Get Younger in 5 Minutes Each Day

Try these five quick ways to boost your health and lower your RealAge.

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Think getting healthy is a sprint? Not so, says Keith Roach, MD, Sharecare’s Chief Medical Officer and co-creator of the RealAge test. “It’s not that you can say, I’m going to take these three days and get myself healthy,” he says. “That won’t work. What makes you healthy and keeps you healthy are the everyday activities that you do.” Try these ways to feel healthier—and lower your RealAge—in only five minutes a day.

Medically reviewed in April 2018.

Put On Your Running Shoes

2 / 6 Put On Your Running Shoes

Hitting a treadmill or outdoor trail is a smart idea for your health, but did you know that running just five to 10 minutes a day can give you a similar health boost? Researchers at Iowa State University assessed the health and physical activity of approximately 55,000 adults between the ages of 18 to 100, then followed up with them for about 15 years. Those who ran on a weekly basis reduced their mortality risk by 45 percent from heart disease or stroke when compared to those who didn’t run at all. Researchers also found that those who ran for just five to 10 minutes a day at a slower pace had the same mortality benefits as those who ran three hours or more per week.

Too Much Television

3 / 6 Too Much Television

Do you tend to end up on the couch when you get home? Well, two words may get you out of your comfy position: heart failure. In a study of 82,000 men, researchers found that sitting more than five hours a day outside of time on the job increased risk of heart failure. “Humans weren’t meant to sit for long periods,” says Dr. Roach. “Your heart needs to work.” He adds that standing at length isn’t good either, since it’s bad for your feet and knees. The ideal? Alternating between sitting and standing throughout the day. Desk job? Try a standing desk to break up your chair-bound day.

Make a Date

4 / 6 Make a Date

Making a social connection means great health benefits—and makes your RealAge younger by 2.6 years for men and 2.5 years for women. But it takes more than chitchatting about Game of Thrones. “What’s important is having someone you can talk to about big, important things,” says Roach. “Confiding in someone else and letting them confide in you will boost your health.” Sending texts, messages or emails isn’t a great solution, either. “By phone or in person is best,” says Roach. “It’s hard to put emotional context in typing,” says Roach. “And that’s what this is really about.”

Snack with a Salad

5 / 6 Snack with a Salad

You know that eating fruits and veggies is good for you, but did you know it could actually lower your chance of premature death? A study from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health followed approximately 6,100 people ages 30 to 93 who donated a blood sample in 1974 and 1989, when they also completed a food questionnaire. The participants were tracked until they died or 2002, when the study ended. Overall, the researchers found that those who ate the most fruits and vegetables, when compared to those who ate the least, had lower risk of mortality from all causes of death, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Take a Break

6 / 6 Take a Break

Think you’re too busy at work or home to take some time for yourself? Think again. “We’re always running around trying to do things,” says Roach. “We’ve got to get this done, we’ve got to get that done.” But he says that just five minutes of relaxing, mindfulness and breathing techniques can reduce stress—and this break may even help with your work. “Relaxing for five minutes can help your mind focus,” says Roach. “It also helps you get centered, decreases those stress levels and stress hormones and does lots of good things for your body.” Managing your stress increases longevity, too: For men it can make their RealAge 2.4 years younger and for women, 1.1 years younger.

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