Clean living has never been more popular: think of those incredibly Instagrammable smoothie bowls and the recent ubiquity of the avocado. However, many of us still struggle to adopt good habits around a hectic life that’s often messy and filled with unexpected surprises. Hack your way to better health with these five easy tips that you could incorporate into your daily routine today.
Drink lemon water every morning
Beyoncé and Gwyneth Paltrow both swear by this tip and it’s not hard to see why: the benefits to drinking lemon water appear to be endless. Lemons are well-known for containing sky-high levels of antioxidants, which can help to decrease blemishes and wrinkles—all while giving your immune system a slight boost. But did you know that lemons also contain pectin fiber? Pectin slows down the passage of food through the intestines, meaning that you’ll feel fuller for longer, staving off those pesky pre-lunch hunger pangs. Making your own lemon water is easy: just squeeze half a lemon (or a whole one, if you’re feeling especially virtuous) into hot water, and stir—there you have it, a quick way to pack some extra goodness into your morning routine! To supercharge this hack, try adding some grated fresh ginger to your lemon water: it’s not only an effective anti-inflammatory, it’s also excellent at combatting morning sickness and nausea, too.
Use weights when blow-drying
This hack’s a must-try for anyone with long hair; add wrist weights to your arms before you start drying your hair or using other styling tools. Depending on the length and thickness, it could take nearly 20 minutes before your hair is completely dry—an ideal length of time for a mini-workout! A quick note on wrist weights: those in the 1-3 pound range have been identified as the safest to use—over-exertion isn’t in line with life hack philosophy, unfortunately!
It can be hard to find the time to fit exercise in around a full-time job, but luckily there are ways to improve your body’s strength and flexibility at your desk. You won’t get a strenuous workout, but performing some of these exercises can help you combat the pitfalls of a sedentary lifestyle. We’ve even picked things that won’t make you look (too) silly in the office—we’re looking at you, desk treadmill.
- Avoid carpal tunnel syndrome
- Seated leg raises
- “Magic carpet ride”
If you find yourself glued to your keyboard day in, day out, then you’re at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. However, you can avoid this nasty affliction by performing one simple move. Stand at your desk and, with arms straight, place your palms on the desk with your fingers pointed toward you. Lower your body slowly until you feel the stretch. Repeat as needed throughout the day.
To your colleagues, you appear engrossed in the latest business report, but little do they know you’re secretly practicing calisthenics at your desk—how sneaky! While seated, straighten one or two legs and hold in place for five seconds. Then lower your leg(s) toward the ground without letting the feet touch the floor. Repeat for 15 repetitions. You can make this exercise even more effective by looping a bag or briefcase around the ankle for added weight.
Sit in your chair with your legs crossed and your feet on the seat. Then place your hands on the armrests, suck in your stomach, and raise yourself a few inches above the seat (carefully, if you have a swivel chair!), using your stomach, arm muscles, and hands for support. Hold for 10-20 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat five times.
Turn your favorite TV show into a workout
We’re all guilty of it. We say we haven’t got time to hit the gym, but will happily allocate three plus hours to binge on our favorite shows every night. What if there was a way to put that TV time to good use? A more obvious suggestion is to take advantage of the thousands of free workout videos on YouTube; , Fitness Blender, and BeFiT are especially good. But if the idea of enthusiastic lycra-clad fitness enthusiasts is a little off-putting (seriously, who’s actually smiling during squats?), then why not turn your favorite TV show into a unique workout. Check out Buzzfeed’s comprehensive list of 43 TV show workouts that will have you sweating while still managing to stay abreast of all the best shows out there.
Match your playlist to your workout length
Workouts are much easier with music accompanying them. It’s been proven that music can help you run faster and listening to music post-workout can even speed recovery, too. By making your playlist the same length as your workout, you’ll spend less time glancing at your screen the whole way through; you just stop when the music does. Health and fitness sites, such as Runner’s World, put together monthly 90-minute playlists of the best running tracks that you can pick and choose from to suit your workout. Alternatively, you can use apps such as Spotify to create playlists that are suited to your personal running pace—so you have no excuse not to get outside and start moving!