As we work on implementing healthier lifestyles, occasionally it can become overwhelming. We can start feeling guilty or anxious about not having accomplished enough to be healthy today or this week or this year, and those feelings can even make us want to give up altogether.
But it’s important to remember that even small steps are beneficial – even five minutes a day of a positive activity can significantly influence our health and make us feel better.
“Sometimes it feels like your health and wellness require your constant attention. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay on top of your health every minute of every day.
"There are small things you can do on a daily basis to improve your health,” says Ashlee Van Buskirk, owner of Whole Intent, which offers fitness and nutrition coaching.
Move your body
“Whenever you have five minutes to spare, challenge yourself with a quick physical activity!” Van Buskirk says. “When you’re waiting at the bus stop, take the initiative to do 30 squats. While you’re boiling the water for your pasta dinner tonight, do as many burpees as you can until the water is ready. Five minutes is all the time that you need to get in some short bursts of physical activity.”
Review your nutrition
Five minutes is additionally enough time to evaluate your personal nutrition for the week, Van Buskirk says.
“If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, think back to the meals that you’ve had this week so far. Try to catalogue each meal and add up their nutritional values. When you reflect on your nutrition for the week, you can figure out just how healthily you’ve been eating. This can help you plan out some healthier meals to create over the next few weeks.”
“When you dedicate at least five minutes every day to stretching, you can improve your blood circulation, alleviate recurring muscular pains, improve the health of your joints and ligaments, and give yourself more energy,” says Van Buskirk.
“Try to start and close out every day with five minutes of stretching. You’ll find it can greatly benefit your health.”
“You also can’t rule out the importance of sleep. Of course, a five-minute cat nap won’t make a big difference on your day. But you can try to hit the hay five minutes earlier every night.”
Stress and anxiety affect our overall health, and meditation is a great way to lower our stress levels – especially in just five minutes.
“Five minutes of meditation can help you immediately lower your stress levels and make you feel more in control of your well-being,” continues Van Buskirk. “Try to spend five minutes every day just meditating – sitting quietly, focusing on your breathing and clearing your mind of anxious thoughts. It’s a terrific way to destress, lower your blood pressure, alleviate some pains and centre your focus for the rest of the day.”
Check in with your WW App
Five minutes is more than enough time to check in on your progress toward your goals, find a healthy recipe, sync up your fitness tracker or get to know members of the WW community with the award-winning WW app.
Five Bonus five-minute tips
Lisa Yee, a personal trainer, life coach and owner of LisaFIT, reports her leading five tips for healthy things you can do in five minutes:
- Go for a walk, WITHOUT your phone.
- Sit quietly, one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly.
- Focus on a five-count inhale and five-count exhale.
- Massage your scalp.
- Give yourself five minutes (and five minutes only!) to complain about something.