Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Do you 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.
Is 2013 the year you’re going to improve the way you feel? Doctors say it really doesn’t take much.
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 stress. 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 morning stroll - all things 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 can help you feel younger.
Listen to music: 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 and cut down on stress.
And lastly, get some shut eye: The National Lung and Blood Institute says a good night’s sleep can fight off infections, 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.