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Health & Wellness

5 Random Acts of Heart Health

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Keeping your heart healthy does not have to be complicated. In fact, the simplest changes can make a world of difference.

Try these easy ways to incorporate simple strategies into your day to help keep your ticker ticking for many more years.

1. Have a good laugh

Laughter doesn’t just feel good, it also boosts your heart health. “Laughter dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow to the heart,” says Herbert A. Insel, MD, internist and preventive cardiologist in New York, NY. "Laughing reduces the tendency of blood vessels to constrict, which can lead to the rupture of plaques and cause a heart attack." Watch a comedy, call a funny friend or listen to podcasts of stand-up comics to get your daily heart boost.

2. Listen to uplifting Music

Popping on a headset and listening to music can have a beneficial effect on vital signs including both systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as heartbeat, according to a 2012 study published in Indian Heart Journal. A separate study showed the act of music making produced similar blood pressure lowering effects to that of physical exercise. So listen to upbeat music or write a musical score. It may reduce blood pressure and heart disease risk.

3. Get up and move

Sitting for hours on end hurts your health in several ways. Studies show extended time spent sitting can lead to inflammation, which links to heart disease. “Get up every hour or so and walk around,” says Robert Kloner, MD, PhD, cardiologist with Huntington Medical Research Institutes, Pasadena, Calif. “Plus, even 10-minutes of moderate exercise throughout the day helps lower your risk of heart disease.”

4. Practice meditation

Taking a few minutes each day to meditate or do yoga helps ease stress. “We know from our own research that emotional stress can be an acute trigger of cardiac events (heart attack and even sudden death),” says Dr. Kloner.  Also consider deep breathing exercises or massage as ways to relax. 

5. Have one drink or two… but no more

Drinking moderately links to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, but more than one drink a day for women and more than two for men are associated with an increase in blood pressure and heart disease, says Dr. Kloner. One drink counts as 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.

These easy tips, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise program, may help keep your heart strong, fit and happy!

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