10 2-Minute Habits That Will Change Your Life

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You want to get healthier, but where do you start? Should you do a cleanse or see a nutritionist? Join a yoga studio or hire a trainer? If it seems overwhelming and you're just not sure what direction to head in — start small. You don't have to revamp your whole life all at once. You can move toward a healthier lifestyle simply by incorporating any of these 11 healthy habits into your daily routine. They only take a couple minutes, and they all have tremendous health returns.

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A man chewing his food slowly
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2. Chew Slower

How you eat is just as important as what you eat. Not chewing food well can lead to indigestion, bloating and poor nutrient absorption. The longer you chew, the longer food is exposed to saliva, according to Hillcrest Hospital, and saliva helps break it down so your body can better absorb it. More thorough chewing also helps keep your teeth strong and prevent plaque build-up.

"Chewing slowly can help you practice mindful eating. It slows down the eating process, so you can recognize fullness and hunger levels a bit better," adds Leah Kaufman, RD, CDN. "One way to practice chewing and eating slowly is to set your fork down in between bites."

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A woman drinking a glass of water with lemon and lime slices
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3. Sip Warm Lemon Water

Swapping out ice water with warm lemon water first thing in the morning is a great way to rehydrate your body and quench your thirst. "Warm lemon water decreases inflammation, promotes hydration and aids in digestion," Kaufman tells LIVESTRONG.com. "Lemons contain a high amount of vitamin C and soluble fiber that increases these health benefits. We often do not consume lemons whole, so adding lemons in water is a great way to utilize the benefits of this fruit."

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4. Take Movement Breaks

Your body thrives on movement, so your morning workout alone doesn't cut it. Movement throughout the day can ward off stiffness, aid in circulation, boost energy, increase focus and burn more calories. "Studies have shown that the connection between the brain and the body is a two-way street. Exercise and movement throughout the day can change the way your brain works," says Jim White, RDN, dietitian, ACSM-certified health fitness instructor and owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios.

"'Sitting disease' is real, and to increase your longevity, you should stand up every 30 minutes for at least a minute," White says. "These small breaks can reduce your chances of getting heart disease. If possible, make your commute to work physical activity. Use a standing desk at work or take more breaks to stand and walk around. Try taking the stairs and parking farther back in the lot."

Read more: 8 Simple Hacks to Boost Your Health While You Commute

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5. Straighten Up

Proper posture — with the spine aligned and the joints stacked — puts your body at ease, increases flexibility, reduces tension and strain, support digestions and ensures that muscles and tissues are well oxygenated, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine. "Changing your posture can reduce stress, depression and anxiety. Good posture tends to lead toward a feeling of wellbeing," White adds.

To improve posture, you first have to be mindful of it. When standing, keep your shoulders back with your stomach pulled in. With your head level, put most of your weight on the balls of your feet (that should be shoulder-width apart) and let your arms hang down naturally. While sitting, make sure to switch positions often, stretch those muscles, make sure your feet are touching the floor, relax your shoulders and keep your back supported.

Read more: 8 Surprising Ways Your Posture Affects Your Whole Body

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6. Go Barefoot

One of the greatest health tools is right under your feet — literally. Walking or standing barefoot on the ground for a few minutes a day, also known as earthing or grounding, sounds simple enough, but how often are you actually doing it? A January 2012 review published in the Journal of Environmental Public Health found that direct contact with the electrons on Earth's surface can basically recharge your body. Health effects include improved mood and sleep, and reduced inflammation and chronic pain. Just try to steer clear of branches, rocks, nails, animal poop…you know.

Read more: Is It OK to Exercise Barefoot?

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7. Dry Brush Your Skin

Your skin is your body's biggest organ, so you should be taking care of it. The mechanical action of dry brushing, according to the Cleveland Clinic, can reveal your skin's natural beauty — especially in the winter — by exfoliating dead skin cells and unclogging your pores. The practice also aids in detox, as it promotes lymph drainage and increases blood circulation, and it stimulates your nervous system, which can make you feel energized.

Buy a brush with natural, stiff bristles. With dry skin and right before the shower, start at your feet and brush in long, sweeping motions on your limbs, and circular motions on your chest and back. Move in an upward direction without applying too much pressure on more sensitive areas. You can do this for a couple minutes every day.

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8. Set an Intention

When you want to break out of your comfort zone or start a new healthy habit, you need to have a strong intention to do so. Intention-setting is a powerful mindfulness practice that's different from goal-setting, according to Edutopia. Goals are clear targets to hit, while intentions are guiding principles.

You can set an intention for every action in your life. Before eating, set an intention to eat mindfully. Before working out, connect to your intention. Ask yourself, "What am I aiming to achieve?"

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9. Apply that SPF

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Those are some scary statistics. To reduce your risk, use an SPF 15 sunscreen daily.

Look for a sunscreen with the mineral zinc oxide for UVA protection. If you're going to be outside for at least two hours, be sure to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 that's sweat- and water-resistant.

Read more: The 27 Safest Sunscreens and 3 to Avoid

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If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911. If you think you may have COVID-19, use the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker.
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