SHAPE Shares: 5 Small Things That Impact Your Health

You already know that minor decisions you make every day, such as taking the stairs intead of elevator or having a salad for lunch, can add up to major health benefits. But did you know about these five seemingly minor things that can have a big impact on your quality of life (for better or worse) too?

1. Short workouts may improve your endurance. Here at SHAPE, we know you're busy, which is why we do our best to help you get in and out of the gym as quickly as possible—while still putting in a solid workout. That's why we were glad to see this recent study that suggests that workouts as short as 4 minutes can improve your endurance capacity by as much as 10 percent in 10 weeks.

2. The shape of your face my play a role in how long your relationship lasts. Researchers in Europe asked several hundred men to study composites of women's faces and decide which ones they'd be most likely to pick for a relationship or a short fling. Each composite had two faces, one with slightly "softer," more "feminine" features, and one with with more "masculine" features. The researchers found that men were more likely to choose the women with more "masculine" faces as those they'd like to be in a relationship with, possibly because those with the more feminine features are "more likely to cheat," the researchers say.

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3. Even thirdhand is harmful. For the first time, researchers have found that thirdhand smoke can cause significant genetic damage to human cells. According to the researchers, chronic exposure is worse than acute exposure, meaning the lingering smell of cigarette smoke can cause damage even long after the actual smoke has dissipated.

4. Your utensils affect your eating experience. We've reported before that the shape and size of your plates can impact how much you eat, so it's not entirely surprising that a new study suggests that the shape, color, and size of your utensils can also influence how filling or tasty you find your food.

5. This "white noise" app may help you focus. Studies have shown that ambient white noise can enhance your concentration, creativity, and performance, so researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign developed a new website called Coffitivity that allows you to plug in your headphones and experience the sounds of your favorite coffee shop—no matter where you are.

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