Sex, Drugs, Rock 'n Roll — And Other Surprisingly Healthy Activities
So much of what we read about health revolves around the stuff we should be doing, ways to change our diet and exercise routines, and similar tips and tricks. Well, I'm here to give us all a big pat on the back for those activities we're already engaging in on a daily basis that contribute to overall wellness. Here are some things you're already doing to improve your health. (Related: 13 Bad Habits That Are Actually Good For You)
By taking the time to read online or offline, you're exercising your mind in many ways. Reading — especially longer works, like novels — "requires several different regions of the brain to work together" and this heightened state of thinking can continue beyond the page and into everyday life.
We've all heard it before, but did you know laughter really may be the best medicine? A good laugh can regulate blood flow, improve your immune system, lower blood sugar, aid with sleep, and even burn calories. Time to stream that comedy in your queue!
While experts seem split on exactly how much shut-eye adults need each night, what they seem to agree upon are the benefits. Think of your bedtime as a pit-stop for your body, where you'll service your "molecular, energy balance, as well as intellectual function, alertness, and mood" all at one time.
If you spend time with friends and family, you enjoy a host of good vibes and support. Beyond that, spending time with friends can improve confidence while reducing stress levels. And quality really does trump quantity when it comes to companions, so foster those close connections for a full, rich life.
Although I was once told that yawning was the brain's way of getting more oxygen, recent information shows that just isn't the case. However, yawning may actually regulate brain temperature to keep things cool and clear in your head. Apparently my brain is currently overheated, as I can't get through writing another sentence about this subject without, yes, yawning.
Stretching your arms and legs or gently twisting your spine might feel great, but it's also a healthy habit that helps you stand up straight. If you exercise, a little stretch can go a long way toward improving flexibility and range of motion, both keys to preventing injuries. (Related: Get — and Keep — Amazing Posture By Doing These 10 Stretches Today)
I always thought blinking was simply how our eyes kept clean and moist. Turns out, blinking serves a much more important function: wakeful rest. On average, our eyes are closed 10% of the daytime hours through blinking, allowing our minds to regularly reset and renew.
And farting are much more than smelly, loud embarrassments. The body produces a staggering 6.6 gallons of gas each day, with most being conveniently recycled in the gut. What remains needs somewhere to go, so it's OK to let it rip. And don't avoid those healthy foods (fibrous fruits and veggies) that produce gas — they nourish your whole digestive system.
In a study that included 38,000 men over a 12-year period, moderate drinking appeared to lower the risk of cardiovascular distress (heart attacks) by as much as 30% to 35%. And the beverage you choose doesn't seem to matter as much as the regularity with which you drink it. So, sip that glass of wine or pint of beer with confidence. Cheers!
That's right! Sex is good or you — very good, in fact. Love making in a stable, monogamous relationship has the power to reduce stress, relieve chronic pain, improve cardiovascular function, fight prostate cancer, heal wounds faster, and even slow the aging process. And the benefits increase with the more sex you have.
Listening to your favorite tunes is a fun way to relax, and it's also heart healthy. In a study of cardiac disease patients, those who cranked music while exercising saw 10% better heart function overall than those who exercised alone. No one genre was shown to yield better results than another, so it's cool if you're into Bach or Bowie or The Black Keys.