Visualize Yourself Healthy and Fit

If you visualize yourself healthy and fit, can you help make it happen?
We vow to lose weight, get fit, quit smoking, and hope to transform our lives.

So why do we try and fail year after year and why have so many of us just given up altogether?
I think it’s because we were setting ourselves up to fail instead of succeed.
We push ourselves too hard to do too much too soon to change habits that took half a lifetime to cultivate and expect that’s going to be ok with us and it’s not.
If we want to change long standing habits we need to look at it differently.
We need to see ourselves differently. See yourself the weight you want to be.. Feel what it’s like to be at that healthy weight.. Consider yourself a healthy person, a non-smoker, whatever.

There’s a mind-body connection that dancers and athletes are trained to tap into every day that allows them to perform with ease, fluidity and enjoyment. Your activity should provide the same type of experience and be one that you enjoy and want to do every day. These athletes live by this. It really works. And it works for everything.

Here are two mind-body techniques they use and you can use right away to help set those resolutions into motion.

Visualization: happens mostly on the right side of the brain, the part that controls emotion, intuition and nonlinear thought.
So if your goal is to lose 10 pounds you visualize yourself 10 pounds thinner maybe by wearing that pair of jeans you have been wanting to get into again.
Don’t just see yourself as having lost the weight. See yourself as that person, someone who can be and always maintain that weight.
That mental image can replace the one you now have of yourself and help you transform your behavior on both a conscious and subconscious level.
It can allow you to finally put that desire into permanent action.

Affirmations: By engaging in positive self-talk you can change what you believe about yourself. You can speak to yourself silently or out loud in short phrases that start with
“I am
And don’t be afraid to say you are who you really want to be.
Repeat several times until you are able to clear your mind of anything but that particular affirmation.

Once you see and hear how it feels to be someone who has already reached their goal, you can use the same techniques to set and achieve easy short-term interim goals.
For instance if your goal is to become fit, you can start by visualizing and feeling yourself having exercised today and affirm with “I will exercise 5 minutes today”

As long as you have plausible expectations and don’t say stuff like I’m 6 feet tall when you’re 5’6, you can make amazing changes real.

Sometimes you only need a few seconds and you feel a lot better.

Sit down and close your eyes. (If you’re on the street, duck into a doorway, stand 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 one second, count one one hundred thousand, and breathe out.

Breathe in again a little deeper and hold for two seconds — one one hundred thousand, two one hundred thousand — breathe out.

Breathe in deeper and hold for three, then four, then five seconds.
When you get to around three seconds of breath holding, your stress level should start to drop and your mind should start to clear itself of thoughts.

After five, you should feel pretty good. 

For more health and fitness information and at home exercise programs please visit www.mirabaiholland.com

EASE IN, BECOME MOBILE, GET STRONG, LIVE LONG!  Healthy Life. Visit www.mirabaiholland.com

 

 

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Stress: Dealing With It

Chronic StressStress. It’s everywhere. If you live and work on this planet it’s almost impossible to avoid. In these times of social distancing and sheltering inside it can cause us to feel even more stressed and anxious too.

Feeling stressed? Me too!

Today I’m writing about how to get rid of stress and suggest some easy ways to get that burden off your back.

To get us in the mood, let’s start with a short, guided meditation and stretch video to help reduce stress. Try it with me and see for yourself.

 

Stress:

Now that you’re a believer, lets have a look at stress and how to get rid of it. (By the way, as you get better at becoming relaxed, you can keep your eyes open while watching the waves on the video.)

Stress has been around since the beginning of time. It started as the fight-or-flight response when early humans confronted a life-threatening situation. In that situation, stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, are produced. Your blood vessels constrict, blood pressure goes up, pupils dilate, heart rate quickens, and breathing becomes more rapid. The body is preparing itself to do battle or run. This response is essential in times of acute danger. But problems at work, crying kids, traffic, you name it can trigger the same response.

Given the pressures of daily life, chronic stress itself has become a life-threatening situation. It can cause a host of health problems including headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, trouble concentrating, anxiety, depression, increased body weight, high blood pressure and heart disease.

We can’t eliminate the stress. But we can relieve the fight-or-flight response that sends our bodies into danger mode. And we can cultivate a relaxation response over time that will reduce our physiological stress reaction.

So what do we do about chronic stress? How do we get rid of it?

How? Relax. That’s what my first yoga teacher used to say when I was all bent up in the pretzel pose with a grimace on my face. And, like that meditation you just did, it actually worked. Once I was able to relax, I was stress-free even in the pretzel pose.

Seriously, daily conscious relaxation exercises can make real difference in the way your body responds to stress. Dr Herbert Benson coined the phrase “relaxation response” in his book by the same name in 1975.

Since then he and others have conducted numerous studies, including a recent one at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine, that have detailed the body’s intricate positive response to conscious relaxation exercises. In a nutshell, the relaxation response has the opposite effect of fight-or-flight. It engages the parasympathetic nervous system to counteract the effects of stress. You experience a feeling of deep relaxation and well being. And if you practice relaxation regularly you’ll feel better and help yourself avoid those stress related health issues. That’s how we get rid of chronic stress.

Meditation is just one of an almost infinite number of ways to consciously relax. Virtually anything that takes your attention away from your daily grind and makes you concentrate on just one thing can work. Doing the dishes, aerobic exercise, yoga, stretching, golf, playing a musical instrument, casting a fishing rod, playing with a cat, almost anything can work if you pay attention to only that and clear your mind. I’m partial to exercise because I get the benefits of a workout as well as the relaxation. It’s my mantra. It’s what I do to get rid of chronic stress.

Dr. Benson suggests you practice some form of conscious relaxation for 10 to 20 minutes every day to get rid of chronic stress in the long-term.

But what if you’re pressed for time? (Pressed rhymes with stressed.)

Reduce Chronic Stress with this little exercise.

Sometimes you only need a few seconds and you feel a lot better.

Sit down and close your eyes. (If you’re on the street, duck into a doorway, stand 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 one second, count one one hundred thousand, and breathe out.

Breathe in again a little deeper and hold for two seconds — one one hundred thousand, two one hundred thousand — breathe out.

Breathe in deeper and hold for three, then four, then five seconds.
When you get to around three seconds of breath holding, your stress level should start to drop and your mind should start to clear itself of thoughts.

After five, you should feel pretty good. This works well for me particularly in moments of acute stress.

That one worked too didn’t it. I hope concentrating on reading this helped you reduce your stress and I hope you’ll make conscious relaxation a part of your life.

It’s a lifestyle change that’s easy to make because it feels so good when you do it.

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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.

For more info on health and wellness programs please visit www.mirabaiholland.com

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STRESS REDUCTION TIPS

 

Your body is always with you. The miracle of healing is that it usually gives you another chance, whenever you want to take it, to get stronger and feel calmer. Putting too much pressure on yourself to be productive every minute, to show concern all the time, to live up to others’ expectations – can all create unhealthy stress mentally and physically when there is no break from it. With messages at every turn telling us stoke our energy and be ever more productive and live up to growing pressures, our society rarely provides an outlet or encouragement to let go, get rest, be gentle and be free of constant choices and concerns.

Stretching, Yoga and Meditation can help relieve stress.

Interludes: Take a break every couple of hours to remember and move the rest of your body. It can make a big difference in your health. All it takes is a little effort to get in the habit. Once you do, you’ll discover a wellspring of wellness that you can revisit again and again. Studies have shown interludes can be key to enhanced productivity, alertness and mental stability.

Breathing: By the time we reach our 40s and 50s, we have often learned habitual postures and positions that block our ability to breathe fully. These postures might be learned from parents, they might be developed from past injuries or result unconsciously from daily environments like driving or hunching forward to look at a computer at a desk job.

How To Fix It:
Start with your breath. It is always there….and it is the link to the peace of mind that is always there for you. Breathing deeply can help you begin to slow down, even in the most stressful times of your life. Even if you are not inclined to practice sitting meditation, doing 5 minutes of breathing exercises and concentrating on your breath during easy movement is in itself a relaxing meditation. These tranquil, replenishing exercises can be done wherever you are.

“TAKE 5” RELAXATION EXERCISE

Exercise benefits begin when we start to breathe fully. Over the years, we can develop unconscious habits like slouching or muscle tension because of the kind of work we do or even feelings of stress. This kind of muscle tension and mental anxiety can lead to health problems as we age.

Start by stopping – and listening to your body. It may be telling you something with minor aches and pains. It may be completely silent, numb and lacking in energy. You may even feel annoyed, or worried about everything and feeling stuck.

If you have these feelings, take 5 minutes in your day to stop. Go to a place that is a quiet and private as possible, even if it’s a bathroom. Take a few slow, deep breaths. Close your eyes. Try to clear your mind by only thinking of the sound of your breathing. Then gently let your head nod down, then come level again, a few times. Gently turn your head to the right then back to center; to the left and center, a few times on each side. As you inhale deeply, slowly shrug your shoulders then let them fall naturally. Roll them slowly forward twice, then backward twice. Lift your arms above your head and spread your fingers open
gently to stretch your hands, hold for 30 seconds, then repeat. Bend your elbows, lift them to your sides and pull them back, holding for 30 seconds, to stretch your chest.

By now, you’ve passed 5 minutes with small stretches that can help your circulation and lower your blood pressure. It’s a small but valuable gift of time and movement. Try it once a day, then twice.

This is the place – the space – for you to restore and rejuvenate your physical and mental energy. Ease into more movement today.

Moving Free® is a fusion exercise technique that combines the best elements of ancient and modern methods. It draws upon ancient stress-relieving systems, such as yoga, which focuses on opening internal areas inside the body (lungs, digestive system, etc.) with positions that enable breathing freely to ease muscular stretching. Another ancient form, tai chi, also focuses on slow breathing that lets the abdomen rise and fall naturally, expanding with full slow breaths that bring more oxygen into the body. When the breathing focus is underway, then the slow and gentle movements reinforce balance and agility. More vigorous dance-inspired exercise also plays an important role alongside gentler stretching – and is an ideal way to relieve heightened stress that would otherwise lead to harmful emotions like anger. Moving Free® is the place where you can do that. Recover your balance and find your own rhythm. Visit mirabaiholland.com for  Moving Free®  

 

 

 

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Holiday Exercise!

Holiday ExerciseHoliday Exercise!

With the holidays around the corner again those old familiar fears are rearing their ugly heads. For me it’s: how am I going to get through this with my sanity and how am I going to keep from gaining a ton?

Exercise has always been my catchall solution, like Windex for the father of the bride in that movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

As those of you who read my column know, during the holidays I pretty much throw up my arms and prudently sample every goodie that comes my way. But I emphasize the word SAMPLE. If I come to the table hungry those samples could get quite large, so I use my Windex (I mean holiday exercise; I don’t use real Windex) to help me through.

Holiday Exercise Tips:

Here is a short video to kick start your Holiday Exercise:

Endorphins make you feel like all is right with the world. Maintaining sanity becomes much easier after a good workout.  They also tend to suppress your appetite. 30 minutes or so of aerobic exercise is enough to get your body to release those endorphins and it burns about 200- 300 calories. Strength training about a half hour every other day burns about 200 calories. It also raises your metabolism and keeps it up for hours after you’ve finished exercising. You see where I’m going here?

If you get started now you can stay sane, get in shape, reap all the health benefits daily holiday exercise has to offer, maintain or even lose weight, and get a jump on the 2 most popular New Year’s resolutions: Get in shape and lose some weight. Not bad.

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For more health and fitness information and at home exercise programs please visit www.mirabaiholland.com

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Clicking Joints: Should I Worry?

Clicking JointsClicking Joints: Should I worry? What are those clicking, popping and crackling sounds in my joints? Is it Arthritis? Have I overdosed on breakfast cereal? No, it’s probably Crepitus. Sounds like a precursor to decrepitude, but it’s not. Crepitus is just the word used to describe the clicking sounds.

In fact, in most cases, if there’s no pain associated with those sounds, it’s nothing to worry about. Many people live their whole lives with some clicking joints and popping without any ill effects.

 Clicking Joints?

Clicking Joints have closed bags of synovial fluid, called bursa, between them. They cushion joint movement so we can walk and work painlessly. That fluid has a little bit of air or gas dissolved in it. Through our daily movement, that gas can form a bubble or cavity in the bag. The fancy term is Cavitation.

When you move your knee, elbow or shoulder, the bubble bursts and makes a click or popping sound. Cracking your knuckles is a good example of breaking those bubbles on purpose. So, the rule of thumb is: no pain, no problem.

Snapping however is another story. That rubber band-like sound is often accompanied by pain. It’s a sign you have an injury, or that some muscle, nerve or connective tissue is out of place.

In this case you should see your doctor. A good way to promote healthy joints in general is to strengthen the muscles around them. Regular strength training can make a difference at any age. If you haven’t been exercising in a while, start slowly and build up. Last thing you want to do is hurt the joints you’re trying to strengthen.

So, what’s the takeaway here? Well, next time your friends have clicks and pops in their joints, you can tell them they probably have Crepitus!

TAKE CHARGE OF THEIR HEALTH NOW!

by Mirabai Holland MFA Certified Health Coach, Certified Exercise Physiologist.

EASE IN, BECOME MOBILE, GET STRONG, LIVE LONG!

For more health and fitness info, Health coaching  and in home exercise club and videos please visit www.mirabaiholland.com  

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Cooking Healthy

Cooking Healthy Cooking Healthy is what my husband and I both love to do together. It was a challenge at first because he’s one of those ’60s kids who became a vegetarian at 14 and never went back. He’s been a vegetarian for 53 years. I, on the other hand, enjoy chicken, fish, and lean beef in moderation. Luckily he’s not one of those anti meat people, and he has no problem helping me cook it. He just has no desire to eat it. That’s fine, to each his own.

The interesting thing about this cooking healthy relationship is that we’ve developed a bunch of recipes that can be either vegetarian or not or both.

If you like Asian Fusion, here’s one of our favorite recipes to try at home.

The recipe makes 4 servings.

Cooking Healthy Recipe

4 cups, skinless chicken breast, chopped small
1 cup, brown rice                                                                                                                1.5 cup of snap peas                                                                                                          1 cup, sweet red pepper, chopped
2/3 cup, Vidalia onion, chopped
1 tablespoon, garlic, minced
4 tablespoons, low sodium soy sauce.

Here are the steps.

1. Start your rice in a separate pot with about 1 2/3 cups of water. Keep an eye on it, and flip it occasionally as it plumps

2. Sauté the chopped chicken breast in a large saucepan in about ¼ cup of water and 1 tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce. Add a small bit of water if chicken starts to stick.

3. When the chicken looks like it’s starting to cook, add the tablespoon of garlic

4. When the chicken is about 1/2 cooked, add the Sugar Snap Peas, (peel the the stem end of the pea and remove the string) and add the chopped pepper, cooked onion and 2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce

5. When the dish is nearly cooked, add the cooked rice and one more tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce.

You can substitute wild rice or white rice if you don’t like brown rice. And you can spice it up with a pinch of dried crushed red pepper and/or a ½ teaspoon of graded fresh ginger if your taste runs that way. Or add some fresh cilantro if you so desire.

The whole dish takes about half an hour from start to serving. It’s less than 500 calories per serving. If you’re a vegetarian, omit the chicken (this will drop the calorie count to about 300 per serving). Hope you’ll try it.

BTW, an hour of vigorous aerobic exercise should burn it right off.
For more info on at home exercise programs and wellness info visit www.mirabaiholland.com

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Exercise For Arthritis

Exercise for Arthritis

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Exercise lubricates your joints and keeps them mobile which is great for arthritis sufferers. Many of us Baby Boomers develop Arthritis as we get older. But in most cases it doesn’t have to be a ticket to inactivity. According to the National Arthritis foundation.

“If you have arthritis or a related condition, exercise is especially important.”

National Arthritis Foundation

It also strengthens the muscles and the cartilage around your joints which helps to protect and keep them usable. Many people with arthritis don’t exercise because of pain. This is a natural reaction, but one that’s important to overcome because lack of exercise can stiffen joints, worsen pain, and eventually immobilize you. Starting slowly, and carefully exercising joints and related muscles can improve your ability to perform daily tasks with improved range of motion and less pain.

People with arthritis can do all three major components of fitness training:
Cardio, Strength and Flexibility. The main modifications are;

  • Proceed slowly
  • Although some exercises will not be entirely pain-free, never continue to exercise in great pain.
  • Longer warm-up and cool-down (5-10 minutes)
  • For some applying ice or heat before you start can help relieve pain and soreness. Check with your doctor.

hand-stretch.jpg“My Dad had severe rheumatoid arthritis. I designed a Moving Free® exercise program for him and worked with him for several months. It brought him so much relief that he brought the program to the attention of the National Arthritis Foundation. I was proud to become one of their exercise consultants.”
Mirabai Holland MFA, Certified Exercise Physiologist, Certified Health Coach

About Arthritis

About one in three adults has some form of arthritis. According to the National Arthritis Foundation “Baby boomers are now at prime risk. More than half those affected are under age 65.”

There are several forms of Arthritis.

  • Osteoarthritis: Most common form of arthritis causing joint cartilage to deteriorate over time until bone rubs upon bone.
  • Rheumatoid: An autoimmune disease which causes inflammation of joint linings.
  • Lupus: Can destroy the body’s connective tissue.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis: a spinal arthritis which causes vertebrate to grow together due to inflammation.
  • Scleroderma: A condition which thickens and hardens the skin.
  • Fibromyalgia: Causes aching muscles and connective tissue.
  • Juvenile arthritis: Various forms of arthritis that occur in children.

For more information on Mirabai Holland and her Moving Free Technique® please visit http://www.mirabaiholland.com

 

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Tennis: Improve Your Game!

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Tennis! How To Improve Your Game

My friends say I’m like a broken record when I tell them “An ounce of Prehab is Worth a Pound of Rehab”. But with the rising number of baby boomers and beyond taking to the tennis courts, this phrase rings true especially if you’re interested in staying literally, in the game!

For general tennis conditioning, start with easy aerobics like cardio interval walking/jogging.

Alternate three minutes of brisk walking with a minute of faster walking or jogging. Build up to 8 sets (32 minutes) each session, at least 3-5 days a week. Also, if you have the space, try stepping laterally several steps to the right and then to the left during the 1-minute intervals.

This will help build your stamina for those bursts of speed you need on the tennis court.

Tennis: How To Improve Your Game

The following 5 site specific exercises can help you warm-up your racquet arm and strengthen key muscles to help avoid injuries but improve your game.

Srv1WebFigure-Eight Warm-up

With your racquet in your hand perform an overhead serve (without the ball) and follow through with a figure eight motion. Start slowly and increase your speed as you feel your arm, shoulder and core muscles getting warmed up. Repeat 12 times.

 

 

 

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Improve Your Tennis Game Ball Grip Strengthener

Squeeze a tennis ball in the palm of your racquet hand. Hold for 10 seconds.

Repeat 6 times. Strengthens grip.

 

 

 

BbdHndWebRubber Band Grip Strengthener

Stretch rubber band while extending fingers of your racquet hand. Hold for 10 seconds,

Repeat 6 times. Strengthens the opposite muscles from ball grip.

 

 

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Wrst-Curl-Right-WebForearm/Wrist Exercise

Holding a can or hand weight, place your arm edgewise on a surface for support. Using just your wrist, curl all the way to the right and then to the left.

Strengthens the forearm and wrist and helps to prevent tennis elbow. Repeat up to 12 times.

 

Wrist-Curl-Left---Web

 

 

 

 

 

 

LungeWebWalking Lunge

Lunge forward with one leg while bending other leg with heel off the ground.

Pause for 1 second. Switch legs and repeat. Strengthens leg muscles. Do up to 16 times.

 

 

 

EASE IN, BECOME MOBILE, GET STRONG, LIVE LONG!  

For more info on at home exercise programs visit www.mirabaiholland.com

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How Health Coach Mirabai Helped Becky Achieve a Healthier Lifestyle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My initial wellness vision was to lose some weight to get healthier.

My Doctor recently prescribed a specialized diet to address some health issues, so I had to adapt to a new eating lifestyle. Mirabai has helped me every step of the way on modifying my diet and updating my old goals to new goals. With her help, I track my food on regular basis on MyFitnessPal so I can make sure I am adhering to a diet that is better for my health. My healthier eating has led to some great results! Following the diet prescribed by doctor, and with Mirabai’s help, I was able to lower my A1C and stop taking blood pressure medication.

She also helped me get on to a gentle regular exercise program. Together we designed a program to help me lose weight and reduce my stress. Then, when I had some orthopedic issues, Mirabai was there to help me adapt my exercises and helped me choose proper shoes for added stability.

Life changes are hard, but Mirabai is expert at helping with that. I found tracking on MyFitnessPal to be a nuisance at the beginning, but now I embrace it. With this tool, I can easily see if I am staying within my given parameters. And, during my sessions with Mirabai we spend time going over my food tracking to make sure I am staying on track and come up ways to make it easier to follow my special diet. It really helps me adhere to it knowing that Mirabai is reviewing my daily entries and holding me accountable.

I would highly recommend health coaching with Mirabai!

Mirabai and I are a good fit. She understands my needs and helps me make my changes my way.  She understands that one size does not fit all. Health coaching has made a real difference in my health and has improved my personal wellbeing.

Becky Roberts
Property Management

More health and fitness information and at home exercise programs from Mirabai Holland, Health Coach, visit www.mirabaiholland.com

 

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