If you thought that there weren’t enough hours in the day to be healthy, keep fit and feel good, then think again. Yes, it sounds like a lot to squeeze into a day but experts may have discovered the secret to feeling great every day, and it’s all to do with the number 10.
From snacking on nuts to making time for laughter, try our round-up of smart everyday habits that harness the power of 10 to restore both your health and your happiness in no time.
Here’s how to unlock the power of 10 for a healthy life:
At-home meditation can ease high blood pressure, anxiety, and insomnia. Not sure how to get started? Follow these easy steps:
- Sit comfortably and set a timer to go off in 10 minutes.
- Take five slow breaths, closing your eyes on the last one.
- From your head, work your way down each body part. Note how it feels as your breath rises and falls.
- Count slowly: one on inhaling, two on exhaling and so on, until you reach 10. Repeat until the timer sounds. Again notice how your body feels and any emotions that have come up.
- Open your eyes.
Aim for bursts of activity
As long as they add up to the recommended two-and-a-half hours of exercise a week, 10-minute bursts of activity are just as beneficial as sweating it out in the gym for hours, according to experts. Walking to the corner shop or cleaning the house count, as long as you put some oomph into it.
Walking, stair-climbing and bodyweight exercises are all excellent short-burst activities. Lunges and squats are also great for toning and you can even do 10 reps of each while waiting for the kettle to boil, but warm up first.
Drink enough water
Upping your intake can help prevent kidney stones as well as regulating your appetite to avoid overeating. Keep a small 200ml glass by your sink at home or at work. Each time you use the sink, drink a glass and you’ll soon reach 10 – adding up to two litres.
‘You’ll go to the loo a lot at first!’ warns nutritionist Dr Sarah Schenker. ‘But your body will adjust – and will thank you for it.’
Snack on nuts
People who eat 10 nuts in the morning and 10 at night have longer, healthier lives than those who don’t, according to a Harvard University study. Nuts can also cut the risk of cardiovascular disease by 29%.
Don’t be put off by the added energy as your body only takes on about two-thirds of their kilojoules (due to their high protein and fibre content). People who eat nuts are also less likely to snack further.’ Almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios are the lightest kilojoule options.
Read every day
Poor sleep affects your health and well-being, but reading before bed can reduce stress levels by up to 68% and promotes better sleep, say experts.
You only need to read for six minutes to slow down the heart rate and ease muscle tension. So 10 minutes buried in a book before you nod off is ideal – as long as it’s not too scary or thrilling!
Read more: Our favourite book club reads from last year
Remember to chat
In a world of constant emails, WhatsApp messages, and social media posts, does anyone actually talk any more? But maintaining friendships is vital for warding off loneliness and boosting self-worth.
Make a pact with a friend you don’t see often to have a 10-minute chat on the phone each week – you can update each other, share a giggle, and keep that bond strong.
Eat your 10-a-day
We should all aim for 10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Benefits include a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, cancer and premature death. Ten may sound like a lot at first, but the key is to develop new eating habits.
Eat a piece of fruit after every meal – that’s three portions a day. Whizz up your veg leftovers from supper for a lunchtime vegetable soup – two portions. Eat a small salad before dinner – three portions. Serve at least two vegetables with dinner – two portions.
Spend time outdoors
Head outdoors and take advantage of our sunny climate. Research has shown that 10 minutes of direct exposure to sunlight, without sunscreen, is enough to kick-start the body’s production of vitamin D (if you have darker skin, you may need to spend a little longer outside). This aids the absorption of calcium, which helps form healthy bones and teeth.
Find the funny
As little as 10 minutes of laughter a day can burn 200 kilojoules and reduce stress levels. Not only will you feel more at ease, but it will also boost your immune system so you’re able to fight off disease and infection more effectively.
Listen to soothing sounds
Find it difficult to nod off? It should take anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes to fall asleep, but if you need some help scientists have discovered that listening to soothing music like soft jazz or relaxed classical (at a recommended 60-80 beats per minute – incidentally, the same as most people’s heart rate) can result in better quality of sleep. So schedule in 10 minutes of lazy listening before you plan to turn in for the night.