Start The New Year Right -- Here's How To Plan Your Day According To Science
Healthy habits -- we've all got them.
You know, those "sure-fire" tricks you swear by because heard it from that guy at the coffee shop -- the one who always wears his gym gear -- but how effective are they, really?
You only have to ask around to find out that while everyone has an opinion, nobody knows all the answers. Thankfully, scientists are looking for solutions too -- so who else better to take advice from, right?
From the best time of day to exercise to boosting your natural immunity, here are a few ways science can help you navigate the tough decisions you make every day.
Don't shower everyday
As icky as it might sound, it's better to skip your daily cleansing ritual and instead shower every other day. In addition to washing away the dirt and grime, experts say showering too often can also strip your body of beneficial bacteria, as well as natural oils that help keep your hair and skin healthy.
What's more, a University of Utah study revealed that being over-zealous in the bathroom not only damages your microbiome -- the trillions of helpful bacteria, viruses and other microbes that live in and on your body -- but it can also lead to disease. As a result, your immune system, digestion and even your heart could suffer.
Avoid coffee in the morning
So you're probably aware that it's not a good idea to drink coffee in the afternoon -- especially if you find it difficult to get to sleep at night. But you might be surprised to learn that your delicious morning brew -- might not be doing exactly what you think it is -- that is, waking you up.
According to Stephen Miller, a PhD candidate at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, you should avoid drinking coffee between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. -- when your cortisol levels are at their highest -- because cortisol is strongly related to the level of alertness. In other words, your coffee will be less effective. Instead, he said to drink up between 9.30 a.m. and 11.30 a.m.
Exercise early on an empty stomach
So you've committed to getting in shape and already you're starting to feel the burn -- congrats! But despite embarking on your new fitness regime, if you're not shedding the kilos and seeing the results you'd like to, it could be the time of day when you hit the gym that's holding you back.
According to the Journal of Physiology, exercising on an empty stomach first thing in the morning can help speed weight loss and boost energy levels by prompting your body to burn more fat throughout the day. The study also revealed that an early-morning workout may help your body tap into its fat stores instead of relying on the most recent snack.
Forget the multivitamin
Vitamins and minerals are an essential part of health -- when we get them from a balanced diet. Of course, there will be times when taking a supplement can be beneficial, but as experts suggest, the ingredients you're looking for in a pill are better processed by your body when you get them from real food that you eat.
What's more, a recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that when it comes to strengthening your heart muscle, there was little or no evidence that taking a multivitamin or vitamins C, D, or calcium reduces your risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke or early death.
Don't worry about germs
Let's face it, commuting to work is one of the worst things we routinely have to do. Aside from the pushing and the shoving, the wet winter days can also make your morning bus trip to work a squishy, stinky living hell. Needless to say, all those dirty hands grasping onto the rails as the bus turns the corner are a breeding ground for germs, right? Maybe not.
According to a team of American researchers -- who made it their mission to study all the "nasty" germs crawling on the rails of the New York Subway --, it was revealed that of the nearly 600 different types of bacteria examined, almost all of the germs were, in fact, harmless. What's more, it was suggested that those creepy-crawlies may even help strengthen your natural immunity.
Feature image: Getty.
The article first appeared Jun 10, 2018