If you’re feeling bad about spending a day being lazy, don’t! You accomplished more than you intended when you skipped the gym, didn’t catch up on any work and saved cleaning the house for Monday. That’s right, sleeping, eating junk food and watching TV all bring health benefits. Here are five of them:
1. If you took a nap, you strengthened memories and reduced inflammation and stress.
The benefits of sleep are clear. It’s while sleeping that you sharpen your mind and practice skills learned while you were awake. Sleep restores alertness: improving concentration and decreasing the chance of mistakes when you are awake. In contrast, lack of sleep has been linked to depression, anxiety, increased weight, weakened immune system and an increased risk of heart disease.
So go ahead and get some shuteye. For best results, the experts recommend keeping your nap to about 20 minutes. Any longer can leave you tossing and turning when it’s time to go to bed at night.
2. If you listened to music on your lazy day, you decreased anxiety.
In a study, listening to music before surgery lessened patients’ anxiety more than prescription medication. Music has also been linked to lower levels of cortisol, which is known to contribute to a thick midsection, so turn up the tunes and break out the skinny jeans.
3. If you ate ice cream, you strengthened bones and teeth.
When you tucked into that ice cream, you got a serving of calcium, protein, and vitamins A, D and K. Regular calcium consumption has been proven to ward off osteoporosis. Studies have linked calcium intake to reduced weight and weight gain prevention. Lack of calcium, on the other hand, causes fat cells to store fat and enlarge.
To make your ice cream indulgence even healthier, choose low-fat, soft-serve or sherbet and top your sundae with fresh fruit for antioxidants and vitamin C. Try to stop before you’ve consumed the whole container. Recommended serving size is half a cup.
4. If you caught up on your favorite comedies, you relaxed your entire body.
Laughter has been shown to relieve tension, reduce stress and relax muscles. Additionally, laughing has been linked to increased immunity and lower risk of heart disease. It really is the best medicine!
Laughter can be considered a light workout. A study at Vanderbilt University found that adults burn 1.3 calories per minute on average when laughing. It’s not as much as you would burn on a treadmill, but it’s more than you would burn sitting still. Should you choose a sad movie over The Daily Show, you can expect to burn about the same amount by crying. No word on how many calories you burn yelling at the TV while watching your team.
To make TV watching even healthier, channel surf with friends. Laughing strengthens relationships and attracts others.
5. If you called a friend, you might have lengthened your life.
Studies show good friends are good for your life. Your social network can help you recover from cancer and other major illnesses – even more than family, according to a study. Friends can also help ward off colds and cardiovascular disease. Buddies help you feel connected, boost self-confidence and help you cope with life’s setbacks. It’s been said that friends are the family we choose, and it’s nice to be chosen. Friendships teach loyalty, honesty, trust and all the other traits we value in fellow humans.
Your pals can also encourage you to live a healthier lifestyle. A little healthy competition leads to making healthier choices. Consider clipping on a pedometer and challenging your BFF. You can celebrate your success with ice cream while watching your favorite show together. Then go home and take a nap.