5 way-too-simple steps to a healthy 2013

Want 2013 to be the healthiest year ever? 

Believe it or not, you can make a few small changes that will lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system and just help you feel good inside. 

And you don't even have to go to a gym. 

Doctors say it really doesn't take much. Try these:

Laugh: Studies show that laughing has a dramatic effect on our hearts. Doctors at the University of Maryland studied what laughter does to our circulation and found when people laughed their blood vessels expanded, causing healthy blood flow. 

Love your pet: According to researchers, pets can ward off mental illness and other diseases and help cut out our stress. And some animals are better than a treadmill. University of Missouri-Columbia researchers found when obese and sedentary people were given a dog, they lost an average of 14 pounds a year, without dieting. 

Move: No, that doesn't mean a marathon. It means taking the stairs, going out for a a morning stroll or anything that get you off that couch. The Centers for Disease Control says 30 minutes of light exercise, five times a week, can fight diabetes, back pain, heart problems, even cancer and help you feel younger.
 
Listen to tunes: Researchers at McGill University in Montreal found that listening to pleasurable music brought on 'musical chills', which triggered the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine, which cuts down on stress. So cue up Beethoven -- or Bon Jovi -- and enjoy.

Get some shut eye: The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute says a good night's sleep can fight off infection, help your memory, and regulate your sugar levels. Sleep experts say not enough sleep can raise your blood pressure, and lead to obesity as well as diabetes.


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