I recently asked our team if they had read any good books lately! A resounding YES was the answer and I was pointed in the direction of Dr Michael Mosley and his new book titled Just One Thing – How Simple Changes Can Transform Your Life. The book is based on the popular BBC programme of the same name, where Dr Mosley shows how changing one small thing in your daily routine can significantly benefit your health.
We all want quick and easy ways to improve our health, but when it comes to diet, fitness and wellbeing it can be hard to know where to turn for accurate information. Harder still is finding things that fit into your day.
So what if you were told that standing on one leg can have huge health benefits, a cold shower can help lower your stress levels, and eating chocolate is good for your heart? These simple things might surprise you – but they can really work.
Dr Mosley explains all of this, and presents many more surprising scientifically proven facts. He’s talked to experts and road-tested all his tips to help you find that one small thing that could make a real difference to how you feel every day and, importantly, long into the future.
Here is a list of the Just One Things to try in your daily routine, an opportunity to set up some really positive and empowering daily habits to support your health and wellbeing and find yourself in a state of thriving and flow not just surviving.
For some of these things, the timing is important. For example a walk has added benefits when you go outside in the early-morning light; coffee is best drunk a couple of hours after you’ve woken up and 90 mins after eating, and a hot bath works best as part of a snooze-inducing wind-down routine in the evening. But the rest? Mix them up as much as you like. In fact, a few things – such as drinking water, singing, standing up, taking a break and deep breathing – can be happily peppered at intervals throughout your day.
Intelligent exercises – a few mins of squats or push ups every day
Cold shower – after your normal warm shower, turn the tap to the oldest setting and breathe slowly and steadily (try box breathing) for 10-60 seconds
Sing – Sing loudly for 5 mins a day
Meditate – Practise mindful meditation for 10 mins a day
Early morning walk – Head out for a brisk walk within 2 hours of waking up each morning
Change your meal times – Delay your breakfast by 1 hour and try not to eat within 3 hours of going to bed
Drink water – Try to drink a glass of water 15-30 mins before every meal
Eat some bacteria – Try eating sauerkraut or other fermented foods like kimchi or kefir
Stand on one leg – Raise one leg and use your core muscles to help you balance
Drink coffee – Drink 1-3 cups a day
Take a break – Down tools and take a break a few times a day
Deep breaths – Spend a few mins each day practising slow, controlled breathing
Exercise less, but more often – Break your exercise up into bite-sized chunks, perhaps 3 lots of 10 mins
Eccentric exercise – Run downhill, walk briskly down the stairs or lower weights
Think yourself stronger – Spend 15-20 mins a day mentally rehearsing a skill or activity you’d like to perfect
Enjoy oily fish – Eat a portion of mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring or anchovies at least twice a week
Eat beetroot – Eat 2 or 3 beetroot, 2-3 times a week
An apple a day – Eat an apple, unpeeled, every day
Get some house plants – Put 5 fast growing plants in the rooms you use most often. Snake plant, Spider plant, Ivy, Peace Lily, Aloe Vera, Rosemary
Take a nap – Snatch the chance for a 20 min snooze after lunch
Get some sun – Spend 10-45 mins in the sun outside of peak UV periods
Play video games – Play a high action game for 30 mins a day to enhance focus skills
Green spaces – Aim to spend a few hours each week in a green space enjoying the sights, sounds and smells
Stand up – Stand up for 2-3 mins every hour
Eat chocolate – Replace sweet treats with a couple of squares of dark chocolate
Dance – Spend 5-10 mins dancing to music each day
Learn a new skill – Pic something you find enjoyable and challenging, and devote 20-30 mins to it each day
Hot bath – Enjoy a soak in a hot bath 90 mins before bed to promote sleep
Read – Read a book for 30 mins each day, ideally a work of fiction
Count your blessings – Last thing at night before bed, write down 3 things for which you feel grateful