50 Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle that take 10 Minutes or Less


January 16, 2010   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

What is a Healthy Lifestyle?

According to a study by Michigan State University, a healthy lifestyle is defined by four basic criteria:

    • Not smoking 
  • Holding weight down 
  • Eating right 
  • Exercising

Of the 153,000 respondents, only 3% participated in all four of what are termed healthy lifestyle characteristics.

“We have millions of people now going through adult life leading unhealthy lifestyles and a medical system that can treat illnesses and keep you alive longer than ever before,” said Mathew Reeves, a Michigan State University epidemiologist. “If we don’t turn this around, the costs to society are going to be crippling.”

What can be done to help people change?

Everyone talks about achieving it, but most people have plenty of excuses as to why they can’t, won’t, or don’t want to change their current status. The most common excuse people make for not trying to have a healthy lifestyle is “a lack of time.” Have you ever said to yourself, “Oh, I’m tired, I don’t have time to exercise?” or “I don’t feel like cooking dinner tonight; let’s just get some fast food.

Yes Dorothy, excuses are real and they are contagious.

Time and health always seem to be at odds with each other. We have time to work, time to commute, time for our business associates, but very little time to spend on ourselves, people we love, or even random people who deserve our attention.

What can you do in 10 minutes or less?

More than you think. In a brief 10 minute window you can release tension, prevent future frustrations, get your blood flowing, etc. In fact, here are 50 things you can do. With time out as an excuse, what are you going to begin doing differently tomorrow? I don’t care what it is, the point is, just do something!

Here are some ideas. If you have other thoughts, leave them in the comments!

    1. Brush your teeth 
  • Do 15 sit-ups 
  • Read the health news headlines of the day 
  • Eat an apple 
  • Send a friendly email to a friend 
  • Resist the impulse purchase of a candy bar 
  • Post an inspirational quote on Twitter 
  • Smile 
  • Put a package of oatmeal in your pocket or purse for a healthy breakfast or snack 
  • Throw a bottle of water in there as well
  • Plug your cell phone into the charger 
  • Pay a bill online 
  • Ask to have your salad dressing on the side
  • Start a dollar jar to be added to once per day 
  • Open a window 
  • Say thank you to someone who deserves it 
  • Take a deep breath 
  • Put on your seat belt 
  • Wake up 10 minutes earlier 
  • Post a comment on a blog 
  • Turn off the lights when you’re the last one out 
  • Put on your make-up (this usually pertains to the ladies, but hey, whatever makes you happy) 
  • Share a healthy recipe 
  • Give your mother a call 
  • Wash your hands 
  • Put on hand lotion 
  • Check your blood pressure 
  • Jog in place for 9 minutes 
  • Throw away that pen that doesn’t work


  • Take a canvas tote bag to the grocery store 


  • Ask a friend to join you for a healthy dinner 
  • Put down the remote control and get up to change the TV channel 
  • Hug your kids 
  • Replace your next cup of coffee with a cup of tea 
  • Lay out your clothes for the next day
  • Put your car keys in the same place everyday 
  • Take a 10 minute break
  • Suck on a breath mint
  • Add a little pepper to your salad 
  • Load the dishwasher
  • Take a quick walk 
  • Prepare your coffee maker the night before 
  • Skip your late evening grocery store run 
  • While watching TV, do 5 push-ups during the commercial 
  • Read this list over again and count how many things pertain to you

These things take no time at all but they all could ensure a positive day and a healthier lifestyle. How many of these do you or can you do in a day? What other things can you add to the list?

Whatever you choose to do, make your day healthier and happier. If you can, do the same for someone else too, because, after all, it’s about a healthy lifestyle!

Written on 4/09/2008 by Lisa Newton, founder of Iowa Avenue, a healthy-living social community. Republished 1/16/2010.

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