Heart Health News

Heart Health NewsHeart Health News: Eat Berries, Drink and Be Fit! It just may help to save your  heart and the one that you love!

Since heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women and men in the U.S., I thought I’d focus on prevention. After all, if you prevent heart disease, you’re very unlikely to die from it.

Heart Health News Research

A Harvard study says women who eat three or more servings of strawberries or blueberries a week can lower their risk of heart attack by 32 percent. The study also said grapes, eggplant and blackberries may work too. It’s those flavonoids again. The antioxidants you find in red wine, dark chocolate, green tea, apple skin, etc. Rule of thumb: The darker the color, the more flavonoid content. They slow down your aging clock and prevent disease by keeping free radicals from damaging cells in your body.

Free radicals are incomplete molecules looking for an electron so they can complete and stabilize themselves. Sounds like something you’d hear in therapy. They steal an electron from a neighboring molecule, turning it into a free radical and setting off a chain reaction. They contribute to the aging process and a wide range of diseases.

We form them naturally when we breathe and metabolize. Free radicals don’t wreak havoc with your body until you have too many of them. They can be formed by oxidative stress, like intense exercise, smoking and exposure to environmental toxins.

Enter the flavonoids. They give the free radicals one of their electrons and stop them in their tracks. They help prevent heart disease by stopping LDLs (bad cholesterol) from breaking down and forming plaque in your arteries.

Nowadays, you can get berries year round, and they are a perfect low-calorie food, alone, in yogurt, or sprinkled on your cereal. So let’s have a few servings of berries, some eggplant, and maybe a square of dark chocolate for dessert. Not such a major lifestyle change.

Heart Health News: Since we are talking about prevention, how about stress?

A series of studies by Columbia University Medical Center says whether or not we perceive ourselves as stressed can be a measure of whether or not we’ll have a heart attack in the future. So from now on, I’m not going to perceive myself as stressed. Yeah. Good luck with that.

Seriously: My clients who exercise regularly, particularly aerobic exercise, tend to think of themselves as being more relaxed. And they are more relaxed. Aerobic exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural tranquilizer, and they know they’re getting the heart benefits of all that cardio. To get the maximum benefit from cardio exercise, most people should build up to 45 or more minutes at 60 to 80 percent of your max heart rate. If you’re just starting out, you can ease in with a few minutes a day at a comfortable pace and add more as it gets too easy. But here’s the rub: Aerobic exercise, because it requires so much oxygen, is an oxidative stressor. It produces free radicals.

People who exercise once in a while or really hard only on the weekend are more at risk for producing harmful levels of free radicals. But studies have found that people who exercise regularly tend to adapt and produce enzymes that create antioxidants minimizing free radicals’ negative effect.

So here’s the formula: Eat berries, dark chocolate and get regular cardio so you don’t perceive yourself as stressed. It’s an eclectic concoction, but I think it’s tastier than one of those midnight vegetable smoothies. Don’t you?

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Fashion Flash: Happy Valentine’s Day Edition

Fashion FlashWelcome to Fashion Flash Happy Valentine’s Day Edition!  I’m your host, Health & Wellness Blogger, Mirabai Holland from MovingFreeWithMirabai.com.  Loving one’s self and living an empowered life is about the best Valentine’s gift you can give to yourself and to others. Of course a little romance doesn’t hurt either. We Fashion Flash Bloggers give you the best in Fashion, Beauty, Health, Lifestyle and Style so you can feel and look your best on Valentine’s Day!

 

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Visit Erika’s blog and enter to win her giveaway for a beautiful sterling silver, white topaz and pink quartz crystal heart necklace from Peace & Love Jewelry!

 

 

 

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Roses are the traditional flower for Valentines Day– but they are so  much more. Deb of No-Nonsense Beauty Blog revels the health and beauty benefits of roses.

 

 

 

ready_or_not_screen_print_boston_artist_nick_ward2Allison from Never Say Die Beauty takes a break from beauty and recommends some adorable, affordable gifts for your Galentine or treats for yourself for Vday or any day!

 

 

 

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Society Wellness reminds us that water is required for everything from regulating blood pressure and body temperature to making sure your heart works correctly. Find out more reasons you should stay hydrated for optimal health. 

 

 

 

 

 

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. Inka visits Amasaya, the site of Turkey’s most famous and tragic love story. What I had in mind when setting off for a five day trip to Oman last year , was a vacation of nothing more than relax, rest and luxury.

 

 

 

Second-LivesHealth care is a part of the public conversation these days.  Jeanne Pinder has been on the case for a while deciphering what medical treatments and drugs really cost and creating a business around it, her second life.

 

 

 

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Barbara Hannah Grufferman, author of THE BEST OF EVERYTHING AFTER 50 and AARP Contributor, started running only after she turned 50, which helped her lose weight, get strong, and feel good. Here’s what happened when she took a little break from running. 

 

 

 

 

 

BEAUTY INFO ZONE LOGO HEARTIs travel on your mind now that winter has taken over? At Beauty Info Zone Marcia’s making plans on what to pack and the newest Panasonic Travel Dryer will be the first thing in her suitcase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRIMEBEAUTYScreen-Shot-2012-05-28-at-6.15.05-AM-300x62Prime Beauty is choosing her readers as her Valentine this year. Take a look at the stunning Peace and Love Earrings she’s giving away to 2 lucky readers. They are a $336 value!!

 

 

Tania Stephens blog logo The classic denim jacket. Everyone needs this staple in their wardrobe. Come join Tania as she shows you how versatile this jacket can be.

 

Feeling and looking great is a wonderful Valentine’s day and every day gift to give to you and those close to you.

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Swim Down Your Blood Pressure

I find myself swimming most days of the week for about 45 minutes. And though I do my regular exercise (weights, stretching and aerobics) I am experiencing a whole new level of mind-body fitness in the water. No matter what’s on my mind, or how tired I might feel every single time I immerse myself, the movement of my body, and the rhythm of my breath put me into an alpha state and the time just flies by.

I got to wondering about the science of all of this. And sure enough a study published in The American Journal of Cardiology found that swimming lowered blood pressure substantially in adults over 50. Participants built up to 45 minutes three to four times a week and lowered their blood pressure an average of 9 points. (That’s as much as some blood pressure medications according to the Mayo Clinic).

Other aerobic exercise like cardio dance, brisk walking and biking also works. But swimming has virtually no impact on your joints, and gliding weightlessly through the water with a rhythmic stroke creates a mantra that induces a meditative state which is also know to help reduce blood pressure.

I hate to get techy now that I’m all relaxed, but just so we are all on the same page, blood pressure is the pressure your blood vessels experience when blood is pumped through them by your heart. Two numbers represent the pressure leaving and returning to your heart. The first number is called systolic blood pressure, when your heart pumps out. The second number is diastolic blood pressure, when the blood enters your heart from the lungs. Normal blood pressure is about 120/80 and high pressure starts around 140/90.

So try taking some of your aerobic workouts into the pool, and get some swimming in. Your blood pressure may thank you for it.

As always be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

*Effects of Swimming Training on Blood pressure and Vascular Function in Adults Over 50 Years of Age http://www.ajconline.org/article/S0002-9149%2811%2903445-X/abstract

Here are the blood pressure guidelines from the American Heart Association

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New Year Fitness Resolutions: 5 Myths

Ease-in-Boot-StillNew Year Fitness Resolutions often fail!

Many of today’s fitness programs are all about the quick sell and even quicker results. Many are based on dangerous fitness myths.

To success in fulfilling those New Year  Fitness Resolutions here are 5 fitness myths to steer away from:

New Year Fitness Resolutions: Myth #1: Pain Equals Gain

It is a popular misconception that only when you feel the pain are you gaining anything from your workout.

“The “no pain, no gain” mentality contributes to more injuries and more burnout than any other fitness factor, especially among my age group (baby boomers). It is wiser to exercise sustainably over a longer term, than to push yourself to the breaking point.

New Year Fitness Resolutions: Myth #2: A Taskmaster Equals the Best Teacher

Reality Exercise Shows that have recently become popular portray drill-sergeant-style trainers as being the most effective fitness mentors.

While leveraging fear and using intimidation techniques may mean instant short-term fitness results, they’re sending the wrong message about how to get and stay fit for a lifetime. Attainable short-term goals and positive reinforcement are more likely to create good fitness habits that are sustainable for life

New Year Fitness Resolutions: Myth #3: Pumping up the Volume Equals Pumping up Your Physique

It seems some fitness instructors think screaming louder and blasting the bass is motivational. It’s time to think again.

While high-decibel workouts might be temporarily motivational, over time these techniques become draining and stressful leading to faster fitness burnout. Look instead for uplifting music and gentle coaching in your workouts.

New Year Fitness Resolutions: Myth #4: Fitness Equals a Fight Against Your Body

Sales pitches that encourage “shaving off the pounds” and busting your abs or your butt have solidified the image of fitness as a battle against your body.

Fighting is not a sustainable activity or philosophy. Instead, think of partnering with your body. Meet it where it is at right now and provide the environment and tools to reveal your body’s best potential. When you take this approach you are setting yourself up for success every step of the way.

New Year Fitness Resolutions: Myth #5: Force Equals Fit

Today’s popular exercise routines promote pounding your body into shape. But ancient fitness modalities, such as Yoga and Tai Chi had it right.

Fitness is not about pumping the most iron or performing the most reps, it is about teaching your body how to move efficiently, using all of your muscles groups, and sustaining these movements over time. Exercise including strength training should be approached as a gradual lifetime process. This way, exercise becomes a pleasure not a chore and you have a much better chance in having your New Year Fitness Resolutions succeed.

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LOSE WEIGHT NOW!

LOSE WEIGHTDo you want to lose weight?

You might be asking should  I  weigh or not to weigh, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of knowing one’s outrageous weight, or to take arms against a sea of bulges by simply ignoring the scale and trying to eat less and exercise more. For some of us, the scale is a tool. For others, it’s the enemy.

LOSE WEIGHT

So let’s say your plan is to Lose 1lb a Week

Some health and fitness professionals have made a compelling case for ignoring the scale, saying that measuring one’s percentage of body fat is the most accurate way to track one’s fitness level.

It indicates a healthy body composition, regardless of height and weight. I agree that you should know your body fat as a baseline for fitness and fatness.

Here are some body fat guidelines according to the American Council on Exercise:

Body Fat Percentage for Women:

  • Athlete: 14-20 percent
  • Fit: 21-24 percent
  • Average: 25-31 percent
  • Obese: > 32 percent

Body Fat Percentage for Men:

  • Athlete: 6-13 percent
  • Fit: 14-17 percent
  • Average: 18-24 percent
  • Obese: > 25 percent

So why bother weighing yourself at all? When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to use any indication you can get that your efforts are paying off. It can take a couple of weeks before you see any difference in body fat. Your weight will change more quickly. Besides, there are relatively inexpensive scales that give you both your actual weight and your percentage of body fat.

My personal prejudice is to weigh yourself at least once or twice a week. I do, and I find that facing my weight on a regular basis helps me stay motivated. Believe me, there have been times when I’ve dreaded getting on that scale. But I do it anyway because no matter what it says, I feel relief. I find it liberating. Why? Because now I know where I am and what I need to do next. It helps me maintain a healthy weight. And I have one of those scales that also measures fitness to fatness, so I am able to keep track of that at the same time. I check my body fat every week or two.

In my practice I have helped hundreds of people lose weight. And many of them initially fight me about getting on the scale; and I understand this because I know that terror. Part of the process of losing weight is to prepare oneself to do it. If you are not psychologically ready to lose, stepping on the scale can be a real turnoff and actually deter you from losing weight. But once you’re ready, facing that number can jump-start your weight-loss program and keep you going.

I give my clients a baseline of their body fat percentage and get them to use the scale. Then we set up a diet and exercise plan. You can lose weight by diet alone. But dieting can reduce muscle mass along with fat. This becomes ever more important as we age. We can lose as much as 6 pounds of muscle tissue per decade as we age. And metabolism can slow down as much as 3 percent per decade. You can see that if left unchecked, you’re on a slow boat to obesity. Adding an exercise program may be all you need to turn this process around. Cardio exercise burns calories, and strength training raises your metabolism and builds lean muscle mass while you are losing. Losing about 1 percent body fat a month and one to two pounds a week is considered safe and realistic. Here’s the winning combination. Reduce calorie intake with diet, do cardio most days to burn calories, and strength train at least a couple of days a week to build muscle mass and increase metabolism.

So, I’ve made my case for using the scale as a tool, and I hope you’ll try it when you are ready. Regardless, to be or not to be at a healthy weight should not be in question.

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Skeletal Fitness: 3 Important Exercises

Skeletal FitnessSkeletal Fitness is important throughout our lives.

With 12,000 boomers a day turning 65, that’s one every 8 seconds for the next 18 years; and with 50% of women over the age of 50 projected to have an osteoporosis related fracture in their lifetime, I thought I’d be a little practical this year and give you a mini workout to help you protect your bones.

Skeletal Fitness

Our bones are living tissue and grow stronger with weight bearing and resistance exercise. This is called Bone Loading and can help us maintain our skeletal fitness.

And since the three areas most at risk for Osteoporotic fracture are the Spine, the Hip and the Wrist, here are 3 easy Bone Loading exercises, one for each of those areas, you can do using a pair of hand weights or a couple of soup cans. Use a weight that makes the exercise feel somewhat hard after 8 reps. Remember to always exhale on the exertion. Do 8-15 reps of each of these exercises. Start where you’re comfortable and build up.

And of course always consult your doctor before beginning this Skeletal Fitness exerciseprogram.

Double arm row: Loads Spine

  • Start with arms in front of you, weights together.
  • Slowly row arms back, bending elbows bringing weights to chest height.
  • Squeeze shoulder blades together, without shrugging your shoulders.

 

Lunge – Loads Hip and Femur (thigh bone)

  • Stand tall, feet about shoulder width apart, hands and weights at your sides.
  • Keep body erect and lunge forward with left foot, bending both knees to help facilitate the move. (Right heel comes off the floor). Your front knee should be aligned over the second toe of that foot and your weight should be centered between your front and back foot.
  • Hold for 8 seconds, (remember to breathe) return to starting position and repeat lunging with right foot.

 

 

 

Wrist Curls

  • Hold arms in front of you palms up.
  • Using only your wrists, curl weights toward your body until knuckles are facing the ceiling.
  • Slowly lower and repeat.

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Body Types: Best Exercises For You!

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Body Types

Whether you are just beginning to exercise, getting back to exercise or wanting to refine your exercise routine, your body type should play a role in how you exercise.

If you eat right and exercise religiously, you can transform that body of yours into the perfect shape, right? Well, not exactly.
The truth is, there is no perfect shape except in our dreams. Any of the women you’d gladly trade bodies with will tell you about the parts they hate, and the parts they constantly work on. Genetics has determined us all to be basically one of three body types. You made be one of these or a combination. They are:

 Body TypesMesomorph: Thick bones and generally muscular physique. It is easier to develop muscle and the look of a body builder. Meso’s muscles are shorter and tend to be bulkier. Great for heavy work and bodybuilding. Best type for sports that require quickness and strength like tennis. Not as naturally suited to long distance endurance sports like marathon running. Also, tends to be less flexible; stretching can help.

 

 

 

Mirabai_Holland2_1 ECTOEctomorph: Slender, thinner, longer bones, more difficult to build muscle mass but easy to sculpt a model-like body. Ecto’s muscles fibers are longer and well defined.  Best for endurance and cardiovascular activities like aerobics, long distance running, or swimming. Ecto’s are generally more fragile and more prone to injury in contact sports.

Mirabai_Holland3_1 ENDO

Endomorph: Rounder or more pear shaped body. Easy enough to build muscle but more tendency to gain and retain body fat, which often obscures musculature. This body type needs constant physical activity to maintain a healthy weight and an attractive physique. However, because of the uneven distribution of body fat, endo’s can be more prone to lower body injury. Be careful with activities like high impact aerobics.

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New Year New You: Top Ten Fitness Tips

new-year-s-resolution-take-charge-of-your-health-nowNew Year, New You; right? Well it is January again, and are you wondering if you can really stick with your New Year’s fitness resolutions? If getting in shape, and staying in shape is one of yours, it’s probably not the first time you’ve tried it. I’ve spent a lot of my career studying why fitness programs succeed or fail and developing methods to help people succeed. So, Happy New Year, here are my Top 10 Tips to help you ward off decrepitude.

New Year New You Top Ten Tips

•  Start slowly and go at your own pace. Staying in your comfort zone separates the pain from the gain. You’ll get the most benefit with the lowest risk of injury, especially if you’ve been inactive for some time.

•   Find the right kind of exercise for you. Choose activities you like or at least don’t hate. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as taking a brisk walk.

•   Pick a time of the day that is most convenient for you to exercise.  Try to stick with that schedule. Studies show that people who exercise at the same time every day are more likely to stick with it.

•  Before getting out of bed each day, take a moment to visualize yourself fit. Thinking of yourself as a fit person will help make it happen. Professional athletes do this daily.

•  Keep an exercise log. You’ll get a feeling of accomplishment when you stick to your program and will be able to chart your progress.

  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes with good support. Cotton is a breathable classic. But check out the super lightweight fabrics like cool-max that wick the sweat from your skin. When buying shoes, don’t feel weird about actually exercising in them in the store before plunking down the big bucks. I can’t tell you how many pairs of sneakers I have thrown against the wall before I learned this.

•   Exercise with a friend or family member. Supporting each other’s efforts helps keep you on track. One of my students loves to go mall walking with her friend in the early morning at speed and then coming back later for some retail therapy.

•   Music is a powerful motivator. Pick music you love that makes you want to move. There are fitness music companies that sell CDs with popular tunes played at specific beats per minute. They’ll tell you what speed works for particular types of exercise.

•   Consider professional guidance, especially if you’ve been inactive.  If you don’t want to join a gym or can’t afford a trainer, consider a beginner-level exercise video by a certified teacher so you’ll see the exercises demonstrated properly.

•   Set short-term, easily attainable goals, such as doing some form of exercise two or three days a week to start.  Change your goal when it becomes too easy.

It’s rare when anyone succeeds at anything right out of the gate. That’s why “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is a classic proverb. So if you fall off the wagon one day, just climb back on board the next. And remember you’re not a failure, you’re a success story in progress.

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Easy Raspberry Jam Recipe: No Gunk, No Junk

Easy Raspberry Jam RecipeEasy Raspberry Jam Recipe.
I love jam. I love it on my toasted baguette in the morning, drizzled through my plain yogurt, over my frozen yogurt and even in my salad dressing. But I can’t stand junk, gunk and preservatives in it. I swear I can taste them, and I know they’re not
good for you.
So a couple of berry seasons ago, armed only with Google and some pent up desire to find my dream jam recipe, I found some spectacular  

raspberries on sale and went for it.I wanted to make jam that was just fruit and a little sugar, nothing else, not even pectin (a jelling ingredient found in most jams).

I followed a few no pectin recipes I found, and the jam was pretty good, even the first time. But it was a little too sweet. I experimented with less sugar than recipes called for and finally found a simple combination that I love and I’d like to share it with you now. Making jam, particularly berry jam is not hard at all, but it does require concentration. You have to stay there and stir it so it doesn’t burn. I find it relaxing to concentrate on nothing else but raspberries for a couple of hours and it’s even more fun if I have a friend to talk to while I’m stirring.

Easy Raspberry Jam Recipe

Here’s my raspberry jam recipe: (Or substitute your favorite berries, same proportions.)
· 5 cups of fresh, perfectly ripe (not over ripe raspberries)
· 2 ½ cups of regular granulated sugar
That’s it! No gunk, no junk.

Equipment you’ll need:
(You can get a starter kit online or at your local hardware or big box store that has most of the stuff below)

·5 or 6, 8oz canning jars
·6 or 8-quart pot stainless steel (aluminum pots change the taste)
·8 inch saucepan or pot (aluminum or steel)
·Pot, aluminum or steel large enough to hold all 5 or 6 canning jars at once (there are canning pots available with a submersible rack that will hold all your jars. It’s worth buying once you decide you like making jam)
·Pair of jar tongs or tongs big enough to pick up a jam jar
·Jar funnel
·Lid lifter magnet
· Small plate

Steps:
1. Put the small plate into the freezer. You’ll use it to plop a drop of your hot jam on when you think it’s ready.
2. Unscrew the lids from the jars and pop off the inner lids.
3. Sterilize the jars (lids off) by putting them in your dishwasher about an hour before you use them or by boiling them (lids off) in the large canning pot for about 10 minutes (you can put you jar funnel and lid lifter magnet with the jars to sterilize them too)
4.Fill the 8-inch saucepan or pot about half way with water, bring to a boil and drop the inner lids into the boiling water. Sterilize them for 10 minutes.
5. Wash your berries and crush to taste in a steel pot. If you like fruit-chunky jam, crush them about half way, for smoother jam crush them a little more, (raspberries will disintegrate quite a bit when heated so you don’t have to crush them all the way)
6. Once the fruit is crushed, add 2½ cups of granulated sugar and mix it up.
7. Turn the heat to high for the first 5 minutes stirring constantly.
8. Turn the heat down to medium and stir constantly for about 20-25 minutes.
9. At about 20 minutes or when you jam starts to look gooey, test the consistency by taking the saucer out of the freezer and dropping a small dollop of jam on it. If it doesn’t run or drip off the plate, it’s done.
10. Take the jam pot off the heat, set it aside and let it cool.
11. Using the jar funnel, fill each jar about 90%. Put on the lids and tighten.
12. Fill your canning pot with water enough to cover the closed jars and bring to a boil.
13. Put the filled jars in the rack and lower into the boiling water and let it boil for about 15 minutes.
14. Turn off the heat, remove the rack of jars and let them cool to room temperature,
15. Let it sit overnight.
16. Serve and enjoy.

You can use the jars and screw on lid rings over again, but you can only use the inner lids once. You can get new inner lids where you buy your jars.

Enjoy this fruit over and over again for months to come.

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Ergonomics: Computer Set-up

Mirabai-Photo-WEBcomputer-pI got this email the other day from a woman with aches and pains in her back, neck, and arm. She thinks it’s because she spends so much time on the computer. “The New Year is here  and I’m determined not to live another year in pain if I can help it. I spend a lot of time on the computer. But after a couple of hours my back starts to hurt, my shoulder and mouse arm ache and I feel tension in my neck. Are there any exercises I can do to relieve this problem?”

Of course I was at my own computer reading that email and I noticed that my computer posture was less than perfect too. So I decided to share my reply to her with you.

I answered: “Sounds like the first thing you need to do is adjust the ergonomics of your computer set-up. Good posture can minimize those aches and pains.

  • Place your monitor at eye level.
  • Find your sit bones (those bones under each hip) and rock sideways to locate them. Balance your torso by sitting on top of those bones.
  • Position your hips and knees at 90 degrees, feet shoulder width apart.
  • If your legs are crossed, uncross them; crossed legs can cause a curvature of the spine.
  • Imagine your head is a helium balloon, lifting your whole spine upwards.
  • Avoid bending your wrist. Keep it in a neutral position.

Even with proper posture, sitting in the same position for hours at a time is bound to cause some stiffness and muscle soreness.

Here are three stretches that should give you some relief.”

Neck Exercise:

Side to side,

  • Place right hand on top of head. Gently pull head sideways, stretching neck towards the right shoulder. Repeat on other side. Hold for 10-20 seconds.

Front Shoulder Stretch

  • Extend right arm in front of you, chest level.
  • Take left hand and cup right elbow
  • Slowly stretch right arm across towards left shoulder. Hold for 10 counts.

Back Extension:

Lower Back

  • Stand with feet slightly apart.
  • Take hands and make two fists and place them on the lower back.
  • Slowly arch backwards, keeping abdominals contracted.
  • Hold for 10-20 counts.

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 Follow Mirabai Holland, Certified Health Coach & Certified Exercise Physiologist:

www.youtube.com/movingfreedvds

www.twitter.com/movingfree

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Send your Moving Free® with Mirabai questions to askmirabai@movingfree.com

 

 

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