health

8 science-based 'rules' that'll make you look and feel healthier in one month.

From juice cleanses and detoxes to fasting and weird diets, there are tonnes of health 'rules' and trends out there that might sound great, but are actually total BS.

However, this cute thing called science has been busy at work researching more and more about how our bodies work and What's Good for them. 

Over the years, little ol' science has compiled mountains of evidence in support of some really simple things you can do every day to look and feel healthier.

How good!

Watch: Here are scientific happiness hacks you need to try, STAT. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

The best part? It's nothing extreme. And you can start today.

Ready? Course you are! 

Here are eight science-backed health rules that can help you feel healthier in one month. 

1. Get moving.

We're not saying you gotta slog it out in a 45 minute HIIT class every morning. Nah. Just get your body moving a little every day, you know?

Researchers have found that it doesn’t really matter which kind of workout you do — as long as you're moving your body around regularly, your heart, muscles, and mind will be healthier and happier.

Recent research has found that a set of three 20-second bursts of all-out vigorous exercise can improve a person’s fitness by a whopping 20 per cent in three months. 

How insane is that?

If you've been sitting on the bench and haven't exercised for a while, just make sure you start off slowly before steadily building up to the amount of exercise you do. 

Remember, the more often you get moving, the easier it gets as you build strength and stamina.

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2. Cut back on salty, processed foods.

It's no big shock to know that it's typically healthier to eat foods in their most natural, recognisable state (i.e. not processed and sitting in cute packaging in the frozen aisle) - but did you know just how much cutting back on salty foods for a month can help improve your skin and your overall health? 

Probably not, or else you wouldn't be reading this, we guess.

When there’s too much salt in your blood, your kidneys have a hard time flushing out toxins, which can then build up in your system and raise your blood pressure.

Yikes.

A study found that people who ate high-sodium, low-potassium diets had a higher risk of dying from a heart attack, and a 20 per cent higher risk of death from any cause than people with the lowest sodium intakes.

That's... a lot.

Too much sodium can also wreak havoc on your skin by dehydrating your complexion (sodium basically sucks all the moisture from your skin). Your face might also become puffy due to water retention - which can result in pesky eye bags.

Instead of diving into the salty snacks (it's HARD we know), try incorporating more whole foods (like fresh vegetables, fruits and nuts) into your diet this month and we promise you'll see a difference.

3. Eat more fibre.

Fibre can do a lot of Good Things for your health. Not only can it give you more energy for longer than its sugary, carby counterparts, it'll also keep you feeling nice 'n' full (without feeling bloated) and your digestive system in good check. What a win.

So, make sure you get some fibre-y goodness on your plate every day. Get this stuff from real food and look out for whole grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. 

With that said, don't go too hard too fast, mmkay? Cause if you go from eating 10mg or fibre every day to, like, 50mg - your stomach is going to freak out and you'll experience fun stuff like diarrhea and bloating. Cute!

Another important fact: Don't forget to chug down some water, too - you want to keep all that good stuff moving through your bod.

4. Get seven to eight hours of sleep per night.

We all know that getting more sleep is a thing we should do, but what you might not know just how important it is. (Spoiler: VERY).

To put it simply, neuroscientist Matthew Walker, who wrote the book Why We Sleep, simply told Business Insider, “The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life."

A lack of sleep depletes stores of your “natural killer cells,” - basically a type of lymphocyte (white blood cell) that fights off virus cells and other bad guys. 

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According to Walker, a single four or five hour night of sleep could lower your body’s “natural killer” cell count by around 70 per cent. 

Sheesh. That's huge, you guys.

Insufficient sleep has also been linked to increased instances of Alzheimers, obesity, stroke, and diabetes.

And don't worry - it's not just you who isn't clocking enough hours every night. It’s estimated that two-thirds of adults around the world aren’t getting enough sleep each night.

So how many hours do you really need?

Well, The World Health Organisation recommends about eight hours a night as a good baseline. But if you're anything like us, your current sleep cycle just ain't cutting it.

So, be strict with yourself for a month and try to get eight hours of shut-eye every night (read: don't just ignore your iPhone when it does the 'bedtime bell' thingo). We bet you'll notice a difference.

5. Stay hydrated.

Given that your cute bod is made up of about 60 per cent water, it's probably no real shock that making sure you keep yourself hydrated is super beneficial for your health. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood. 

Downing enough fluid every day will ensure your body can effectively flush out toxins, regulate your temperature, and keep your blood moving around more effectively.

So how much water should you drink every day?

Well, according to Harvard School of Public Health, experts recommend drinking around eleven cups of water per day for the average woman. 

Sounds like a lot of bathrooms trips, we know - but all of those cups don't have to come from plain water. For example, some can come from fruit or vegetables, coffee or tea. 

That sounds pretty doable, right?

6. Moisturise your skin regularly.

You should use a moisturiser on the daily, people. Yes, EVEN if you have oily skin.

Why? Because using a moisturiser will make your skin look and feel better. Cause science said.

According to this study, moisturisers provide a whole heap of benefits, such as making the skin smooth and soft, increasing skin hydration, and improving not only the way it functions, but the way it looks. 

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Moisturisers also function as vehicles to deliver do-good ingredients into the skin, like vitamins, antioxidants and peptides.

The good news is you can't really go wrong with what kind of moisturiser you choose - they all pretty much do the same thing. 

So, if you like the bougie stuff, go for it. If you're not that fussed, there are heaps of inexpensive options on the market that do exactly the same thing.

It can take around a month for your skin to get used to a product and for you to see results, so you won’t be able to see complete results for at least a few weeks after starting a new skincare routine.

7. Try meditation.

As the pandemic-fuelled times have taught us, health is also about improving your mind, too.

While exercising and spending time with friends and family has been scientifically proven to help improve your mood significantly, so too is the research surrounding meditation.

According to the National Institute of Health the benefits around practicing meditation are endless. Based on what we know so far, meditating may reduce blood pressure, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression, and insomnia.

Pretty impressive, no?

If you've never tried meditating and wondering how to start, here's a beginner's guide to meditation. 

8. Write down your goals each week.

What if we told you that the key to personal success is writing down your goals? Well... yeah - that's exactly what we're telling you.

We can prove it with science! *Rustling of paper*.

A study by the Dominican University in California found that you're 42 per cent more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis.

Just in case you didn't catch that - By. Writing. S**t. Down.

Research suggests that doing this can have a strong positive effect on your mood and overall life satisfaction.

No biggie.

So, dream big and write it down, people.

Look at you! We can almost *feel* the health radiating off you!

Would you try any of these tips? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Getty