Small Changes, Big Payoffs
Uncross your legs
Crossed legs, especially at the knees, are bad for your blood pressure. A 2007 Dutch study showed that crossing your legs, particularly at the knee level, upped blood pressure significantly. It was markedly bad for diabetics and those with high blood pressure, but even those with normal BP reading experienced a spike. On the good side, you can cross your legs at the ankle, as that position has no effect on blood pressure.
Pitch your pillow every 18 months
Pillows older than that are repositories of fungi, dead skin, dust mites and drool, all of which can aggravate allergies, asthma, sinusitis and respiratory disease. (A British study found up to 16 species of fungi in a single pillow.) Can’t remember how old your pillow is? Try folding it in half and squeezing out the air. If the pillow doesn’t spring back, it’s time for a new one.
Rent a funny movie
A good belly laugh, whether from an old Cheers episode or a Steve Carrell flick, is good for your heart. Blood vessels dilate when we laugh, researchers say, increasing blood flow and improving cardiovascular health. University of Maryland researchers showed subjects excerpts of two movies and found that blood flow increased 22 percent during the funny one.