When it comes to living a long and healthy live, your heart obviously plays a key role. Therefore, getting and keeping this one muscle in top condition may mean the difference between spending your senior years participating in activities you enjoy and not having your senior years – period.To make sure your heart allows you to live the life you want to lead as long as potentially possible, simply follow these basic guidelines:Lower your cholesterol levels. Ideally, your total cholesterol should be below 200 for maximum heart health and your triglycerides should be under 150. Get regular exercise. Your heart is like any other muscle in that it responds well to exercise. Work it out via regular cardiovascular and strength training exercises and it will get and stay stronger than ever. Lose excess weight. The more weight your heart has to carry around, the harder it has to work every second of every minute of every day. So, losing 10% of your total body weight (or more) relieves the pressure on this vital organ, allowing it to get through the day with more ease. Cut down on your salt intake. Sodium raises your blood pressure, thereby increasing your heart rate needlessly and sometimes dangerously. Take in no more than 2 ½ teaspoons a day on average and you should be okay. Reduce your stress levels. Allowing stress to build up in your body without any relief can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Therefore, you should take time to regularly relieve the tension from your life by engaging in activities that bring you peace and happiness. Quit smoking. People who smoke have an elevated risk of heart disease (one of the leading causes of death for men and women), making this one habit extremely detrimental to your health. While it is definitely difficult to stop smoking, it is even more difficult to die from heart disease.Do these six things and you’ll increase your chances of living a long and fruitful life. Plus, your children and grandchildren will thank you as they’ll get to keep you around longer.