Improving yourself doesn’t need to be complicated. There are plenty of small habits that can make a huge impact on your overall health. Here are 16 mini makeovers that will make you feel happier, help you lose weight, or help build muscle–and they all take less than two minutes.
Smile for your flu shot
The flu vaccine lowers your risk of the illness by only 40 to 60 percent, the CDC reports. But cheer up: Being in a positive mood on vaccination day may boost the vaccine’s effectiveness by tweaking your immune system to enhance its antibody response, a 2017 study suggests. Before rolling up your sleeve, watch a funny video or peruse vacation photos.
Eat this “dessert”
To stabilize postmeal bloodsugar, try eating carbs last. In one study, people with type 2 diabetes ate a chicken sandwich: (1) in its entirety, with 10 minutes between halves; (2) bread first, chicken/veggies 10 minutes later; (3) chicken/veggies first, bread 10 minutes later. Option 3 reduced blood sugar spikes and insulin response for up to three hours.
To improve his balance and joint health, strength coach Jeff Watters ends workouts with a variation on the field sobriety test: Stand with arms extended and eyes closed. Lift one foot and hold, up to a minute. Switch sides and repeat. This strengthens tendons and ligaments in your ankles, knees, and hips. One-leg balance predicts longevity too.
Try a meal replacement shake
A daily meal-replacement shake is among the least utilized tools for weight management, says Spencer Nadolsky, D.O. Blend 30 grams vanilla protein powder, ½ cup blueberries, and a small handful of chopped walnuts with water or milk. No blender? Mix the protein with water and eat the rest on the side. It’s just 300 calories, but quite filling.