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Health Information Easy as 1, 2, 3 ...A Few Seconds
a Day Adds Up to Better Health

Do you have a few seconds to spare?

Try incorporating these activities into your day. Family physician Miguel Salas, MD, believes the health benefits make them more than worth the time they take. "When these simple steps become habits, they have implications for all kinds of health issues," Salas says.

1. Put away the salt. A saltshaker on the dining table makes it all too easy to consume excess salt, which can lead to high blood pressure. It's also a good idea to taste your food before you salt it — you may find it doesn't need it. Or spice up your food with lemon or lime juice, garlic, herbs or a salt-free seasoning blend.

2. Take a slow breath. Whether you're sitting, driving or walking, you can enhance your health by taking a few seconds to focus on your breathing. "When you slow down your inhalation and exhalation, it helps you relax," Salas says. This relaxation response releases body chemicals that relieve stress and may improve immune function. Deep breathing can also lower your resting heart rate. People with lower resting heart rates are typically in better physical condition than those with higher rates.

3. Sit up straight. Next time you're at your desk or on the phone, take a moment to think about your posture. Then straighten up your back, tuck in your stomach and put your feet flat on the floor with your legs uncrossed. You'll feel more relaxed right away, Salas says. The few seconds this takes can help you avoid back pain — one of the most common health problems in the United States and a leading cause of disability.

About the Doctor

Miguel Salas, MD, also has a master's degree in public health with an emphasis in community development. His research interests include the spiritual aspects of physical health.

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