Detox in a day! Feel healthier in just hours! Lose 5 pounds in a week!
There are plenty of health promises out there that might sound great, but most of them simply don’t stack up.
However, as scientists learn more about how our bodies work, evidence has mounted in support of some simple things that you can do every day to look and feel healthier in a relatively short amount of time.
We’re not promising anything extreme here — your body is a complicated, wonderful machine and it’s not going to magically transform like some kind of Hollywood superhero’s.
But with summer weather upon us, here are 12 things you can start doing today that your body will thank you for after four weeks or less. Each of these simple acts starts paying measurable dividends within a month, and things get even better after that, with long-term results that scientists have measured in and out of the lab.
Get ready to look and feel great.
The simplest, most effective thing you can do for your health is get moving. Even one minute of intense, all-out exercise done regularly can improve your fitness level.
Becoming physically active changes your body quickly and can even decrease your risk of death.
“After two to four weeks your nervous system is much more efficient at being able to contract your muscles,” Robert Newton, director of Edith Cowan University’s Exercise Medicine Research Institute, recently told Australia’s Nine News.
Scientists have found over and over that it doesn’t really matter which kind of workout you do — just moving around regularly will make your heart, muscles, and mind healthier.
Even a few minutes of exertion every week can make a difference. Recent research from McMaster University found that a set of three 20-second bursts of all-out vigorous exercise can improve a person’s fitness by 20% in three months. (After a month, you’ll be well on your way!)
Lead study author Martin Gibala coined this approach as the “one-minute workout.” But it’s really 10 minutes of exercise, three times per week. The routine includes a two-minute warm-up period, a three-minute cool-down, and three intense, 20-second bursts of sprinting.
“For athletes who are already very fit, they train this way to maintain fitness,” Gibala told the CBC. “It’s a good way to boost your health very, very quickly.”
When it comes to your plate, consider cutting back on salty processed foods.
Most Americans are consuming 50% more than their daily recommended salt intake, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over time, this can take a toll. When there’s too much salt in your blood, your kidneys have a hard time flushing out impurities, which can raise your blood pressure.
Instead of salty snacks, try incorporating more whole foods like bananas and avocados into your diet this month, since those are loaded with potassium, a natural antidote to sodium’s harmful effects on your blood pressure.
There are plenty of other flavor-boosters to include in your meals instead of salt, like lemon juice and herbs. Whatever strategy you choose, avoid processed foods, which not only have lots of hidden salt, but may also be linked to higher cancer rates.
Fiberous foods help keep your energy levels more stable than quick-burning sugary or carb-heavy fixes. Fiber also keeps your tummy full and your digestive system humming along smoothly.
There’s a lot of fiber in whole grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. A lot of the best high-fiber foods also have a low glycemic index, which could spare you from suffering sugar crashes.
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