30 seconds to better health

Healthy habits need not be daunting. Here are four ways to improve your health in 10 minutes or less

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Honey to soothe a sore throat
Photo, Istockphoto.

The road to health is sometimes blocked by good intentions. That’s because, while kicking a bad habit can be daunting, picking up a good one can seem even more so. If we want to exercise more, for example, we imagine ourselves running 15K every morning, swathed from head to foot in fashion-forward, sweat wicking gear. Or, a simple desire to eat more veggies has us mentally plotting an organic brassica garden for the balcony. And when we can’t fulfill these high hopes, we give up altogether. So, drop that imaginary spade, ladies. Your next healthy habit need only take 30 seconds. For example, if you have:

30 seconds Put honey in your coffee. A study from the University of California, Davis concludes that four tablespoons of buckwheat honey daily boosts blood levels of disease fighting antioxidants. Or, for a sweet treat to share with the whole family, whip up our Apricot honey cake. Yum!

Two minutes Eat a bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk. Whole grains and dairy deliver magnesium, which Boston researchers have linked to lower rates of type 2 diabetes. In their analysis of 219 women, those with higher magnesium intakes also had lower levels of insulin in their blood, indicating a decreased risk of diabetes.

Five minutes Take the stairs. Regularly climbing stairs builds bone density and fitness — plus, just two flights a day can help you shed up to six pounds a year.

10 minutes Clean out your purse. A heavy bag can strain your shoulder, back and neck muscles, leading to muscle stiffness and headaches. For more easy ideas on how to improve your health, check out 29 quick health fixes.