We are excited to share one of our fave stories from Prevention here on FitSugar!Minor moves that offer major benefits for your mind and body
By Alyssa Shaffer, Prevention
Brush and Floss
Health boost: Cut risk of head and neck cancer by 400 Percent
Take good care of your smile and you'll have more than just white teeth to show for it. New research from Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY, shows that people with the chronic gum disease periodontitis have a fourfold risk of developing a type of head or neck cancer (which makes up about 5 percent of all malignancies in the United States), especially in the mouth and throat. The risk was increased even among patients who never used tobacco. Gum disease occurs when the bacteria that live in plaque infect the gums, so brush and floss regularly to prevent plaque buildup.
Hide Your TV Remote
Health boost: Whittle 2 inches from your belly
When switching TV stations, put down the remote, get up, and do it manually. An Australian study found that people who did the greatest amount of light activity during otherwise sedentary behavior, such as watching TV, had 16 percent smaller waist circumferences than those who were inclined to stay put. Even the simple act of getting up and walking around for a minute or so was enough to make a difference, regardless of whether they had a regular workout schedule.
They also had lower body mass indexes and triglyceride and glucose levels, all of which are associated with a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. More ways to break up an otherwise inactive day: Stand up every time the phone rings at your desk; take the long way back to your desk after a bathroom break; do some stretches before reading a new e-mail.
Doodle During Work Meetings
Health boost: Improve memory by 29 Percent
People who doodled while listening to a recorded message had nearly one-third better recall of the details than those who didn't draw, according to a study published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology. "Doodling acts as a buffer against daydreaming," explains researcher Jackie Andrade, PhD, a professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Plymouth in England. "It provides just enough distraction to stop you from drifting off, but you can still focus on what is being said."
Find more ways to boost your health after the break.
Strike a Warrior Pose
Health boost: Ease back pain by 56 Percent
Spending time on a yoga mat can significantly reduce chronic lower-back pain, according to a study from West Virginia University. Researchers asked 45 people whose back pain caused mild to moderate disability to do a 90-minute yoga workout twice a week for 6 months. Compared with patients who only continued whatever therapy they'd already been doing, the new yogis reported significantly less pain and better function and fewer symptoms of depression (down almost 60 percent). They also continued to see these benefits even 6 months later.
Drink Milk at Breakfast
Health boost: Shed 5 pounds
Women who consumed a large (20-ounce) glass of fat-free milk in the morning ate, on average, 50 fewer calories at lunch, compared with days when they drank fruit juice with the same number of calories, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers say the milk drinkers felt more satisfied and were less likely to overeat at their next meal. Over a year, that translates to a 5-pound loss.
Pour a Glass of Pinot
Health boost: Live 5 years longer
A Dutch study following 1,300 men for 40 years found that those who regularly drank up to a half glass of wine each day boosted their life expectancy by half a decade, compared with teetotalers. Study authors say the polyphenolic compounds in wine (especially red) may have heart-healthy effects that are probably seen in women as well. "Alcohol raises levels of 'good' cholesterol and can increase levels of tPA [tissue plasminogen activator], a protein that helps break down blood clots; both benefits can help minimize potentially life-threatening ailments such as stroke and heart disease," says Katz. But remember, because even modest alcohol intake is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, if you are a social drinker, keep your daily intake low — no more than one glass per day (men can have up to two).