Health And Wellness

9 Daily Habits That Will Make You Healthier In 5 Minutes Or Less

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couple grocery shopping

When a new year starts, it's a time to make positive changes. Some people have resolutions, while others just try to do better.

We're all enthusiastic at the start — armed with determination and promising ourselves that we will persevere even after the newness wears off. We will be disciplined and we will change for the better; we will be healthier versions of ourselves.

Unfortunately, change takes time, and after a while, being good and not eating those cookies gets more and more difficult.

Based on a list compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Medical Daily created a small list of easy, non-time-consuming actions that will improve your well-being.

They're not difficult habits to start and some of them are even fun. Think how smug you'll feel doing something that's good for you and that isn't that difficult.

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Here are 9 daily habits that will make you healthier in 5 minutes or less:

1. Wash your hands

When you regularly wash your hands, you lower the risk of getting sick and you lessen the spread of germs. If you can scrub and soap for at least 20 seconds, even better.

2. Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

I know you forget about those alarms unless they go off at 2 AM, but if you check them regularly you'll ensure that they're in working order. It's recommended that you check them monthly. Why not put "check the alarms and detectors" on your calendar to remind you?

3. Look at food labels

You'll be amazed at which products have a ton of sugar, salt, fat, and cholesterol.

You may not have a problem now, but too much of that stuff over time and you will. Look at the labels in the grocery store before you toss them into your cart, and look at the serving size and calorie count, especially when you're at home about to dish out some dinner. If you become more aware of what you're putting into your body, you'll make better choices.

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4. Listen to a podcast

There are a ton of podcasts out there to choose from including medical ones such as Best Science Medicine Podcast to educate you, or the Serial Podcast to enthrall you.

5. Protect your hearing

Sounds can be harmful when they're too loud, even for a brief time or when they're loud and long-lasting. These sounds can damage sensitive structures in the inner ear and cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Use ear plugs or ear muffs if you're unable to lower noise to a safe level in your environment. Also, never play your music at a level higher than 60 percent when wearing headphones or earbuds.

6. Take your vitamins

Yes, you should be getting all the nutrients in your food, but let's be honest: you probably aren't. Vitamins will help fill in the gaps. I suggest taking a multivitamin, and always after eating; vitamins on an empty stomach can cause problems. There are gummy vitamins if you need to trick yourself into taking them.

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7. Protect your skin

Don't shower in overly hot water or for too long, as it can dry out your skin. Pat dry rather than rub to avoid irritating the skin. Always wear sunscreen (even in winter) and use insect repellent to keep disease-carrying bugs off of you.

8. Always gear up and buckle up

If you're into sports, make sure you wear all protective gear, especially helmets, wrist guards, and kneepads. It's also important that you and anyone in your car use your seat belts.

9. Be mindful of your body

Whether you're in the shower or bath, or just admiring yourself in the mirror, check out any lumps, bumps, rashes, sores, and discolorations.

Be aware of changes in your sleeping habits, vision, weight, and all bodily discharges as these can be indicators that something is wrong. Catching something early on can make a real difference in getting cured.

All of these are good habits to get into and won't cost you much financially or time-wise. They could lengthen and improve the quality of your life.

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Christine Schoenwald is a writer, performer, and astrology lover. She's had articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, and Woman's Day.

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