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7 Ways to Make Your Morning Healthier

Rise and shine! Here’s how to make the first hour the best part of your day

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    Skip the news

    En español | Starting your day already stressed? Blame the bad news. In a 2014 poll, 40 percent of those who said they were under a great deal of stress pinpointed this top reason: watching or listening to the news. The negativity may make you worried and anxious before you have to tackle the stressors in your own life. Stay informed, but consider listening to a book on tape or podcast during your commute to keep you on an even keel.

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    Pump up your breakfast

    It’s easy to get protein at lunch (turkey sandwich) and dinner (salmon and veggies), but people often skimp at breakfast (toast and fruit). Eating more protein during the day, including breakfast, is linked to less body fat, better muscle function and better blood sugar control, research shows. A few higher protein morning options: Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and hardboiled eggs.

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    Throw open the shades

    Now this is a reason to love a good sunrise. A 2014 PLOS One study found that more early morning light exposure is associated with lower body fat, possibly because it resets your circadian rhythm, which could boost your metabolism. Heading outdoors is best, but at the very least open your shades to stream in lots of light.

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    Prep coffee

    Your daily java packs big health perks. The latest: drinking at least four cups a day slashes your risk of melanoma by 20 percent, compared to the noncaffeinated set, per research in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Program your coffee maker to brew in the a.m. or premake a big batch of iced Joe so it’s ready to go when you are.

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    Focus on your shower

    Morning meditation is helpful, but if you’re pressed for time, even getting in short bursts — called mindful meditation — can help brain areas responsible for memory and stress, say Harvard researchers. “Mindfulness” means being aware of sensations in the moment, like focusing in the shower on the feel of the warm water on your skin and the smell of your body wash.

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    Turn up the tunes

    Add energy to your morning routine with upbeat music. People who listened to positive tunes while trying to be happier and improve their mood reported more happiness after two weeks compared with a control group. It turns out being cheerful is a decision you can make — and music can help reinforce that sunshiny mentality.

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    Take a 10-minute walk

    Whether you do it outdoors or on a treadmill when the weather turns icky, commit to a short stint of activity. Overweight postmenopausal women who walked at a modest pace for only 74 minutes a week improved their quality of life (like mood and energy) compared with a sedentary group — whether they lost weight or not. So get out there!

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