First: Breathe deeply through your nose. If you can't inhale for 8 seconds without stopping, you might be used to breathing mostly from your mouth. And that can mean anything from allergies--to sleep problems--to obesity. According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, and OB-GYN in Massachusettes, we're born programmed to breath through our nose. Mouth breathing is a stress response that becomes a habit over time. And the more you do it, the more you lose lung capacity. So if you do it a lot, check with your doctor to see if there's a problem.
Next: Check your pulse twice. First do it when resting press two fingers against your wrist and count the beats for one minute--Then run in place for a minute pause for another minute, and take your pulse again--According to Dr. Wayne Westcott, an exercise psychologist, a healthy heart will return to within about 20 beats of it's resting rate a minute after you stop running.
In fact, one study found that people whose heart rates didn't recover quickly had 4 times the risk of death--To stay healthy, start exercising for 3 half-hour sessions a week.
And one last do-it-yourself health tip: Bend over and touch your toes. You should be able to do this without bending your knees. If you can't, your muscle tightness and lack of flexibility can lead to joint stiffness, and can increase your risk for injury. And according to Dr. Northrup, the longer this goes on, the greater your risk--To increase your flexibility, stretch in the bathtub when your muscles are relaxed and warm. Sit with your legs outstretched and grab your heels. If you have to bend your knees at first, that's OK. But if you do this 3 or 4 times a week, soon you won't need to. And eventually, you'll be able to touch your toes just like all those junior-high school kids.