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Seven Health Shortcuts That Work

By Sam Page

Doing the "right thing" can seem impossible when it comes to health and nutrition. If you’re pressed for time, here are a few ideas that work.

You're supposed to do 30 minutes of cardio, five times per week.

The shortcut: Take three 10-minute walks every day. Little bursts of exercise will do the same job. You could climb the stairs of your office building, walk to your favorite lunch destination (each way, 10 minutes equals 20 minutes of activity) or take a co-workers dog for a walk.

You’re supposed to eat breakfast every morning.

The shortcut is to have a quick, but healthy "fast"—yet balanced—breakfast. A protein bar is a good choice. I like Kind Bars (the all-nut ones are a great morning breakfast on-the-go), and they don't contain any gluten. I also love the High Protein Almond Brownie by Balance Bar. Unlike competing bars, it has a sweet, chocolately bite with a nutty aftertaste. And it doesn't taste like chemicals or preservatives, while packing in an impressive 14 grams of protein and only 6 grams of fat.

You're supposed to get at least seven hours of sleep every night.

The shortcut is to take a daily nap. Buy a $20 exercise mat from Target, shut and lock your office door, and grab 20 minutes on the floor. You can also take a quick little nap after work when you arrive home. One study found that subjects who took a daily snooze had a lower rate of dying from heart disease.

You're supposed to eat five to nine servings of fruit and veggies and every day.

The shortcut: Use frozen berries in a fruit smoothie (which can hold a wallop of fruit), or try frozen or canned veggies. Canned soups often contain a bevy of veggies and have lots of good fiber. Take a vitamin if you want an "insurance" policy.

You know you're supposed to wash your hands all the time.

The shortcut is to use a hand sanitizer, like Purell, which is almost as good as washing your hands. I put Purell dispensers in my gyms for use by members and clients, which makes good hygiene easy. You can also carry a small bottle with you. Be sure to use it after working out, and avoid putting your fingers into your nose and near your mouth.

You're supposed to eat fish twice a week.

The shortcut is to mix in some flax seed into your salads or oatmeal. The seeds can be bought and then ground (like pepper) in a little grinder. You can also take a fish oil supplement—my favorite is the Omega-3 Fish Oil Lemon Flavor from Natrol—which is great if you’re bothered by "aftertaste" of fish oil supplements. Fish oil can reduce the risk of heart disease, boost the immune system, and is great for cognitive function.

You're supposed to brush and floss twice a day.

The shortcut is to chew Trident sugarless gum after you eat. My übersexy friend Lisa recently turned me back on to the crisp, delicious taste of vintage Trident, and I remember my dentist telling me that this was the single most important thing I could be doing after brushing and flossing. Chewing gum increases saliva, which helps to get rid of excess food particles and acids.

Sam Page is a fitness coach and writer. He offers private training at Sam Page Fitness in Los Angeles. Find Sam Page on Facebook.