3. Take a Look at Yourself (Naked) — in a Full-Length Mirror
Most of us avoid looking at our naked bodies no matter how fit we are. Because of that we can miss critical changes, says Ann Wertz Garvin, Ph.D., an expert in exercise physiology at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. "Looking at yourself naked gets you familiar with the normal you," says Garvin. "Then, you'll notice things such as bumps or spots of inflammation that can signal serious diseases if they don't go away." Don't get over-excited about anything that looks unusual, Garvin adds. Consult your doctor with any significant concerns.
4. Have Sex
A 10-year study of 1,000 middle-aged men at Queens University in Belfast, Ireland, showed that men who engaged in weekly sex had half the death rate of men who had less frequent orgasms. During sex, the body releases endorphins, the "joy" hormone, as stress hormones plummet. Muscles grow stronger, deep breathing and circulation increases, and chronic pain lessens. A benefit for both genders: People get sleepy after orgasm (sleep is good) and burn about 200 calories each time they, er, engage!
5. A Moment of Peace
Taking a moment, just before sleep, in the privacy of your bedroom, to pray or meditate and count your blessings can boost your mental health and your immune system. In his book Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., points out that people who consciously pause to give thanks, to the universe, to God, to their families, to one another, are less likely to experience anxiety, depression, headaches, muscle pain and other manifestations of stress. The last thing you think about at night is important, he says. Make it count.
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