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50 Lifehacks to Help You Live Longer and Healthier

by Kyle Tuttle

Girl doing pushups
Photo by mikebaird

With all the work that's put into fitness and health, it's a wonder how some people manage to have lives outside of work and exercise.

A healthy lifestyle can be a pretty hard thing to achieve. There seems to be so much micromanaging involved, from scheduling your workouts to tracking your diet for calories, carbs, proteins, and fats.

That's what lifehacks are for. Lifehacks act as your own personal shortcuts to a healthier lifestyle. These simple, out-of-the-box methods for improving the quality of your life are everywhere; you just have to know where to look. Here are 50 such lifehacks designed to keep you in tip-top shape, as well as improve your emotional and mental health:

Diet and Nutrition

    1. Fifteen Negative Calorie Foods — You'd be surprised to know that some foods actually burn more calories than they contain. If you're watching your weight and need to manage your calories, you'll be glad to know that you can do so while snacking. These negative calorie foods, such as celery, apples, and watermelons, can be found in just about every grocery, making dieting easy and delicious.

    2. Get the Most out of Carrots by Cooking Them Whole — Research has proven that carrots are rich in nutrients like vitamin A. Research also shows that cooking carrots whole, rather than chopped or diced, preserves more of the nutrients locked within. Cooking them whole also allows them to keep more of their flavour, making them good for both your health and your taste buds.

    3. Eating Slowly can Help You Lose Weight, among Other Things — It can take a bit of a while for your brain to register the sensation of being full, so eating at a slow and steady pace helps make sure that your brain and stomach are on the same page, reducing the chances of overeating. And that's just one of the many benefits taking your time while eating can bring you.

    4. Enjoy the Benefits of Wine without the Alcohol — Red wine has long been touted as a healthy beverage when drunk in moderation. However, we all know it's pretty tough to drink a good bottle of wine in moderation. Thankfully, good old red grape juice can provide most of the health benefits of red wine, such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, while keeping alcohol out of your system.

    5. Tea is Healthier than Water — Speaking of drinks, research has shown that tea can actually be healthier than water. While water is great at replenishing your body's fluids, tea does the same job while adding in some antioxidants to boot. While some people might argue that the caffeine in tea gives it dehydrating properties, experts agree that the net gain of fluids is more than substantial enough despite the caffeine.

    6. Five Essential Weight Loss Foods — The easiest way to lose weight is to cut down on how much you eat. However, starvation diets are for the most part incredibly unhealthy. The proper way to lose weight is through a proper, balanced diet and exercise. These five foods provide ample nutrition even as you trim your portions.

    7. The 33 Healthiest Foods on Earth — You know the old adage — "you are what you eat". If you're looking to be really healthy, then, it's a good idea to load up on some really healthy food. Included in the list of the 33 healthiest foods on the planet are asparagus, butternut squash, and papaya. Incorporating these foods into your diet will not only make you feel better, but you'll probably live longer, too.

    8. The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating — A lot of nutritionists seem to recommend the same foods, and with good reason — these recommendations are based on years of scientific research for their nutritional value. However, a few gems, like beets and sardines, are often overlooked despite their numerous health benefits. Get the low-down on these foods that are low in popularity, but high in health.

    9. 12 Tips to Drink 8 Cups a Day — Doctors recommend drinking at least 8 cups of water a day to maintain optimum health. However, this is often easier said than done. Some people lose track of how much they drink, others don't really drink that much in a single day, while others still just don't like water. Here are 12 tips to help you get your daily dose of H2O with ease.

    10. Making Healthier Choices with Fast Food — Some people would say that fast food is unavoidable; few individuals can resist the call of all those delicious, empty carbs. While you can't make fast food healthy per se, you can at least make healthier choices with the fast food you eat. A few tips on how to pick more healthful items on fast food menus will help reduce the guilt while giving you that same satisfying feeling.

Fitness and Exercise

    1. Recording Yourself Helps Increase Your Reps — Exercise is half mental — you've got to stay focused and dedicated to your workout if you want any results. For most people, the hardest part of working out is the motivation; people get lazy doing reps. You can trick yourself into doing a few extra reps by filming yourself as you work out. We all have a tendency to over-perform when we know we're on camera, and the same follows as we exercise.

    2. Hindu Push-up — Have many times have you thought to yourself, "wouldn't it be great if there was a way to combine yoga with push-ups?" Maybe never, but this variation on the push-up does just that. It mixes up the great upper body workout provided by a push-up with the excellent muscle stretching of a yoga pose. Beginners should be careful — this exercise may be a little bit harder to pull off than it looks.

    3. NEAT Activities to Burn Calories — Short for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, NEAT activities do exactly what they sound like — help you burn calories without really exercising. Calories are, in the most basic terms, what your body uses for energy. By using up the excess energy with simple movements, you end up burning off some calories. By increasing the number of times you do little gestures like tapping your fingers or wiggling your feet, you can burn up to 350 calories a day!

    4. Fight Off Carpal Tunnel with a Few Simple Desk Exercises — Most office workers today spend a lot of time at their computers, increasing the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. With a few simple exercises, though, you can reduce the strain on your carpals and lessen the chances of developing the condition. The exercises are easy enough to do at your desk, and can be done while on the job.

    5. Add More to Your Squats by Using a Pillow — If you think about it, exercises work by increasing the strain on your body. The only way to get stronger muscles is to give them a hard time. You can make your squats a little more difficult (which makes them a little more effective at the same time) by standing on a pillow and throwing your balance off.

    6. Learn What Your Foot Type is Before Buying Running Shoes — The speed and distance you run can be significantly affected by how comfortable your feet are. After all, it's pretty hard to keep pace when you feel like you're dying from the ankle down. Before you spend your hard-earned cash on some high-tech running shoes, remember that not all feet are made the same; some people are flat-footed, while some have high arches. Different shoes are just made to fit better with different types of feet, and getting the right type of running shoes can mean a world of difference when it comes to comfort.

    7. Watching TV can Help You Lose Weight — Television gets a bad rap for getting people out of shape. After all, most individuals just sit in front of it all day without getting a minute of exercise. You can use TV's ability to mesmerize you to your fitness advantage by watching your favourite shows as you're exercising. TV provides a great distraction to the aches and pains of your workout, and may even make it seem a little fun.

    8. 13 Tips to Actually Enjoy Exercising — Who said workouts have to feel like work? Boost your motivation by applying these simple tips to make exercise fun for a change. As long as you're enjoying what you're doing, the all-consuming desire to getting off the treadmill and resume a state of vegetation seems to fly away.

    9. Ditch the Crunches; Do Push-ups Instead — As anyone who's ever done a lot of crunches will tell you — they give you a lot of back pain. The human body just wasn't meant to move like that. Instead of risking long-term back injury in your quest for washboard abs, try upping the amount of push-ups you do instead. The position your body is in as you do push-ups puts a little bit of strain on your abdominal muscles, too, giving them a substantial workout.

    10. Getting Fit with Minimal Equipment — Going to the gym is a great way to stay fit, but it can be both bothersome and expensive. Unfortunately, you probably find yourself going there because you just don't have the right equipment for your workouts. These exercises will help you stay in shape with little to no use of equipment at all.

    11. Five Quick Exercises You can Do at Your Desk — It's a pretty common excuse: "I don't go to the gym because I don't have the time." Of course, for some of those who say it, it's a valid excuse. If you're one of those unfortunate enough to have their exercise time swallowed alive by work, here are a few exercises that are simple and easy enough to do right at your desk.

    12. Improve Muscle Tone with 10 Minutes of Exercise a Day — It's a busy, busy world these days, and the quest for the all-mighty dollar has people scrambling for time. Between work, sleep, and recreational time, there's not much space left for exercise. However, with a few guidelines and some basic exercises, you can squeeze a quality workout into ten minutes' time.

Mental Wellness

    1. Boost Your Brain's Health with Loud Music — Sure, our mothers might have gotten on our backs once or twice before for having our earphones on too loud, but you'd be surprised to learn that loud music can actually be good for your brain. Music at a certain decibel level helps stimulate areas of the brain that release endorphins. Not only is your brain increasing its activity, but you're getting a dose of some feel-good hormones too! (Just don't go too loud, or you risk damaging your hearing)

    2. Play Tetris to Avoid Trauma — Researchers have found that playing Tetris immediately after a bad experience helps to block it out of your memory. The intense brain power needed to play the game diverts the energy from keeping bad memories stored, reducing any emotional scarring that might have formed. So, the next time your grandmother tells you about how she and Gramps consummated their marriage, whip out the old Gameboy and play a game. Or ten.

    3. Napping Improves Your Memory — A study has shown that napping may actually improve a person's sophisticated memory. Deep sleep can improve an individual's ability to learn new skills, store information in their memories, and to extrapolate on existing information. So the next time you're caught sleeping in class or at a meeting, you can always say that you're just trying to "commit things to memory."

    4. Internet Use is Good for Your Brain — Researchers have found that regular Internet use helps keep the brain stimulated and healthy. Surfing is more often than not a cognitive endeavour, and so doing it on a regular basis is comparable to putting your brain on a basic exercise regimen. If you want to stay sharp, keep doing what you're doing right now and surf the web.

    5. Physical Exercise is Brain Exercise, Too — While brain teasers do help in keeping your mind sharp, they're not as effective as physical exercise. Working out helps improve your mind's processing speed, response speed, and your working memory. Not only that, but physical exercise has also been found to reduce the risk of dementia. When it comes to mental exercises, jogging might actually be better than a crossword puzzle.

Emotional Wellness

    1. Ease Your Mind and Leave Diagnosis to the Professionals — The term for it is cyberchondria — the tendency for individuals to fear the worst when diagnosing themselves over the Internet. Many times, people tend to get their symptoms wrong, or when they do, the first result on the search page is the worst case scenario. Research has shown that self-diagnosis via health websites often leads to a lot of unnecessary anxiety on the patient's part. Do yourself and your emotions a favour and consult a doctor instead.

    2. 11 Mood-Lifting Foods — The food you eat can have a profound effect on your mood. For example, foods with selenium, such as Brazil nuts, help against depression. Foods rich in vitamin C, on the other hand, can help alleviate stress. The next time you're feeling down, try snacking on these foods. You might just feel a little lighter afterwards.

    3. Create a Happier Inner Life — It's pretty easy to mess up your own life. A wrong move here, a misunderstanding there, and you suddenly feel like your whole world's falling apart. However, most of the trouble seems to come from within. With tips like "Take no notice of your internal critic" and "Don't let others use you to avoid being responsible for their own decisions", you'll eventually find that all-elusive inner peace.

    4. 3 Keys to True Happiness — Every individual has his own definition of happiness. To some people, it might mean contentment; to others, happiness is a Jaguar. Although there's no concrete universal way to achieve true happiness, three are three basic keys to finding that sought-after state of mind: knowing what give you real satisfaction, studying yourself, and taking control of your life.

Health and Cleanliness

    1. Use Mouthwash to Get Rid of Dandruff, and Other Benefits — Mouthwash isn't just for giving you minty-fresh breath anymore. A mixture of witch-hazel, water, and mouthwash creates a spray that helps rid your scalp of those pesky little flakes. And that's just one of the many great alternative uses for this multi-tasking liquid.

    2. Prolonged Sitting Promotes Disease — Fitness trainers say it all the time — get up off your butt! Research has shown that a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. On the flipside, simply standing up more can improve your health and even double the speed your metabolism. A healthier lifestyle, then, can be reached just by getting off the couch.

    3. Remove Toenail Fungus with Vicks VapoRub — Toenail fungus can be an embarrassing problem. The good news is that you can get rid of it with something found in most medicine cabinets — Vicks VapoRub. While it's used mainly for respiratory relief, the compound has been proven to reduce and eventually eliminate toenail fungus. The secret is in the Thymol found in the rub, which effectively fights off the infection.

    4. Heal Warts with Duct Tape — Warts are nasty little viral infections that cluster underneath the surface of your skin. Traditional methods to get rid of them include acid, freezing, burning, and even lasers. What a lot of people don't know, however, is that the simplest treatment can be found right in their toolbox. Duct tape is an effective, yet strangely non-prescribed, method of removing warts. Periodic soaking and wrapping the wart in duct tape will make it completely vanish in a couple of months.

    5. Clean Flu Fostering Places — When flu season hits, there's not much you can do to escape it. You're bound to run into someone who's caught the bug. You can, however, minimize the risk of catching it by turning your home and belongings into flu-free sanctuaries. Proper cleaning of the areas and items most prone to harbouring the flu virus will dramatically improve your chances of walking away from flu season completely unaffected.

Vanity

    1. Getting Rid of Puffy Eye Circles without the Use of Cucumbers — Most people know about the old "cucumber slices on your eyes" trick to get rid of those dark, puffy circles that seem to grow around your eyes after a poor night's sleep. If you're iffy about having food on your face, there are many other ways to get rid of them, like using a damp washcloth or wiping them with a wet, frozen cotton swab.

    2. Quick and Easy Fix to Greasy Hair — It always pays to look your best, but greasy hair will keep you short-changed. Few things are as unattractive on a person than a damp-looking, filthy mess on his head. A quick and easy solution to this problem involves running through your hair with a comb and some baby powder.

    3. Five Foods to Fight Bad Breath — It doesn't matter what you look like — if your breath stinks, you're not going to be attractive. While mints and sprays are the most popular solutions to a case of halitosis, certain foods can also act as mouth deodorant. The next time you plan on having a lot of garlic on your pasta, remember to have these foods to munch on, too.

    4. Whiten Your Teeth with Strawberries — Who would have thought that a juicy red strawberry could actually help make your teeth whiter? A crushed strawberry mixed with a little bit of baking soda helps create malic acid, an astringent that breaks down discoloration in the teeth. Be careful not to use too much of it, though, as excessive amounts of the acid might damage the enamel of your teeth.

    5. Exfoliate with Baking Soda — Those who care about their skin know the importance of exfoliation. It smoothens the skin, promotes the growth of healthy new skin cells, and controls the growth of acne. If you've run out of your usual exfoliating product, you can whip up a pretty good substitute with some baking soda and water.

Other

  1. Five Ways to Boost Your Energy without Caffeine — A lot of people depend on that extra zing that caffeine brings for that much-needed energy to get through the day. In fact, coffee has almost become synonymous with breakfast for the average office worker. Unfortunately, caffeine does bring a few health risks with it. Try out these five ways to stay perky without something in the percolator.

  2. Keep the Bugs Away with Homemade Insect Repellent — Insects can bring a host of dangerous diseases with them, so it's a good idea to keep them as far away from you as possible. You can make your very own insect repellent with a little bit of aloe vera juice, olive oil, vodka, and your choice of essential oil. Some essential oils are more effective on certain bugs than others, so decide which creepy crawly you'd want to get rid of most before brewing your repellent.

  3. Sleep with Proper Posture to Reduce Aches and Pains — Sometimes, a good night's sleep can leading to a painful awakening. Those muscle and back pains you get early in the morning are probably due to your posture as you sleep. Sleeping in the proper position ensures that all your muscles and joints are in good positions, allowing you to wake up to a good, and painless, morning.

  4. Bacon is Good for Hangovers — Although it might just seem like an excuse to binge on bacon after a long night's drinking, research has shown that eating a bacon sandwich actually does help a person get over a hangover. The amino acids form this protein-rich food help replenish the neurotransmitters lost during inebriation.

  5. Make Your Own Sports Drink — Sports drinks like Gatorade are fantastic ways to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes. They're also a get way to empty your wallet if you're going to be drinking them on a regular basis. Make your own sports drink, and make it as tasty as you like, with this simple recipe.

  6. Growing Your Own Fresh Air — Fresh, healthy air can be pretty tough to come by, especially if you live in the city. If you don't feel like heading out into the great outdoors every time you want to take a breath, you can grow these three plants to filter the air you breathe and boost the amount of oxygen in it. Not only is it easier than travelling, but it's also a lot cheaper than those complicated ionizers and other air freshening machines.

  7. Itchy es? Use Ben ayGBug Bit — While it's great for providing relief for aching muscles, Ben Gay has another, more clever use — it stops itching from insect bites. A small dab on the affected area will provide almost instantaneous relief. This tip is invaluable on trips to areas where it seems like the mosquitoes are half-vampire.

  8. 11 Odd Ways to Improve Your Health — Did you know that brushing your skin can help you detoxify your system? This simple activity stimulates your lymph system and helps clear away the toxins that collect in the lymph glands. These tips help show you that there are quirkier, but just as effective, ways to hack your health.

  9. 11 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism — Ever wonder how some people can get away with eating whatever they want, yet still stay skinny? In many cases, they have their speedy metabolisms to thank for that. Fortunately for the rest of us with average metabolisms, there are 11 easy ways to make our bodies' furnaces burn faster.

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{ 20 comment… read it below or add one }

Bronson November 29th, 2009
Finally, proof that bacon is good for hangovers.
Charmaine December 3rd, 2009
In my opinion, eat a balance diet and eat sensibly. Anything excessive is harmful to our health. Regular work out is vital to stay healthy and a longer life span.
Andy December 6th, 2009
Great information but there are some I question as I am sure others would. For example "researches say regular internet users...." Who are the researchers to validate this? Is there any research to prove? It's like a product ...making claims about the product but no substantial proof. Other than that, Great information... Thank you. I'd also be interested in sharing a link on this site if possible. www.weightlossenergydrinkcom Thanks for consideration. ~Andy
Kyle Tuttle December 6th, 2009
@andy Thanks for the excellent feedback. In most cases, you'll find that the necessary references in the resources linked to for each lifehack.
Doug December 16th, 2009
I loved this ! Spent almost 3 hours reading the different topics. Thanks ! Eating a raw food diet is also a good life-hack !
Rick December 31st, 2009
Some of these are good information and helpful, some are a bit on the obvious side (sleep with correct posture to avoid back problems), and some are downright wrong. Apples and strawberries most definitely are NOT negative calorie foods for example. Your taste buds should tell you this, do you really think you wouldn't gain weight if you ate a whole bunch of apples? As for the raw food diet, well, the only benefit that it gives you (and in fact there are many foods that will not release most of their nutrition unless cooked) is to force the issue on whether or not you eat processed food. Raw food in and of itself has no more intrinsic food value than the same food with heat applied.
Mike January 4th, 2010
Awesome list. I've bookmarked it and plan to finish off reading the rest of them.
frank January 6th, 2010
Bacon is good for hangovers ... awesome ...... I can think of a few sites that would love that datum.
Colt McCoy January 25th, 2010
Ace list! the internet is good for your brain. I'm gonna have to use that excuse.
Adrian February 25th, 2010
Great content - you've taken a vast subject - health and wellness - and condensed most of it into 50 'hacks' - brilliant!
Self-esteem Advice March 7th, 2010
Great suggestions for everyone. We all should implement at least 1-2 ideas into our daily routine. I think tea and water together can have a better impact on your life.
Intuitive readings April 4th, 2010
I think stress is one of the biggest factors for not feeling good. Take it easy, be outside and smile a lot more. Use your intuition to face challenges and solve problems.
Virginia Menzie April 15th, 2010
Congratulations on an excellent article. The only item I'd add to your list is getting an early start on keeping your own health journal. Doctors can't treat you without a complete medical history. When you're sitting in an ER feeling awful is a terrible time to try and remember all your shots, past illnesses, surgeries, etc. I've written My Health Journal so that people can easily capture this info and keep it up to date for years to come. Cheers and keep up the good work.
Dave April 18th, 2010
It's actually 8 cups of fluid a day which can include milk, juice, decaf tea and coffee etc. Somewhere in the world of fitness this rule has been misinterpreted to say 8 cups of water on top of everything else. While you do need to drink more water if you lost some through working out, drinking too much can actually cause kidney problems.
Ibrahim | TwentiesLife.com June 7th, 2010
Great tips here. I try to employ a new healthy habit each day and this will keep me busy for a while! Thanks!
Dr. James June 28th, 2010
As a Chiropractor I was VERY happy to read #19 on the list. Crunches and other traditional abdominal strengthening exercises can be terrible for the spine if performed incorrectly or without proper support. I loved the 50 lifehacks list keep up the good work!
Bill July 13th, 2010
A lot of good info, but It's so easy to get overwelmed.
Emily July 18th, 2010
Some great tips and advice, but so much easier said than done with two little kids running around you all day! I will do my best...
sir jorge July 29th, 2010
those are dead on accurate, right on
Vizora csere January 6th, 2011
Tea is definitely a good source and tastes much better than water. :)

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