals — particularly dogs and cats — can increase feelings of social connection and reduce stress (which can lower blood pressure), while also reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

3. Tense up and then relax. You might feel silly standing in line at the grocery store tensing and relaxing your muscles, but doing this alone for a few minutes each day can help you manage physical pain and anxiety. This type of exercise has been studied as a treatment for chronic low back pain — don’t have back pain? Just doing this exercise daily can improve your flexibility, balance, and posture.

4. Stretch for five seconds. When you’re sitting down with your laptop, take five seconds every hour or two to stretch out your arms, neck, and back. This not only helps prevent painful cramps from occurring but also improves circulation throughout the body — increasing oxygen flow to the brain and extremities. There’s no better time than the present to start stretching!

Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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