THE BLOG
09/28/2016 12:24 pm ET Updated Sep 28, 2017

Improving Your Health -- It's Not All About Diet And Exercise

Are you part of the 19 percent who can't stick to a diet for longer than four weeks? How about the 31 percent of people who couldn't eat five pieces of fruit and veg a day to save their life? Or maybe you just couldn't think of anything worse than swapping a glass of wine for water (me too!)? If so, then no doubt you're already well on your way to finding alternative health kicks.

While, undoubtedly, taking care of your diet and exercise are the fundamental elements to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there are some alternative approaches which, while being a little quirky, are shown to help offer a helping hand in improving certain aspects of your health.

To save you the effort of trawling through tedious studies, I've picked out five alternative tasks that can improve your health -- without dieting or exercise.

Socializing

For some socializing is what makes them feel alive while for others, well, it's enough to render them a nervous wreck. Overall, whether you love it or loathe it, socializing with friends or work colleagues is one of the best things you can do to improve your mental health. A study performed by the American Journal of Health Promotion found that those who engaged in just 20 minutes of socializing three days a week were less likely to report poor mental health and perceived stress.

Meditation

No longer just for the quirky or well-travelled, meditation is now totally mainstream. And with good reason too. The mental health benefits are often touted but there are physical benefits too. The NCCIH say meditation may help reduce blood pressure, ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and even help people quit smoking. If you are interested in learning more about meditation then I truly recommend the app by Headspace. With guided sessions that only take 10 minutes you'll be on your way to a plethora of health benefits before you know it.

Crafting

Who would have thought that mountains of glitter, colorful cotton and pretty paper would be good for your health? Well, just about anyone who's put their hand to crafting. Studies show that crafting can help alleviate stress, assist those with depression and even reduce blood pressure. Time to get crafty!

Posture

Sore neck? Bad back? Maybe even poor circulation? If you suffer from any of these problems then it may be time to consider your posture. Not only do you look unprofessional at your desk, but studies show that bad posture can cause an abundance of health problems and can even play havoc on energy levels as the day goes on. If you're really determined to solve the problem of bad posture consider purchasing an exercise ball or learn to take a break from the chair every hour.

Laughter

Can laughter really protect you from the risk of a heart attack? Well, cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Centre believe so. In one of their recent studies they found that people with a more humorous approach to life were 40 percent less likely to have a heart attack. Maybe it is time to pull out the old Friends box set (... or not).