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BJ Gallagher

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Save the Ta-Ta's ... and Your Ticker!

Posted: 01/29/10 04:30 PM ET

Every year, over 40,000 American women die from breast cancer ... and another 267,000 die from heart attacks. You don't want to be one of them!

February is Heart Health Month. Taking good care of your heart doesn't need to be a drag. Here are seven simple ways you can enhance your heart health and have fun while you're at it!

1. Jimmy Choo is not your friend. Neither are Dolce and Gabbana or Manolo Blahnik. Get some comfy shoes you can walk in -- and an uplifting jogging bra and a cute outfit -- then get moving! Walk in the park; walk in the mall; walk your dog; borrow someone else's dog to walk. Walk places that are fun and interesting. Start where you are ... 5 minutes ... 10 or 20 minutes ... or 60 min. The amount of time doesn't matter -- just do it.

2. It's not what you're eating -- it's what's eating you. Those extra pounds you're carrying are as much emotional baggage as physical. Deal with resentments, then move on; resolve unfinished business; take care of old issues. Try journaling; work with a therapist; join a 12-step program -- move beyond those toxic feelings. It's the only way you'll stop eating over emotional problems.

3. Laughter is inner jogging. It releases feel-good endorphins. Go for the guffaw or the giggle or the grin. Spend time with people who make you laugh. Rent and watch funny movies (with air-popped popcorn, of course). Watch hysterical YouTube clips. Read Internet jokes. Go to the zoo and visit the monkeys.

4. Hug your dog or cat -- often. Research has shown that stroking your pet's fur is good for you -- it actually lowers blood pressure better than ACE inhibitor drugs! So hug that darling canine or feline to your bosom. Cuddle, stroke, pet and play with your furry, four-legged friend every chance you get. Who knows? It might even be good for the dogs and cats, too!

5. Call a friend. UCLA research tells us that the old "fight or flight" response to stress is based on studies of men. Women respond very differently to stress -- by "tending and befriending." When the going gets tough, call a girlfriend for a good heart to heart ... literally.

6. Take a roll in the hay with your sweetie. It's no coincidence that Valentine's Day is in Heart Health Month -- they're both about love. Having a great love life starts with loving yourself. Invite your sweetheart to support you in your commitment to good self-care by joining you in some lively sex. It's wonderful aerobic exercise for your ticker; it'll make your skin glow and your eyes sparkle; and it'll make your ta-ta's stand up and take notice.

7. Brainstorm with your friends and come up with your own creative ways to take good care of yourself. Make it a game, make it fun, make it a habit. Save the ta-ta's AND your ticker!

 

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