For some, this question may pose a level of uncertainty. Yet for others, the question as to how long it takes to improve your health will be as clear as a bell. The reality of it all is that the length of time it takes to improve your health is not long at all. In fact, for most, independently heightening your health can literally take seconds a day. But if in fact this statement is true, how do you actually go about improving your health in such a short duration of time? 


Health defined


In order to fulfill the idea that it only takes seconds to minutes a day to improve your health in a meaningful way, it’s important to define what is meant by the term ‘health’. Within this perspective, health can be defined as the wellbeing of any endpoint that accelerates your state of being not only away form illness or disease, but also toward optimal wellness. Essentially, improving your health means improving upon key aspects of your life such as physical, mental, spiritual, interpersonal, financial or experiential. Remember, however, that the definition of health and wellness are not exactly the same; wherein health is historically defined by the wellbeing of your physical, mental and emotional state, wellness is the overarching definition which includes health as one of its many categories (as categorized above). In our definition of health, we are speaking both on health and wellness as endpoints of improvement. 


How can I improve my health in minutes a day? 


Using the definition of health (and wellness) above, let’s turn to some simple examples. When it comes to health, many define and gauge personal health based on the abundance of happiness experienced (emotional health). Less happiness is correlated with a lower level of wellness or health, while more happiness is correlated with a greater amount of health or wellness. So in order to improve ones health according to happiness, it’s a matter of doing something that brings joy, contentment or happiness into ones life. Spending time with friends or family, going for a walk, exercising, or simply having more time for yourself are all simple examples which satisfy happiness depending on who you are or what it is that makes you happy.


Using another example, physical status is an important endpoint that’s often associated with improving ones health. From this perspective, it’s not only about being free from disease that matters, it’s about working toward maximizing your wellbeing when it comes to physical wellness (feel good, function and recover well). A perfect example of improving physical health is someone who has a low risk of chronic disease, exercises and responds positively to purposeful physical activity, and also eats well (whole food, non processed, nutrient dense, calorie balanced). 


Seconds to minutes a day? Here’s how to do it


Regardless of the health or wellness endpoint approach you work on, research continues to prove that effectively improving health is more about consistency and less about length of time. So, if you can engage in a health improving activity, doing it regularly is more important than necessarily having to do it for an extended period of time. Here are some great examples of how you can improve your health in a matter of seconds or minutes a day:


  • Get up and go for a walk outside, preferably in nature.
  • Interrupt a negative thought with a positive one. 
  • Take 5 minutes and stretch your body.
  • Move! A brisk walk, bike, dance. 
  • Laugh more! Laughing has been shown to reduce stress, inflammation and blood pressure.
  • Deep breathing – taking 2-3 slow deep breaths can do wonders for your health.
  • Slow down – taking on less or simply taking a ‘break’ can hugely improve your health and wellness.
  • Talk and listen more – communicating and sharing feelings with loved ones has been shown to improve health.
  • Drink more water – drink at least half your bodyweight in pure filtered water per day.
  • Choose to eat more vegetables, fibre and fruit.
  • Go to bed earlier at night.
  • Do something you love. 


These are just a few examples of the powerful cornerstones that can single handedly improve your health and wellness. Although seemingly small and ineffective, consistent daily decisions such as these will quickly build up and propel you to the next level. 


Dr Jeremy Hayman, ND helps patients at Cornerstone Naturopathic Inc. feel better, live better, and achieve optimal wellness and health. Years of patient care coupled with dedication to personal life balance has helped Dr Jeremy employ the adage that “your approach to health should be simple”.