London - Got a few spare minutes? During the ad break, waiting for the kettle to boil, the spin cycle to finish, the microwave to ping – put those vital minutes to good use. Here’s how:


USE DUMB-BELLS: Keep dumb-bells near your kettle and work your upper body to banish bingo wings.


WASH YOUR HANDS PROPERLY: Studies show this is the single most effective way of preventing cold virus infections, cutting respiratory illness by a whopping 45 percent. It takes about 15 seconds to wash your hands thoroughly - or the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.


THEN MOISTURISE: Your hands often show the first sign of ageing, as the skin on the back of the hands is thinner than the face. Moisturising regularly will prevent dry, papery skin and keep them looking younger for longer. Keep hand cream by the sink as a reminder.


FLOSS: Only a third of us do so, yet the measly 60 seconds it takes helps to get rid of the bacteria-laden plaque that causes gum disease – and possibly heart disease and stroke.



“It's amazing how many people don't even open their statements, yet it's a quick and easy way to save money,” says financial guru Jasmine Birtles, of moneymagpie. com. “Apart from identity theft and fraud, banks make mistakes all the time. How will you know unless you check?'“



Light from the door destroys the nutrients and cancer-fighting flavonoids in salad ingredients, so store them in drawers instead.



Bung your dishcloth in a saucepan of water with a bit of washing powder and leave it to boil, says Dr Lisa Ackerley, managing director of Hygiene Audit Systems and visiting professor of environmental health at Salford University.

“Studies by the Hygiene Council show 80 percent of dishcloths are heavily contaminated with a high number of bacteria, including E. coli,” she says.


WEIGH YOUR HANDBAG: It sounds odd, but anything over 1.3kg puts pressure on your back, so clear out old make-up and receipts and empty loose change into a jar (and save for a treat).


HOLD YOUR TUMMY IN: “Pull your belly button towards your spine, hold it for five to ten seconds and keep breathing normally throughout,” says fitness expert Rachael Anne Hill.

“This is better than a girdle at working the transverse abdominis muscle that helps pull in your stomach.”


GRAB A GLASS OF WATER: A mere two percent drop in the body's water content can trigger symptoms of dehydration, such as poor short- term memory, say experts.

And scientists at the University of Utah in the US discovered the less water women drank, the more slowly they burned calories.



Eat a banana, a plum or a handful of grapes: the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, a Europe-wide study into diet and cancer, found that eating one extra portion of fruit and vegetables a day could cut your risk of dying early from any cause by 20 percent.



Change the hand-towel in your loo. Unlike bath towels, it's a “shared” towel and more than half of us have the microbe staphylococcus aureus on our skin. Though normally harmless, it can cause infection if it meets a wound.


BALANCE ON ONE LEG: Stand on one leg for a minute – then the other. This works the deep core muscles in your abdomen that protect your back.


DO THE PUZZLES: Performing a mental exercise twice a day could help delay memory loss associated with dementia.


KEEP A FOOD DIARY: Jot down what you eat for the day. Keeping a record of your daily food consumption could double your weight loss, scientists have found.


SMS A FRIEND: …and organise a get-together. Socialising is as effective as mental exercise for improving intellectual performance.


ADJUST YOUR BRA STRAPS: According to US researchers, thin bra straps that are too tight can push on the cervical nerve in the neck, triggering head pain.


USE A LARGER FONT: Change the font on your PC to 12 point. Anything smaller increases the risk of eye strain. – Daily Mail