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Do you have less spare time than Beyoncé has bad-hair days? Then you’ll love our speedy tips to help keep your wellbeing on track – in as little as 30 seconds
Sit-ups are old news: the safest and most effective way to a strong core (essential for everything from balance and bending to posture) is a plank, which uses muscles on the front, sides and back of the body. (Plank novice? Check out webmd.com to get it right.) Start by holding the pose for five or 10 seconds, building up to 30 seconds when you’re more confident. Then get planking a few times a day – try doing it first thing in the morning, when running a bath, or while waiting for the kids’ dinner to cook. Rock-hard abs can be yours!
What with back-to-school (and work) frenzy, you’re probably so frazzled that it feels like your August holiday happened to someone else. But there’s a simple way to get the ‘ahh’ back, and it’s all in the way you breathe. Get comfy (lie on a bed or a yoga mat, for example, or sit in a chair), then try this NHS-recommended breathing exercise to soothe away daily stresses; breathing in through your nose, let your breath flow as deep into your tummy as you can without forcing it, then breathe out through your mouth – try counting from one to five each time, and continue at a gentle pace for three to five minutes. Let the calm begin…
Here’s a tip to help keep your brain sharp: get learning. A study showed that older adults’ cognitive function improved when mastering challenging new skills. No time? No problem! With a pair of headphones (we love Sony ZX110 AP Headphones in Pink, £14.99/1,499 points) and free app Duolingo, you can start to pick up a new language in just 10 minutes a day. Or indulge your inner Elton John and learn to play the piano with the free Pocket Piano Song Universe app. What’s that noise? Oh, the sound of our brains growing.
New research indicates that walking less than half an hour a day is enough to help cut your risk of heart disease by 30%. We like! This simple activity has also been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and some cancers, and help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. And even a super-quick jaunt may have benefits: a University of Utah study found that every minute of daily brisk walking lowered the odds of obesity. Need more incentive? Get competitive at work: split into teams and see who does the most steps each week (keep track with a New Fitbit Alta Fitness Wristband, £99.99/9,999 points). The losing team buys skinny lattes for everyone!
Then consider Kalms Lavender One-A-Day Capsules, £6.49 (14 capsules), a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the relief of the symptoms of mild anxiety. Exclusively based on long-standing use as a traditional remedy. Always read the label.
Words Danielle Hine Photography Getty Images