Give Your Health A Boost With Our 10-Minute Tips.

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Yet new research from the University of Bath shows it’s more important than ever to dedicate some down time to look after ourselves.The study shows a daily 10-minute stroll is enough to prevent long-term conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.Luckily it’s not the only step you can take to improve your happiness and health.

So set your stopwatch and follow our guide to the best 10-minute boosts for your mind and body.

GO FOR A WALK

Your physical and mental health can benefi t from a daily walk, with studies demonstrating that just being in a green space helps beat depression.

“Whether at home or at the office we’re bombarded by artificial light, computer screens and background noise, so getting outdoors for a change of scene makes sense,” says trainer Chris Thatcher from Matt Roberts Personal Training (mattroberts.co.uk).

Setting yourself a 10-minute time limit for a walk makes it easy to track your progress, too.

“Each day keep pushing yourself to walk further within the time and try to increase the gradient from fl at to gentle slopes.

“Focus on the length of your stride as this will open up your hips. Your body will work harder and you’ll see greater benefits if you engage your stomach muscles and relax your shoulders,” Chris says.

LEARN TO MEDITATE

“When you meditate you’re aiming to achieve clarity of thought using breathing techniques,” explains Andy Puddicombe, co-founder of meditation project Headspace.

“People often confuse meditation with relaxing but actually it’s a separate skill which, like any other, requires practice.”

The website getsomeheadspace.com offers books and an app as a guide to getting started.

There is even the specific programme, Take 10, to help you establish a routine by meditating daily for 10 minutes over 10 days.

HAVE A LAUGH

It’s said laughter is the best medicine and this sentiment really is no joke. A healthy dose of the giggles has been proven to boost the immune system by up to 40 per cent.

“When we truly laugh hard at something we’re giving the whole body a mini workout by gently engaging muscles in our core and face,” says behaviour expert and psychologist Judi James.

“If you’re feeling low, laughing will help change your state to a more positive emotion.

“Even if you don’t feel happier at first you can trick your body into believing that you are through laughter.”

Build up a library of books, DVDs, YouTube clips and websites that make you chuckle.

“I’d avoid sarcastic humour and go for low comedy. Think Del Boy falling through the bar in Only Fools And Horses. However everyone’s funny bone is different so find out what tickles yours,” says Judi.

ENJOY A POWER NAP

While it’s not an excuse to fall asleep at your desk, studies show a quick snooze in the afternoon can help improve your memory, allowing the brain to move information from short to long-term storage.

You don’t have to fall into a deep slumber, simply setting your alarm and lying down in a quiet place can ensure you feel livelier for the rest of the day.

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, sleep expert with Silentnight and a sleep therapist at Capio Nightingale Hospital, London, explains: “It takes 10 to 20 minutes during which time you’ll still be aware of thoughts and noises. The aim is to not be deeply asleep but not awake either.”

You don’t sacrifice the deliciousness or healthiness by cooking quickly

When we truly laugh hard at something we’re giving the whole body a mini workout by gently engaging muscles in our core and face

Behaviour expert and psychologist Judi James

Practice will help you to get to the land of nod more quickly.“Many of my clients use power napping before sport, presentations or important meetings and driving long distances,” Dr Nerina says.However, limit yourself to a maximum of 20 minutes to avoid disrupting your night-time sleep patterns.

SOAK IN THE TUB

Although it’s often associated with helping us sleep, a dip in the bath can be invigorating too.

“The trick is to use the right essential oils and not to have the water temperature too high,” explains Jeni Broughton, a clinical aromatherapist with baseformula.com.

“Scent plays a major part in altering our mood.

“Rosemary oil will boost concentration as will peppermint.

To get the best from your bath don’t add the oils directly, mix them up with a base such as a bath milk or oil.”

You don’t necessarily need to bathe your whole body either.

“Soaking your feet for 10 minutes in a bowl with an oil of your choice is a great pick-me-up before an evening out,” Jeni advises.

HIT THE KITCHEN

Despite our shelves groaning under the weight of celebrity chefs’ recipe books, it’s all too easy to resort to high calorie pre-prepared foods rather than making a meal from scratch.

Jules Clancy’s new book Five Ingredients, Ten Minutes (£14.99, Michael Joseph) is specifically designed for anyone who wants to rustle up a meal in a short period of time.

“Cooking can and should be less complicated and time-consuming,” she says.

“You don’t sacrifice the deliciousness or healthiness by cooking quickly.

“Putting a cap on the time and ingredients you use stops cooking being a stressful activity, leaving you to enjoy the preparation just as much as the eating.”

HAVE A MINDFUL SNACK

One common error is preparing a healthy snack but not taking the time to enjoy it, says nutritionist Anita Bean, author of The Complete Guide To Sports Nutrition (£18.99, Bloomsbury).

Not only will you give yourself indigestion, you won’t be helping your waistline either.

“Eating too fast in front of a TV or computer screen can lead to overeating as our brains don’t have time to register when we are full,” Anita explains.

Choose a snack and take 10 minutes to eat it. Chew each mouthful thoroughly and pay attention to what you are doing.

BE CREATIVE

Craft activities such as knitting, sewing and drawing are an inexpensive way to unleash your artistic side.

Judi James recommends spending 10 minutes doing an arty activity for anyone who finds meditating or power napping too difficult.

“If you are the type of person who feels guilty sitting and doing nothing then getting crafty is for you. It allows you to daydream and create a bit of mess without feeling like you’re wasting time.

“The quality of the end project doesn’t matter, you can knit the wonkiest of scarves or paint the jauntiest portrait.

“It’s the action of completing a satisfying challenge that isn’t related to work that makes this relaxing,” Judi concludes.

Express

Tags from the story
health, Heart Disease, NAP, work place

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