New Year New You: Top Ten Fitness Tips Mirabai Holland

New 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 and downloads 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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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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Relieve Holiday Stress

Relieve holiday stressRelieve holiday Stress

When I think of the holiday season as joyous as it is, I can’t help thinking about stress.

Feeling the stress of the season? Me too!

Stress has been around since the beginning of time.

It started as the flight-or-fight reflex when early humans confronted a life-threatening situation, and now, stress itself has become a life-threatening situation.

Well, if we can’t eliminate all causes of stress, which is the way to go if you can do it, but good luck with that, what CAN we do about it?

Relieve holiday stress starting with my personal favorite.

 Relieve holiday stress

 

Snuggle

with a dog or cuddle with a cat

 

 

or cats!

 

 

 

 

Relax. No really, conscious relaxation is a form of Yoga or Meditation. Sometimes you only need a few seconds and you feel a lot better.

Try this at home or at work:

Sit down and close your eyes (if you’re on the street, duck into a doorway and keep your eyes open and one hand on your purse)

Let your muscles relax

Concentrate on your breathing

Breathe in and hold your breath for 1 second – 1 one hundred thousand, Breathe out

Breathe in again a little deeper and hold for 2 seconds – 1 one hundred thousand, 2 one hundred thousand – Breathe out

Breathe in deeper and hold for three, then four, then 5 seconds

When you get to around 3 seconds of breath holding your stress level should start to drop and your mind should to clear itself for thoughts.

After 5, you should feel pretty good. This actually works and can relieve holiday stress.

Eat better. Substituting good food like fruit for sugary snacks and drinking less caffeine and less alcohol can make a big difference

At home, put on some music and dance around for a song or two.

If you have the time, keep going, After a few minutes, as your heart rate goes up your mood will improve. This is because you’re now doing aerobic exercise, a great mood elevator, after about 20 minutes you’ll feel even better because the endorphins, your body’s natural anti-depressant drugs will kick in and all will be right with the world for a while.

By the way a half hour brisk walk or putting on an aerobics video also works great to relieve holiday stress.

Another great way to relieve holiday stress is to get a massage. Professional massage therapists are great, but for just plain stress, getting your significant other or a close friend to give you a massage works just as well, maybe better. Be sure to return the favor.

Hope you’ll try these and relieve holiday stress. Happier Holidays!

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Holiday Eating No Weight Gain?

Can you really enjoy holiday eating with no weight gain?

Well, when we think of the holidays the first thing that comes to mind is holiday eating and the fear of weight gain. That’s because we always have a few treats up our sleeves. And we do gain weight.

But, preventing this phenomenon of holiday eating is not as hard as you think. You don’t have to starve, deny yourself favorite holiday dishes or do heavy-duty compensation workouts.

 Holiday Eating With No Weight Gain: Some Pointers

If you are the one cooking, you are more in control of what is going to be placed on the table.

So you can choose equally delicious lighter recipes. But, if you are visiting friends and family all bets are off and your radar needs to be on. It’s all about portion control.

Don’t wait till the second piece of pie gets offered. Pre-planning is key. In some cases you’ll know from past experience what the menu will be. Even if you don’t, assume there will be a barrage of excess temptations. Excess is the operative word. Enjoy but not to excess.

Whether you count calories, points, or eyeball your portions, eat half of what you think you should eat. If you are not sure of a particular food or treat, pass on it, or just take a bite to see if it is worth the calories. If you find yourself hungry after all of this, you can eat a little more or maybe you’ve actually saved room for that dessert.

You can visit, enjoy the company, make merry and have a smug sense of self-assurance that this whole season will pass without you gaining even a pound. Who knows, you might lose weight.

That brings me to your insurance policy. If you don’t exercise regularly this is definitely the time to start and get a jump on your New Year, New You. If you do, make time for it. You don’t have to do extra but don’t make the excuse you’re too busy at this time of year.

Cardio exercise is great calorie burner, and we all know that a half hour of moderate aerobic exercise a day can reduce one’s chance of heart attack by a whopping 50%.

See how I snuck in my pitch for exercise? I am not suggesting anything that I don’t do myself. It works for me and I bet it will work for you.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. And let me know if you were able to enjoy holiday eating without weight gain.

Happy Holidays! For at home exercise programs check out my site www.mirabaiholland.com Follow Mirabai Holland, Certified Health Coach & Certified Exercise Physiologist:

 
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Orthopedic Injuries: Prehab To Avoid Rehab

ORTHOPEDIC-INJURIES_web-4-iOrthopedic Injuries. Here’s one of mine. This picture is real. It was taken by my husband a few years ago.  That’s me unable to lower my arm without passing out. I’m on the phone with my orthopedist. Orthopedic Injuries are a real drag. This one took me 3 months to rehab.

Nobody wants to grow old, least of all boomers. But we’re turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 a day, and will be for the next 17 years.

We’re running a little scared. We want longevity, but we’re scared of losing our mobility and independence. So we’re trying to stay active, or get active, in order to avoid decrepitude. With that many older bodies on the move, orthopedic injuries are on the rise. Once you’re injured, there’s excellent treatment and rehab available

But there is a lot you can do to prevent orthopedic injuries.
If you want to stay active and mobile in the second half of your life, consider prehab today to avoid rehab tomorrow. Here’s a quick video to tell you more:

Who gets up in the morning thinking: I feel like getting a nice orthopedic injury today. What can I do to help that along? But we have them anyway, even if we’re disease free. We over use our bodies or use them wrong. We break hips and legs. We get strains and sprains. We get hurt at work, at home or playing sports.

Vintage Bodies Prone For Orthopedic Injuries 

No matter how active we’ve been, our bodies are not the same as they were when we were younger. They’ve got miles on them. And like vintage cars, it’s not wise to drive them flat out. Those of us, who’ve used our bodies for a living, know we’ve had to make adjustments for our aging muscles and joints. Many of us are favoring old injuries that have left those body parts weakened and vulnerable.

We may be nursing over use injuries from repetitive actions. These can be anything from back problems from years of standing all day, to shoulder issues from years of manual labor, to carpal tunnel syndrome from constant mouse pushing. But it doesn’t have to take years. Raking leaves, shoveling snow or playing tennis all weekend when you’re out of shape can be an express ticket to Overuse Ville. And being overweight puts extra stress on your musculoskeletal system. But, there’s a simple fix that can reduce your risk for orthopedic injuries, give you more energy, stamina and even help you live longer

Prehab to Avoid Orthopedic Injuries

Two Types of Prehab

There are two main types: general and sport-specific.

General Prehab for Daily Life

Every day, we run for the bus or the phone, load groceries in the car, pick up children or pets and a million other things we take for granted. These all carry a risk for injury and I’ll bet we can all remember being injured doing them. Luckily for most of us the, injuries were limited to a little pull or sprain. But people do fall and break bones, dislocate limbs, have heart attacks and worse because they’re not fit enough for that activity at that moment. Being inactive and overweight adds to the mix. A simple fitness and weight management program may be all you need to help prevent orthopedic injuries during everyday activities.

General rehab for daily living as part of a personal wellness program: looks at the body as a whole, and develops it as a whole to maximize quality of life. This often includes strength training, cardio conditioning and core training, as well as some proprioceptive exercises.

Avoid Orthopedic Injuries with Fall Prevention

Falls are the number one cause of injury death in people over 65. One in three people 65 plus will experience a fall each year. And poor proprioception, not knowing where your body is in space is a leading cause of falls. Proprioception degrades with age but proprioceptive exercise can slow that down and help prevent falls. Add exercises like Tai Chi, and balancing exercises to your fitness routine. They feel great to do and can help keep you vertical into old age.

Sport-Specific Prehab is designed to get you ready for the rigors of a particular sport or physical endeavor. Good activity specific exercises pay special attention to the body parts most involved in that activity or sport with regard to use and form without ignoring the concept of training the body as a whole. Sport specific training is available at many gyms and community centers.

So I hope you’ve become a believer in the little proverb I’ve coined to remind my clients “An ounce of prehab is worth a pound of rehab.”

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When NOT To Exercise

When Not To ExerciseWhen Not To Exercise, I ask myself.

Well, for a couple of days now I have been nursing the flu. I’ve been mostly in bed and its very frustrating. I can feel the fitness juice draining out of me. Several times I’ve thought of getting out of bed, putting on my sneakers and each time, my body, my lungs and my head have said “whoa maybe this is a bad idea”.
So, resting on an elevated pillow, feet up, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that there are times when not to exercise because being physically active can do more harm than good.
Now that I have nothing else to do I’m making a list.

When Not To Exercise

When You Are Sick
If you’ve got a cold and it’s not severe you CAN exercise without making yourself sicker. Your body will probably tell you to back off the intensity and you should listen. So just do a maintenance workout.
The Flu however is not to be messed with. Influenza kills several thousand people a year. Your body is under siege from a virus and you need to win that battle. Rest. Don’t exercise.
With A Fever The Flu is often accompanied by a fever because your immune system is fighting off infection. Any time you have a fever you need to be resting to give your body a fighting chance. No exercise.

When You’re Tired

How tired? It you’ve got the fatigue and brain-block that comes from a long day at the office, some moderate exercise after work may help you relax and recharge. But if your body is telling you go home and go to bed, that’s what you need to do.
When A Chronic Condition Flairs Up
Most people with chronic conditions or injuries can exercise with doctor’s permission between flair-ups. But many make the mistake of trying to exercise when their condition is acute. When your condition flairs up, wait it out. Don’t exercise. It only takes a moment to cause permanent damage. If your flair-up persists, go see your doctor.

When You’re Pregnant

Most pregnant women can exercise but ability to exercise varies greatly from person to person. Make sure you talk to your doctor about any exercise you’re planning to do.

When You Have Pain

Patient: “Doctor it hurts when I do this.”
Doctor: “Don’t do that!”
It really IS that simple. Pushing through the pain is nonsense even for most professional athletes. If you’ve got pain don’t exercise. See your doctor.

This list is a work in progress and since I’m lying here, I’m sure I can think up some more stuff. How about you? If you’ve got some good reasons not to exercise, please send me your comments.

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Cancer Exercise Programs

Cancer Exercise Programs

Studies show that about one third of cancer deaths each year are related to an unhealthy diet and not enough exercise. On the other hand, not smoking, eating well, and getting plenty of exercise are the most important things we can do to prevent cancer.

Cancer Exercise ProgramsCancer Exercise programs can help to control your weight and stabilize hormones. The same 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day that reduces your risk of heart attack by 50% can also reduce risk breast and colon cancer.

 

 

Cancer Exercise ProgramsControlling your weight helps to reduce the risk of breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, and kidney cancers. Healthy low fat diet of fiber, fruits and vegetables is also a major factor in reducing cancer risk.

Cancer Exercise Programs

Easy aerobic exercise has been shown to increase hemoglobin levels, reduce inflammation, lessen fatigue, and keep muscles in shape for better every day activities. Also you can increase self confidence, reduce depression and aid in recovery of surgery. Here are some aerobic exercise suggestions.

 

 

 

Click each picture for info.

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Other research has shown cancer exercise programs that involve strength and flexibility exercises have helped patients return to a normal activity level sooner. Click the Strength and Flexibility video pictures to choose the right program for you.

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Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed kind of cancer and lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among all Americans. Using sunscreen and not smoking make these two cancers largely preventable.

For women, the second most deadly cancer is breast cancer, third is colorectal cancer. Among women’s reproductive cancers, cancer of the endometrium – the tissue lining the uterus – is the most commonly diagnosed, followed by ovarian, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.

Breast cancer. Age and hormones play a big role in prevention of reproductive cancers in women. The hormone estrogen (and subtypes, such as estradiol) has a lot to do with breast cancer, although scientists are still exploring why. New research studies are finding that young girls who get plenty of exercise and eat calcium and soy foods may have lower risk for breast cancer later in their lives. Pre-menopausal women have lower risk if they have had children and breast-fed children; for this age group, being overweight seems not to be as great a breast cancer risk as it is for post-menopausal women who gain weight. Weight gain also adds risk of recurrence for overweight breast cancer survivors.

Exercise and social support seem to increase the life expectancy of breast cancer survivors, preventing recurrence. Monthly self-exams and annual mammograms are vital in detecting breast cancer early enough to treat it, so that a patient’s survival is as great as possible. More exacting screening methods, including sentinel node biopsies (removal of small bits of tissue likely to reveal cancer) and mammograms better able to penetrate dense breast tissue that can hide cancer, are improving detection and making earlier treatment and longer survival possible. Breast cancer symptoms include:

• Lump or thickening of the breast
• Breast pain
• Dimpling or puckering of the skin
• Change in skin color or texture
• Change in breast shape
• Swelling redness or heat
• Discharge from or retraction of the nipple
• Scaly skin on or around the nipple

Cervical/Uterine Cancer. Cervical cancer is one of the few types of cancer (liver cancer is another) that develops as the result of a virus. PAP smear tests to detect cervical cancer have been greatly improved in the past few years. Regularly getting a PAP smear is the best method of detecting cervical cancer. Abnormal bleeding, especially in post-menopausal women, may be a sign of these cancers, but may also be a sign of other disorders that are not cancer. Premenopausal women may have heavier than normal bleeding. Pelvic pain (except cramping) and urination difficulties also are possible symptoms.

Ovarian Cancer. Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect before it has spread to a stage where it is usually fatal. Symptoms may include constant abdominal bloating and gas in the digestive system. Other symptoms may be the same as for cervical/uterine cancer, described in the previous paragraph.

Cancer treatments are improving. Although the side-effects of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation can still be devastating and very unpleasant, all of these therapies are being more finely tuned and made less dangerous as better technology is developed. More studies are showing effective combination treatments. Many cancers are becoming more manageable over a long-term with healthy habits and watchfulness, instead of the automatic death sentence they used to be. However, some hard-to-detect cancers, including ovarian and pancreatic cancer, have often spread too far before they can be treated.

So now may be the time to try some health coaching!

If you need some help, I have your back! Here’s a short video about my Health Coaching Technique how I have helped my clients achieve a balanced and Healthy Life. Get 50% OFF Your First Session: Put COACH AT CHECKOUT: https://www.mirabaiholland.com/health-coaching-one-session/

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It is important to keep up with new developments in cancer treatment and other care options. Here are some reliable resources on cancer, exercise, nutrition & support for women:

National Cancer Institute

Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

American Breast Cancer Association

American Cancer Society

American Institute for Cancer Research

Cancer Care

National Women’s Health Foundation                                              

 

 

 

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Reading Food Labels

I wasReading Food Labels hiking in the mountains and the Fall color was astonishing.
I went along for about two hours at a brisk pace enjoying the fresh air.
Much of my exercise is teaching fitness classes and creating new routines for online exercise videos and for my Health coaching clients. So, it was refreshing to just free my mind, move my body and drink in all those trees dressed in gold and green. Sometimes its good to mix up your exercise routine. I felt renewed.
When I finished my hike we went into a little country food market.

Reading Food Labels

So cute with all those red and white checkered tabletops filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, homemade jams, honey, maple syrup and cider. I spotted a bottle that said “Fresh Apple Cider” thinking how fresh it would taste, this being apple season and all. I continued my walk and I’d gotten a considerable distance from the store when I decided it was time for swig of cider. As I was about to sip, I remembered about reading food labels. I glanced at the ingredients  expecting to see APPLES. But instead it read
APPLES, and Potassium sorbate, a preservative.
I wanted to throw that cider against a wall! That’s wht reading food labels is key.
I was thirsty so I drank a little and whether it was in my mind or not, it seemed to taste not as fresh as I imagined it would. So the lesson here, is just because you are in an adorable country market, don’t take for granted that all the foods will be fresh and adorable too.

So caveat emptor: let the buyer beware

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Wellness Mandala

Wellness: Life is a balancing act.
So I started thinking about wellness. What is wellness anyway?
It’s the absence of disease. If you are not sick you are well.
But it’s more than that isn’t it? It’s quality of life and for some it’s a balancing act; the balance of all things. I like this balance concept so I dug out one of my favorite balancing act tools:

Wellness Balancing Act Tool

The Mandala: the wheel of life. I wrote down all the types of wellness I could think of and ended up with 6 categories that I stuck on my Mandala to enable us to live well.

Here they are:
Physical Wellness
· Taking care of your body, eat right, exercise
· Visit your doctor regularly

Mental Wellness
· Keeping an open mind and trying to see other’s point of view
· Allowing your curiosity to take you to new places and learn new things.

Emotional Wellness
· Trying to keep a positive state of mind
· Cultivating self esteem
· Reaching out to others for support

Spiritual Wellness
· Recognizing your beliefs.
· Allowing your core values to direct your actions.

Social Wellness
· Developing positive inter-personal relationships at home and work
· Allowing yourself to give and receive love: to and from everyone that means that much to you including animals
· Participate in social situations; try not to stay on the sidelines.

Environmental Wellness
· Making your home environment peaceful, pleasant, safe and comfortable.
· Choosing an occupation and a workplace that doesn’t drive you nuts.
· Try to have a positive impact on our natural environment.
Recycle more, pollute less.

When the wheel is in balance it spins evenly. When even one of these categories is out of whack, the whole wheel starts to wobble.
So as a certified health coach I respectfully suggest you get rolling, get your balancing act together so you can live well.

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EASY CARDIO WORKOUT COMBATS DEPRESSION

Easy Cardio WorkoutEasy Cardio Workout Combats Depression. I find myself as you may too, for no apparent reason, feeling a little blue. So I dust off my sneakers and get ready to move because I know cardio exercise improves mood.

Research shows that cardio exercise improves mood because it increases levels of serotonin and endorphins in the brain. These are important neurochemical transmitters, which help to elevate and stabilize your mood.

In fact one of the known causes of depression is a lowered level of serotonin. Aerobic exercise can be as effective as medication for relieving mild to moderate depression in many cases.

Easy Cardio Workout: More Reasons Why Cardio Exercise Improves Mood

There is more to cardio  exercise than serotonin and endorphins. It helps lower adrenaline, a chemical associated with stress to help promote relaxation. And as you become more fit you feel better about how you look and feel. This can give you a positive outlook in general. Try some easy aerobics. You may just cardio dance your troubles away. I make sure I’m exercising aerobically most days of the week, at least for 30-60 minutes. I not only feel my spirits lift while I’m exercising but for many hours afterwards. However if you are just starting to exercise or haven’t been exercising for awhile here is a easy cardio Workout video to help you get going:


Are You Depressed?
The standard symptoms for depression are:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness or “emptiness”
  • Sense of hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt
  • Inability to enjoy ordinary pleasurable activities, including sex
  • Noticeable change of appetite, possibly accompanied by significant weight loss or weight gain
  • Shifts in sleeping patterns, such as insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Difficulty concentrating, persistent irritability, excessive crying
  • Preoccupation with thoughts of death or suicide
  • Decreased energy, fatigue
  • Persistent aches and pains

Many things can cause depression. They range from some medications to low levels of light during the winter months. Alcohol and a poor diet, as well as inherited predisposition, can lead to the condition as well. Before you decide on asking your doctor for an anti-depressant prescription, adopt the healthy lifestyle habits of a nutritious diet, regular exercise and enough sleep. If things don’t improve, of course, seek medical help.

So try my take on the old Arlen & Koehler song lyric that Judy Garland sang, “forget your troubles, come on get happy” you can exercise your blues away with this easy cardio workout!

For more info on women health and fitness and at home exercise programs for women over 50 visit www.mirabaiholland.com

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