You can probably recite the obvious habits for good health by heart — don't smoke, cut down on alcohol and so on. But did you know that singing and cold showers also put time on your side? Try these fun and easy tips today.
- Be a clown Children are fearless, but as adults we can become controlled by anxiety. Putting yourself in a position that involves not taking yourself seriously — such as juggling, playing with a hula-hoop or wearing a plastic nose — requires you to revert to your childlike state and leaves you feeling on a high. Visit Theatre Australia (www.theatre.asn.au) to find a clowning workshop near you.
- Breathe better Caffeine, tight clothes and eating quickly all conspire to make you hyperventilate (breathe too fast), adding years to your looks and raising your blood pressure. Breathe in through your nose for a count of three and then out for five. With practice, the pause between the in- and out-breaths will lengthen. Practise while commuting or waiting for the kettle to boil.
- Jump up and down Researchers at England's Nottingham University have found that women who jump or skip on the spot 50 times a day live longer. Skipping is both an aerobic exercise (meaning it strengthens the heart and lungs) and a strength-training one (builds muscle and improves bone density, helping to ward off osteoporosis).
- Have a cold shower A study from London's Brompton Hospital shows that cold showers make your heart and lungs work more efficiently, which may help boost immunity and improve circulatory health. Try a two-minute blast after a warm shower every morning.
- Sing a song Singing has great psychological and physical benefits: it stops you thinking about mundane and negative things and it increases the levels of oxygen in your body.
- Buy bread Research at Chicago's Smell and Taste Research Foundation has found that re-creating scents from our childhood can instantly make us feel younger. Dr Alan Hirsch, director of the foundation, says, "The olfactory lobe is part of the 'emotional brain', which is the area that stores memories. The quickest way to access these memories is through smell." The number one odour that conjures up childhood? Freshly baked bread!
- Have great sex Researchers have found that couples with a healthy sex life can look up to seven years younger than those who don't. Improving the quality of your sex life can help reduce stress — leading to greater contentment and better sleep.