25 Secrets to a Healthy Heart



20. Say 'I Do'
Married men are less likely to die of heart disease than bachelors. Toronto-based researchers studied 100 men and women with mild high blood pressure and found that after 3 years of marriage, the happily married men had healthier hearts than their unmarried brothers. Just choose your bride wisely, or your heart will be sick and broken.

21. Watch a Scary Movie
Anything that causes your heart to race—slasher flicks, a good book, C-SPAN—also makes your heart stronger, according to researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Upsetting the rhythm once in a while is like hitting your heart's reset button, which helps it keep on ticking.

22. Adopt a Dog
All that love ("You're a good boy, yes you are!") and aggravation ("Bad dog! No eat Daddy's crab dip!") makes your heart more adaptable and better able to deal with the stress that can lead to heart disease.

23. Play Hooky on Monday
The reduction in stress from missing a few days of work shrinks heart-attack and stroke risk by nearly 30 percent, according to a study conducted at the State University of New York.

24. Move to the Sticks
Or sleep with earplugs. German researchers found that people who endured nighttime sound levels that averaged higher than 55 decibels—about the volume of a washing machine or a coffee percolator—were twice as likely to be treated for high blood pressure as those who slept with sound levels under 50 decibels.

25. Root for the (Grrrr) Yankees
A study on World Cup Soccer found heart-attack rates fell among locals when the home team won. Experts believe that the euphoria of a win, plus stress reduction from leisure pursuits, may help keep heart problems at bay.

Remember: Your heart will benefit more from a few long-term health improvements than from a flurry of activity followed by a return to the dangerous norm. We've given you some tools to protect yourself. Work five tips into your lineup over the next month. When they become second nature, adopt five more. Then click over to 100 Ways to Live Forever to see 75 more! It's the only way to give your heart a beating chance.

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Additional writing and reporting by Adam Campbell and Brian Good

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