Here’s ten simple everyday health hacks to keep your body in peak condition

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Take your shoes off at the door: Tests from the University of Arizona, US, found that the bottoms of outdoor shoes average 421,000 units of bacteria (including E. coli), toxins and herbicides. And when those contaminated shoes were used to walk across clean floor surfaces, the rate of transference was almost 90 per cent.

Snack on a handful of olives: They act similarly to aspirin in reducing inflammation and artery plaque formation. And those who consume extra-virgin olive oil daily are at a lower risk of heart attack, hypertension and death from heart disease than those who don’t.

Jump while the kettle boils: According to a study by the universities of Exeter and Leicester, women who do one to two minutes of high-intensity weight-bearing exercise a day have four per cent better bone density than those who do less than a minute. And jumping is perfect: Squat, use your arms, jump up high and land softly with bent knees.

Drink water before driving: Being even mildly dehydrated while behind the wheel is the equivalent to being over the drink-drive limit, according to research published in the Journal of Physiology & Behavior. In both cases, the number of mistakes made was twice the amount made by well-hydrated motorists.

Stop eating at 7pm: A late-night meal keeps the body on high alert when it should be winding down, warn heart experts. In fact, those with hypertension who ate within two hours of going to bed were 2.8 times more likely to have high blood pressure overnight, increasing their risk of heart attack and stroke. And it’s a good rule to adhere to even if your blood pressure is normal, say researchers.

…and when you reach seven out of 10: The Hunger Scale helps you tune into your natural hunger cues and reduce “out-of-control” eating. “Before you eat, rank your hunger on a scale of zero (beyond hungry) and 10 (stuffed full),” advises Lyndi Cohen, dietitian and author of The Nude Nutritionist. She advises eating when you are at number three, putting your knife and fork down when you reach seven.

Dry-brush before using toothpaste: Not only is this a more effective way of removing plaque, say researchers, but dry-brushing for around 60 seconds before adding toothpaste means you’re more likely to brush for the full two minutes. (Don’t “wet” your toothbrush first – or rinse away protective fluoride after brushing).

Bend your knees when you lift: The motion of lifting while twisting is one of the worst combinations for your back – yet it can be hard to avoid when putting children into car seats and lifting heavy shopping into the car. Bend at the knees – not the waist – and shift the effort to your hips, arms and abs rather than your back, advises Tim Hutchful of the British Chiropractic Association. And when you feel a sneeze coming, bend your knees to absorb it. Explosive atchoos are a suprisingly common culprit for back injuries.

Ask yourself why: …to automatically boost your memory, say psychologists. In a study where students had to remember a list of sentences (i.e. the hungry man got into the car), those given an explanation (i.e. to go to a restaurant) remembered 72 per cent of the sentences when tested later, compared to only 37 per cent of those who simply read the first sentence.

Go left: Observational studies at train stations suggest 73 per cent of people take the escalator over the stairs when there’s a choice. And, of those that do, a similar amount take the lazy option and stand to the right. If you must take the escalator, make sure you climb.

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