Laughter Can Change Your Life

One of the best times in my life was when I worked with one of my best friends. We were blessed to work for a hospice company that embraced our effervescent and joyful spirits. Entering into peoples’ lives at one of the most serious and sacred times was an honor. However, what I discovered was that the patients’ and families needed more than our pity, they needed our strength.

Nehemiah 8:10: “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

nat and me nat and me too

(my friend and me after a home visit.  LOL!)

For those who still insist to be serious, here are some benefits of laughter that should give you much needed boost:

  • Reduces risk of heart disease: Research shows that laughing expands the inner walls of the arteries thereby increasing the blood flow. Furthermore, this positive effect lasts for 30-45 minutes. When you laugh, the blood flow increases and the blood pressure rises; but when you stop laughing, blood pressure drops back to its baseline. This relaxing effect helps bring down blood pressure.
  • Natural painkiller: Laughing helps people forget about pain. Studies show that children watching comedy films tolerate pain more easily. There are many more studies to validate the pain relieving effects of good laughter.
  • Massages the abdominal organs: Belly laughing gives a good massage to the abdominal organs, like liver, kidney, pancreas, spleen and adrenal glands. As a result, blood flow is increased and their functioning is improved.
  • Decreases stress: Laughing instantly reduces stress hormones level and hence is one of the most effective ways to reduce effects of stress.
  • Internal Workout: A good belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs and even works out the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward. It even provides a good workout for the heart.
  • Helps keep diabetes under control: A study showed that people who watched a funny video after meal had comparatively lesser blood sugar level than those who watched a serious film.
  • Makes you look young: Laughing requires as many as 15 muscles to squeeze facial muscles in to a smile. This act increases the blood flow around the face making you look younger.
  • Improves your breathing: Laughter empties your lungs of more air than it takes in resulting in a cleansing effect; similar to deep breathing. This is especially helpful for people who are suffering from respiratory ailments, such as asthma.
  • Boosts your immune system: Researchers have found that laughter actually boosts the immune system, increasing the number of antibody-producing T-cells. This then makes us less likely to get coughs and colds. It also lowers the levels of at least four hormones that are associated with stress, so after a good giggle you should be far less tense and anxious.
  • An effective anti-depressant: Laughter keeps depression and anxiety at bay by boosting the production of serotonin, a natural anti-depressant. It’s no surprise that people with a good sense of humor rarely get depressed. And even if they do get, they get over it quickly.
  • Acts like a cleansing and energizing breath: During stress, our breathing is shallow and there is a build up of carbon dioxide and residual air in our lungs. Belly laughing forces the air out of lungs, until its empty, followed by a deep inhalation. Hence repeated laughing cleanses the body and energizes it with fresh oxygen.
  • Gives good sleep: One of the main factors responsible for sleep problems is stress and anxiety. Having a good laugh prior to sleep reduces stress and anxiety, promoting deep, restful sleep.
  • Offers several psychological health benefits: It boosts self-confidence and gives mental strength to cope with conflicts and challenges in life. It also helps us come out of anxiety and depression. It improves out mental health and makes us forget all the tensions in our daily busy lives.
  • Laughter is contagious: It not only lifts our spirits but also of others around us. Humorous person are always in demand. A single humorous person lifts the spirit of everyone around him/her. Blessed are those who have such friends.
  • Boosts your relationship: If you’re looking to find a new partner, then laughter will help you find a new mate. Men love women who laugh in their presence and women actually laugh 125% more than men. And if you’re already with someone, then a shared sense of humour is an important factor in keeping your relationship running smoothly.
  • Helps you lose weight: Burning off calories by laughing might not sound as if it has much use, but a hearty chuckle raises the heart rate and speeds up the metabolism.

Laughter is the perfect example of how the best things in life are free. Make it a great day!

Give Yourself The Gift Of A Great Butt

One of the most beautiful parts of Christmas is giving gifts to those special people in your life.  It’s so much fun finding that perfect gift for the ones you love and the joy you feel when they open it up and love it.  Imagine how much fun it would  be to give yourself a gift that would bring you incredible joy and satisfaction.  Why don’t you start to think about giving yourself the gift of a toned and trim body!  Instead of worrying about all the weight gain from the holidays, you can focus on the incredible gift you are going to reward yourself with of a great booty or tighter tummy:)

You can start today with this Christmas Booty Challenge.  It’s a simple way to work toward a realistic goal.  Come Christmas Day you will be so thankful you gave yourself such an amazing gift!

booty 2 booty

How To Work Around An Injury

Woman stretching

We workout hard and we like to challenge ourselves in the gym, but when those nagging aches and pains flare up they can inhibit our progress.  It’s frustrating and chances are pretty good that if you workout, you will get some type of injury.  Don’t let that be an excuse to get out of exercising because the consequences of inactivity are more severe.

If you are like me, you don’t want to miss a workout so here are some tips to help you train safely and effectively.

  1. Tighten up your form.  I get asked often for my advice on how to eliminate a pain that comes from an exercise.  Usually when I watch the person perform the exercise his form is off or he is performing the exercise too fast.

Rule of thumb:

  • Slow down your reps.
  • Concentrate on what you are doing.

        2.  Use lighter weights and do more reps.  I see people doing squats and bench press and only taking the weight down halfway because it’s too heavy.  You might as well call those reps “pulses” or partial reps.

I sometimes have to reel myself in when I want to go heavy but at the cost of good technique. Recently I’ve had to back off from going heavy on barbell squats and instead I have been doing light weight front squats.  The front squat forces me to keep my chest up and I get in good deep squats with the lighter weight.

We like to feel like King Kong, but sometimes we have to suppress the ego and go for a lighter weight.  This allows you to really attack the muscle by getting full range of motion and nailing the form.

        3.  Warm up and cool down with stretching.  Get on the bike, treadmill or, if you are anti-cardio, then perform warm up sets with light weights.

i.e. If it’s your day to work shoulders grab a light set of dumbbells and perform 10 lateral raises, 10 front raises, 10 overhead presses, and 10 rear flyes to warm up.

I know that stretching may not be at the top of your list, but take time to include it at the end of your workout.

  • The more limber you are the more you decrease your risk of tendon overload and injury.

     4. Get creative.  One of my clients got is hand smashed and is unable to grip. We worked together on creative solutions so that he wouldn’t have to miss his gym time. Using bands, weight plates and manipulating hand positions, we were able to come up with some good stuff he could do for his upper body while he recovers.

     5.  Pay attention to the pain. Taking a couple of days off can save you from having to take months off down the road.

6.  Nourish your body with good nutrition.  Check out this blog post for supplements that can aide in muscle recovering and reduce inflammation,   https://healthyjustice.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/supercharge-your-favorite-protein-shake-to-boost-metabolism-health/

Hope this helps!  Let me know if you have any questions.  You can follow me on facebook and instagram by visiting my website @ http://www.totalbodyandmind.net

Target The Lower Abs With This Move

It can be easy to get stuck in a rut doing the same ab exercises each week.  Training with the TRX straps is an excellent way to change up that stale  routine.  This exercise is basically a reverse curl except you are pressing into the handles with your hands.  This pressure brings a deeper contraction to the lower abs.

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To get the good burn from this crunch make sure you do it slow and controlled.  Draw your knees up for 2 counts, hold at the top for a second, then lower for 2 counts.  Perform 3 sets of 15 reps.