On this week’s episode of Health + Happiness, Joy and Vivien explain the positive effect of pets, share healthy swaps and discuss the importance of sleep. Here’s a brief recap of what we learned in Episode 13. In case you missed it, you can watch the full episode here.

The Power of Pets
Nearly 45 percent of U.S. households have a dog and a third own a cat. Pets can help you live a healthier, happier life. The act of petting your furry friend causes a surge of feel-good hormones and helps boost immunity. Pets also protect your heart by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. And of course, they get you moving. The benefits don’t end there. They help lower stress because of their unconditional love. And they boost self-esteem and health in children. If you already have a pet, consider yourself lucky (and healthy). And if not, you may want to consider adding to your family.

Getting Fit, Staying Flexible
Exercise doesn’t have to be something you dread. There are so many wonderful forms of activity, so find something you enjoy, like yoga, Tai chi, cycling, or an aerobics class. The CDC recommends kids and teens get 60 minutes of activity a day; adults need 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. And don’t forget stretching—it increases range of motion, may improve your athletic performance and reduce your risk of injury. Aim for the major muscle groups, like your shoulders or legs. Hold stretches for 30 seconds and don’t bounce. Breathe freely throughout. And stop if you feel any pain. You should feel stress, but not discomfort while stretching.

Junk Food to Joy Food
Joy shared her lightened-up Apple Pie Cobbler recipe. It’s naturally sweet (not a drop of added sugar), totally satisfying and a cinch to make. It features fiber-rich oats and antioxidant-packed apples, as well as cinnamon, which may help manage blood pressure. Whip it up for breakfast or a tasty snack. Joy also created a healthier pizza alternative. You’ll love these vitamin C-rich Pizza Peppers for a cheesy, gooey, meaty, indulgent experience.

Sleep it off
A lack of sleep is associated with health conditions like depression and diabetes. How much shuteye do you need? Teens need 8 to 10 hours; younger kids needs’ vary by age; adults need 7 or more. To get more ZZZs, skip or shorten daytime naps, which can interfere with nighttime slumber. Get outside and play; activity can promote better sleep—just avoid doing it too close to bedtime. Avoid heavy or large meals before hitting the hay; enjoy a small, easily digested snack (like Joy’s Banana-Mango Parfait). Turn off the lights and electronics as light can cause trouble sleeping. Turn the temperature down—lower temperatures promote better sleep. If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes of lying down, get up out of bed.

Here’s hoping your week is filled with health, happiness and a daily dose of Joy. To catch up on episodes of Health+Happiness, click here.