This goes without saying, but most so-called “life hacks” that you come across online are pretty useless — and they typically do absolutely nothing in the way of saving your life. Hacks like this might help you repurpose trash or build an awesome dog bed, but if you’re not drawn in by their DIY allure, you might want to check these out instead.

Here are seven simple activities that could help you gain a deeper understanding of your body and get a better handle on your health.

1. Without resting it on a surface, lift your hand with the palm down and place a piece of paper on top.

By adding the paper, it’ll be easier to detect any abnormal shaking. While slight shaking is inevitable (especially if you’re holding your arm up for a long time), excessive trembling could be indicative of elevated caffeine levels, low blood sugar, anxiety, and even the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.

2. Take your pulse with the help of a stopwatch, and then tap your foot in time with each beat.

After you determine your resting heart rate, find a pulse point on your neck or wrist, and then tap your foot in time with every beat. If you find yourself tapping unsteadily, you could be experiencing atrial fibrilliation (otherwise known as an irregular heartbeat).

3. Mix a heaping teaspoon of baking soda into a small glass of tap water and drink quickly on an empty stomach.

If you let out a nice burp within five minutes of drinking the mixture, it means that the acid levels in your stomach are healthy and normal. If you don’t, there’s a chance that this acid balance is off, which could mean that you’re not properly absorbing nutrients from food.

4. In front of a mirror, cross one foot in front of the other and sit down into a cross-legged position without using your hands.

Flickr / Barret Anspach

If you can get into this position without the help of a little upper-body strength, your muscles and joints are probably in pretty good shape. A study by The European Journal of Preventative Cardiology even found that people above age 50 who successfully pulled this off actually lived longer.

5. Stand directly in front of a door frame or a large window frame, cover your left eye, and then stare at the frame for 30 seconds. Repeat by covering the right eye.

If you don’t see the horizontal and vertical lines on the frame as being parallel, you could be in the early stages of macular degeneration, which could lead to loss of vision.

6. Lie on your bed and elevate your legs at a 45-degree angle with cushions. Hold them there for a minute, and then hang them over the edge of the bed at a 90-degree angle.

This actually tests for peripheral arterial disease (PAD). If you experience numbness or notice any loss of color in your feet that doesn’t return within a minute, you could actually have PAD. This can lead to blood pressure issues, heart attack, or stroke.

7. Draw a clock face from memory that’s set to 3:40 with accurate number placement.

The inability to properly sketch out a clock face from memory could be an early sign of dementia.

(via The Daily Mail)

These are just good starting points if you feel like you may be experiencing health issues. If any of these tests don’t go well for you, don’t panic! Actual diagnoses should be left up to your doctor.

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