Tips to Protect Your Heart
Calm your mind
Stress and heart disease go hand in hand, says Martha Gulati, M.D., director of womens cardiovascular health at Ohio State University. If youre constantly frazzled, your bodys high levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) can lead to rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure, a potentially deadly combo. Too much cortisol can also damage arterial linings, making it harder for blood to deliver nutrients to your organs.
Knock down your stress level by hitting the mat: A recent study found that three months of biweekly yoga can help regulate both cortisol and irregular heart rate. Lauren Maher, a certified yoga therapist in Los Angeles, recommends starting with the uberrelaxing catcow pose: Get onto your hands and knees and slowly inhale while arching your back toward the ceiling; slowly exhale and round your back down toward the floor. Repeat for three minutes.