6. Breathe deeply
Try a yoga class or an at-home DVD. Your heart will thank you for the exercise and strees relief. Or try meditation, which studies have indicated can help lower blood pressure and body weight and improve cholesterol levels. To get started, check out the simple techniques at like gaiam.com
7. Buddy up
Married couples in an Indiana University study who worked out together were more likely to stick with an exercise program; half of those who exercised on their own threw in the towel. Start the day off right by taking a brisk 30-minute walk with a partner or friend. Join an exercise group. Many churches and community centers organize them, or log onto fitness.meetup.com
8. Maximize your muscles
Toning up could help you lose more weight than you think. In fact, strength training can boost your metabolism by up to 15 percent, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Take a strength-training class or rent a workout DVD to get yourself into shape.
9. Cut back on cocktails
Drinking alcohol on a regular basis has been linked to increased blood pressure. Alcohol also adds calories, and that can lead to weight gain. Have no more than one drink per day, the American Heart Association advices.
10. Rethink your birth control
Oral contraceptives can raise blood pressure. A recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration study found that some newer formulations of birth control pills increase the risk of blood clots, so the FDA does not recommend that women older than 35 who smoke use them. If you light up—even if you're only a social smoker—talk with your doctor about switching to another birth control method or going off the pill until you're able to quit.
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