Simple steps to improve health

There are some activities that are not only fun, but are beneficial as well

(CNN) – You want to stay healthy, but there are days when you can’t run another step. The thought of sweating it out at the gym leaves you cold. Well, there are plenty of alternative activities that can get your heart-rate up and give you tons of health benefits. There are some activities that are not only fun, but are beneficial as well.

Volunteering, it’s more than just the good feeling you get from helping others. According to an “American Journal of Public Health Study,” people who volunteer are better protected against stress. Researchers found those who don’t give back as much have a 30-percent higher risk of dying after a stressful life event.

Cooking, studies show, for the most part, a home-cooked meal is healthier than one from a restaurant. Meals out might contain lots of salt, butter and oil. A 2014 study in the journal “Public Health Nutrition” found people who regularly eat at home consume about 130 calories fewer than those who don’t.

Playing with your pet, according to the centers for disease control and prevention, caring for an animal has been shown to decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels and decrease feelings of loneliness. That’s on top of all the calories you burn taking spot or fido for a walk.