Take a Break for Better Health

When life gets busy, it can be easy to slack on exercising and healthy eating. But that may be a good thing: The latest research shows that taking a break when it comes to certain habits can actually be good for your health. Consider this your doctor's note!

Sleep Late

Turning in and waking up at the same time every day does help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep. But if you're up late at a barbecue Friday night, your body definitely benefits from turning off your alarm and getting some extra z's the next morning. "Making up sleep in the short term does work," says Christopher Winter, M.D., medical director of the Martha Jefferson Sleep Medicine Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. You can also bank some extra shut-eye beforehand if you know you're going to spend a late night out.

Skip a Workout

A new study shows that you can give your running shoes a rest for a day or two. Researchers found that women who exercised twice a week became as fit (and lost almost as much body fat) as those who worked out six days. Even more astounding: The twice-a-week exercisers burned more calories daily than the six-a-week group.

Treat Yourself at Breakfast

One study found that dieters who ate a high-carbohydrate, high-protein breakfast that included something sweet felt less hungry, had fewer cravings, and lost more weight over 32 weeks than those who ate a low-cal, low-carb breakfast. Experts think it might be because levels of ghrelin, a hormone that prompts hunger, dropped much more in people who indulged at their a.m. meal. Go for something decadent but nutritious—like one or two strawberries dipped in dark chocolate with one cup of vanilla yogurt, suggests David Katz, M.D., director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center and author of Disease Proof.

Enjoy That Second Cup of Coffee

If you're feeling guilty for downing two coffees in less than an hour, maybe this will perk you up: In a National Institutes of Health study of more than 400,000 people, researchers found that the more coffee people drank, the longer they lived. Drinking up to six cups daily (caffeinated or decaf) was associated with a lower risk of dying from heart disease, lung disease, stroke, diabetes, and infections.

Sip a Glass of Wine Nightly

Enjoy your Cabernet regularly with no remorse! Wine, particularly red, is loaded with naturally occurring antioxidants, which can help prevent damage to the cells in your body. Research has shown that red wine may help lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, and various types of dementia.


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