Laughter Really Is The Best Medicine!

You’ve heard laughter is the best medicine right? Well, the science is in and it’s proven to be true!smiley-163510__180

Do you, or does anyone you know, suffer from any of the following?

  • Health concerns such as high blood pressure, heart disease or hypertension?
  • Do you feel blue and want to feel pink (ie happy and positive)?
  • Do you know you need to exercise but the idea of going to the gym is just not for you?
  • Does your brain feel foggy and you wish you could think more clearly? Is this impacting your performance at work, or even at home?
  • Do you shove your feelings down and not let them out for fear of… well, just for fear?
  • Do you feel social isolated but hate the idea of ‘joining’ groups?
  • Do you travel for work and find it hard to connect with anyone outside the office?
  • Do you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks?

Then you may need a regular dose of laughter. Laughter can do amazing things for you, including:

  • Helping you stay RESILIENT in the face of life’s challenges
  • Improving your MIND POWER performance through increased oxygen flow to your brain
  • Gives you HEALTH BENEFITS including strengthening your immune system so you can ward against illness, reduces high blood pressure, helps with anxiety, and even can aid those suffering from depression
  • Helping you to MANAGE STRESS, the number one killer in the western world, and
  • Enhancing your mood by releasing ENDORPHINS 
What would you rather be - yellow, or blue?
What would you rather be – yellow, or blue?

Doesn’t that sound fabulous!!!

So how does this work? You attend a Laughter Yoga class!

Laughter Yoga is about fun, not about turning yourself into a pretzel, or telling bad jokes.

You see, our brains don’t know the difference between something that is real and something we imagine.

That means that even when laughter is forced, your body and mind still get the benefits as if you were laughing for real. Think about that. You can do a fake laugh and still get the benefits.

Here are some other great things about Laughter Yoga:

Who can do Laughter Yoga? Everyone. Well, sick, stressed. Old, young, in the middle. Age doesn’t matter.

Where do people do Laughter Yoga? Laughter Yoga is run in hospitals, aged care facilities and schools. At work in big, medium and small businesses, non-profit groups, community groups, private clubs, senior citizens clubs, men’s sheds. And one-on-one in peoples homes, and by Skype, Zoom or other geographically-overcoming technology.

Why do people do Laughter Yoga? Because of the benefits that I’ve listed above, and more. It can aid connection for those who are socially isolated, it can help people deal with pain better. It’s terrific exercise as it gets your heart rate up. Science has proven that Laughter Yoga can have a positive affect on many health issues, increase innovation and creative thinking, and just adds more laughter to life!

What if I have mobility issues and can’t get on the floor. No problem! The ‘Yoga’ part of Laughter Yoga is the breathing – there is no need to get on the floor in a pretzel shape! In fact, Laughter Yoga can even be practiced sitting down! So if you are mobility challenged, even to the point of being in a wheelchair – you can still participate in Laughter Yoga.

The great news is that:

I am now a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader and am available to run a Laughter Yoga class for YOU!
(this photo is me being presented with my certificate August 2016)

LY cert present(I have been trained by  in the method devleoped by Dr Kataria –
the medical doctor who developed the practice.)

I can take you through a LAUGHTER YOGA class in a big group, a small group, a two-on-one or a one-on-one. We can do this face-to-face (depending on location) or online via Skype, Zoom or other technology.

Laughter Yoga has been around as a practice since 1991 and is now practised by tens of thousands of people in over 100 countries around the world. Isn’t it time you treated yourself to a big laugh?

How Laughter Can Add To The Business Bottom Line (Part 1)

laughing woman-1138446__180What are the key employee concerns you have for your business?  Stress management? Absenteeism? Burnout? Long hours? Stagnant performance? Conflict? Stuck thinking?

The list goes on and on, doesn’t it?

So what can you, as an executive or business owner, do about helping your employees improve their performance, manage their stress, not take so many days off, think more clearly, work better as a team, improve their communication skills, reduce conflict, increase their motivation and more?

Have you ever considered introducing more laughter into your business?

Not laughter as in telling bad jokes or watching questionable slap stick comedies. But laughing simply for its own sake.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that indicates laughing, as a physical exercise rather than a cognitive one, is extremely beneficial to our health.

This type of laughter is called Laughter Yoga. The ‘yoga’ part of Laughter Yoga is the deep breathing that is a fundamental part of the exercise. There is no requirement for gym gear or weights, yoga mats or leotards!

What is Laughter Yoga?

Laughter Yoga is an aerobic exercise. It comprises a series of short laughing exercises mixed with role play and playfulness, interspersed with grounding exercises, clapping, stretching and deep breathing.laughing ladies-495749__180

Science has proven that 20 minutes of sustained laughter can bring significant physiological benefits.  Laughter Yoga is the only technique the engages the aerobic nature of laughing with the deep breathing of yoga, stretching, chanting and clapping to bring a holistic mental and physical workout.

Studies have shown that our bodies can’t tell the difference between laughter that is genuine and laughter that is faked. That means that just by faking laughter your body is getting the benefits of aerobic exercise.  Laughter Yoga is the only technique that gives adults the opportunity to have sustained hearty laughter for a period of time without the mind having to be engaged. There is no judgment, just laughter for its own sake.

The only equipment/space requirements for Laughter Yoga is a space where people can stand and move in comfort, some chairs, and room for participants to keep a water bottle handy.

So I’m sure you want to know more about the areas where can Laughter Yoga help a business, and how. Well, wait no longer. I’ll be sharing six articles about the benefits of Laughter Yoga for your business.

The first one is a modern day scourge – Stress.

Laughter Yoga and Stress Managementwoman stress-1006100__180

There are many types of stress – physical, mental and emotional.

In the modern business, hours can be long, conflict can be high, pressures can be great. Competition can be robust and exhilarating, but can also have a bad effect on morale. A high performing manager with a squillion dollar portfolio to invest,  1000 team members to manage, a medical facility with patients as well as staff to administer or a school to run can feel just as stressed as an employee who feels under-appreciated, underpaid, bullied, or guilty because of time not spent at home.

Laughter Yoga uses physical expression and playfulness to help release pent up emotion. Most people in the business world spend a lot of energy maintaining a persona – Laughter Yoga creates a safe environment for that mask to be relaxed.

laughing man-1232063__180Intense laughter has been shown to release endorphins which simply make people feel good. It also provides an environment for people to express themselves without fear, helping increase communication skills. Potential conflict can be avoided, as it is often built up stress that makes people lash out.

The role playing component allows participants’ focus to be on the activity, rather than thinking about work which gives their brains a chance to refresh. It also allows the person to enjoy the sort of creativity they engaged in as children. Childlike, not childish, is the type of play that Laughter Yoga encourages.

Laughter yoga can even help with the stress of aches and pains. Laughter Yoga helps the body release endorphins, often called the ‘feel good’ hormone, but endorphins are also the body’s natural pain relief.

By laughing, participants can release out pent up emotion. Think about the last time you really had a good laugh – it’s a very cathartic experience.  Oh you can’t? hmmmm, then you are SO overdue for a Laughter Yoga session!

Up next

In my next article I’ll talk about the business benefits that can be achieved using Laughter Yoga for Increased Mental Acuity, including creative an innovative thinking.

Laughter Yoga can be run in pretty much anywhere in a business.

Laughter Yoga is all about being healthy and safe, so it can even be run one-on-one for those busy executives who just need to let their hair down in a safe place.

If you’d like to find out more about the Laughter Yoga sessions I run for business, just drop me a line at meredith@meredithyardley.com.

 

Ha Ha, Ho Ho Ho!

cheers Meredith

cropped-201507-me-in-green-copy-200-pixel.jpg

 

 

Premature Death Statistic – Are You At Risk?

Another week – how’s yours been?

Last week I posted an entertaining piece about how life has changed over the last hundred years. Things we enjoy now could never even have been dreamed of in the early part of the 20th century.

What I didn’t inlcude was the top five leading causes of death. And I left it out because I wanted to do some research. Well I did, and here it is: Five leading causes of death in 1915 vs 2015

I created this graph to show how our health has changed over a 100 years.

What we see now is really a domination of lifestyle diseases on mortality rates (the 2015 statistics came from the National Health Scheme in the UK and the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Australia.)

Dementia aside (so much is unknown about this condition), our leading causes of illnesses are basically how we treat ourselves. No-one else is doing this to us – but us!

I think that is astounding information. Even more shocking, is that suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 and 44.

What can be done about it? The answers are easy to find – but perhaps not so simple to implement.

Here are the top 5 things I do to make sure I don’t end up on this list:

Food – I eat whole foods – farm fresh as often as I can source fruits & vegiesthem. Small amounts of protein (about the size of my palm) and large amounts of plant foods. Lots of nuts and seeds.And I have treats, good quality dark chocolate, and home made things like my paleo mini-muffins are a great way to have something sweet without eating foods laden with highly refined sugars and chemicals. I also make sure I take  good quality pro- and pre-biotics so my gut health is supported.

 

 

SuppNutrisearch independent Comparative Guidelementation – I take a quality nutritional supplement – because no matter how good the quality of my food is, the quality of our soil and modern farming practices have reduced the minerals that are now in our food (more detailed information on this is in my upcoming book – I will certainly let you know when it’s coming out!)

This book on the left here (The Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements) is an independent study of the supplements on the market (there is one for North America, and one for Australia/ New Zealand.) It’s what I used to make my choice for pharmaceutical grade, athlete quality supplements.

 

Exercise – I exercise every day so I’m building muscle, strong bones and flexibility. This will help me as I age because I won’t be at the mercy of falling over, breaking bones and ending up sitting in a chair all day (or worse.) I’ve been sharing my progress on this blog so feel free to go into the Archives and check out what I’ve been doing.

As you probably know if you’ve been reading my blog, I have an exercise physiologist who I see every eight weeks or so, and she reviews my routine and makes adjustments. This last visit saw my weights training move up a significant notch – which I find really exciting and challenging! I’ve found having a ‘coach’ really helps keep me on track.

 

Active mind and social connection – I keep my mind active with reading, researching (for my book as well as for my own benefits), crossword puzzles and word games, sudokus. I keep socially connected through memberships so I get to hang out with interesting people, some who may not have the same ideas as me, which challenges my thinking.
newspaper crossword

 

 

Reflection and gratitude – I meditate regularly and keep a gratitude journal. woman meditating
Reflection helps me focus on quiet and silence, and helps me have a place where I can do some dedicated, mindful breathing. This helps my nervous system stay in the calm place, not the being-chased-by-a-tiger place where I lived in my corporate career.

Gratitude because, well, there is so much to be thankful for: my loving husband, the beautiful place where I live, my ability to travel, good friends – the list goes on. I believe it’s really important to acknowledge how thankful I am for the life I live.

 

What are you doing so you don’t become a victim of your lifestyle? I’d love you to share your suggestions and ideas – that way we can all learn from each other!

If you want to see something truly extraordinary, check out my EnrichYourEnergy Facebook page for the post I did on Thursday 24 March about Ernestine Shepherd, the oldest female body builder in the world. Then try to give yourself an excuse for not caring about yourself!!

Until next week,201507 me in green copy 200 pixel

Cheers, Meredith

A Walk In The Woods By Bill Bryson – A Book Review

One of the things I find most enjoyable over the Christmas break, is the time to sit back and read. Just for fun. For the pure, unadulterated pleasure of it. Just to feel a book in my hands, a soft pillow behind my head, and not care what the time is, or how much of it has passed – until my tummy rumbles or I feel it’s time for a cup of tea.

When you run a business, you find most of your reading is, in some way, chosen to support improving your business. It could be new studies released, new business concepts, new psychologies, new processes, new ideas. But all of your reading is focused on providing a better service to your clients.

But in Australia (where I live) Christmas, New Year (and my birthday!) are all in summer. Lazy, hot, kick back your shoes and chillax summer. Sleep in, swim, entertain, catch up with family and friends – it’s a wonderful time of year.

And, as I said, the chance to read – just for fun.

So I51avHY1QAfL._AA160_ read one book this Christmas break – and it was A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson.

It charts his walk, with his friend Stephen Katz, along the Appalachian Trail (AT) on the east coast of the United States.

It’s usual Bryson, laugh-out-loud funny, witty, observant, honest, packed with facts and figures in a way that makes them enjoyable to read. And with Bryson, I learn stuff, really interesting stuff, about another country.

I had no idea that AT was such a monumental undertaking. Traversing 2,150 miles (the exact length keeps changing  because the AT route keeps changing), across seven states, is a serious undertaking. And not everyone achieves it.

First there are the weather conditions to deal with, snow, sun, rain, stinking hot, freezing cold. There is the trail itself, which is often difficult, in one place they have to swim to reach the rest of the trail! Then you have the dangers, natural such as bears, cougars, rattle snakes and other nasties big and small. And then, sadly, there are dangers of the human kind.

It’s also not a cheap, as good quality hiking equipment is expensive.

And a choice of travelling companion could make or break your trip – or at the very least, the enjoyment of it. (That reminds me of my first trip to Europe with a poorly chosen companion – but more of that another time. Let’s just say it has given me stories to dine out on for two decades!)

And when talking to my husband Henri about it,  it occurred to me that what Bryson was doing – taking time out to walk the AT (and I won’t tell you what happens because that would just spoil it for when you read it!) mirrored what I was doing. Taking time out – in my case, reading about his taking time out.

And I think I’ll write about that for my first post in February – because taking time out and recharging your batteries is absolutely vital to living a healthy life.

Until next week!

cheer Meredith

PS. I’m so pleased I bought Bill Bryson’s latest book, The Road to Little Dribbling, for my husband Henri for Christmas. I might even let him read it first!

Me in August 2015

How One Word Can Change Your New Year

As you might have gathered, I’m fascinated about how you can be successful in achieving your goals. 

I’ve just come across this article that looks at goal setting from a different perspective. I hope you enjoy it, please let me know if you follow the recommendations, and how it works for you. 

 

Experts say narrowing down your goals to one word, rather than making the same old resolutions, may point you in the right direction.

Odds are that you will fail.

According to a study by the University of Scranton, about 92% of us will fail at losing weight, saving money, getting organized, or anything else we resolve to do. But that won’t stop us. More than half of us keep trying year after year even if we don’t follow through.

Broken resolutions are what prompted Mike Ashcraft, pastor of Port City Community Church in Wilmington, North Carolina, to take a different tactic. Instead of making—and breaking—another promise to himself, he decided to pick one word and stick with it for a year. He chose “flow,” and used it as a lens though which he’d approach personal change.

“It felt doable, memorable, and sticky,” he says. “Choosing one word solved the attention problem I had with resolutions, and helped me become laser focused. The results were greater than I expected.”

Ashcraft took the concept to his congregation the following year, and the results were surprising. “I’d be in the grocery line or in traffic at a red light, and people would stop me to tell me what their word was,” he says. “They were excited about it, and I was amazed how quickly it stuck.”

The idea spread like wildfire, and Ashcraft shared the concept in My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word (Zondervan; 2012).

Coauthor Rachel Olsen believes the concept has been well received because resolutions are usually behavior based: “You’re going to go to the gym, stop yelling at your kids, sell X amount of units,” she says. “As soon as you fail, you’ve broken the resolution. A word can’t be broken. It serves as a reminder; a filter. It’s who you want to be instead of what you regret.”

The My One Word process involves three steps:

  1. Think about who you want to be:Instead of dwelling on your bad habits, ask yourself what kind of person you want to become. Olsen says the process shifts your mindset from regret to vision.
  2. Make a list of characteristics you desire: Once you have a picture of that person, identify their major characteristics and write them down using single words. Then take that list and look up each word’s definition.
  3. Pick one word: Using your list, pick the word that resonates with you most. Some of the most popular choices include trust, patience, love, discipline and focus. Ashcroft says it’s important to choose just one, and resist the temptation to do them all.

“A lot of people have paralysis, and worry that they’ll pick the wrong word,” he says. “It’s not a matter of right or wrong. There’s simplicity and beauty behind this. Often, one word can incorporate others in the way you frame things.”

Olsen likes to remind people that they can choose another word next year. “Make your choice and settle in,” she says. “One word reduces pressure to improve in a gazillion areas, optimizing everything. It’s a filter to make decisions. When you return to your word, you return to your focus.”

Sharing your word can put more power behind it, says Ashcraft, who suggests sending out a tweet, adding it to your email signature or posting it to the My One Word website.

“Talking about your resolutions can be an awkward conversation,” he says. “When you choose a word and share why you picked it, it becomes a matter of the heart. It’s about hope, and that feels different than sharing your struggles. Sharing also creates accountability.”

Adopt One Word At Work

The one-word technique isn’t just for people; companies have adopted the process, too. Popular choices include “integrity” and “character,” says Olsen. One company chose the word “honor” and displayed it in the office.

While the process has had profound results for its users, Ashcraft says there’s nothing magical about it. “When you do something long enough, it becomes part of who you are,” he adds. “It can be hard, but that’s part of process. Keep your word in front of you; it will make a difference.”

Thanks to Stephanie Vozza and Fast Company (fastcompany.com) for this article.

Happy New Year Everyone!

cheers Meredith

Me in August 2015

Some Of The Best Exercises You Can Do To stay Strong And Fit When You Are 45+

Regular exercise is a non-negotiable as we age. If you’re retired, it’s your new job. If you’re still working, it’s your second job! If you don’t want to end up old and frail, then read on….

Five years ago I was strong and fit, a regular gym goer, had a personal trainer once a week and was very careful with my diet.

Then I got lazy. Well, not really lazy, but I married my beloved husband and didn’t take care of myself as well as I had because we were just having too much fun travelling the world and enjoying life together.

And now, five years later, with not doing regular exercise (I was doing some, but I hadn’t made it a daily part of my life) I can really notice the difference between my body then, and my body now.

So I decided that I really needed to change things so I didn’t grow old and frail. I’m at the gym 5-6 times a week. I’ve changed my diet. I am educating myself about aging healthily. And it’s working – my weight is coming off, I sleep well, my skin is glowing. I look healthier than I did when I turned 50!

Me turning 50 in Dec 2012
Me turning 50 in Dec 2012
Me in August 2015
Me in August 2015

This is what I’ve found through my research.

Exercise at least five days a week. No ifs, no buts, no maybes. Just do it at a time that will suit your daily schedule. It’s good if you can do it first thing in the day, as you use stored energy (read fat) instead of what you’ve put in your body, but if you can’t do it until later in the day don’t use that as an excuse not to do it at all!

You don’t have to join a gym like I did, there are lots of exercises you can do that can be done in the privacy and comfort of your home.

Regular exercise has no end of benefits, and I’ve listed these benefits below with some suggested exercises. But the end result really is that you might live to 90, whether you like it or not, so if you do, don’t you want to be able to get around like you do now, meeting with friends, going to events, having a rich and full social life. These are some great exercises for the 45+ who wants to grow older, not frailer.

 

Walking. You don’t need any fancy stuff to walk. It is simple exercise, yet very powerful, so don’t underestimate it.  Walking can help you stay trim, improve cholesterol levels, strengthen bones, keep blood pressure in check, lift your mood and lower your risk for a number of diseases (diabetes and heart disease for example).There are studies that show walking can even improve memory. Make sure you get fitted for a proper pair of walking shoes, as it’s important for your body to be well supported. If you struggle with walking because of bad knees, or too much weight, just start gently, try 10 minutes around the block and gradually increase the time and speed. There are many books and audios around that can help you plan your walking for health.
Benefits of walking include:
– heart health – walking is good for your cardiovascular system
– wards off the lifestyle diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes
– helps keep your weight in check, important for lifestyle diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, stroke
– it can help prevent dementia by warding off brain shrinkage and memory loss
– because it’s a weight bearing activity, it can help ward off osteoporosis
– keeps you toned
– helps raise energy levels
– improves your mood just by being outside in the weather
– can help guard against depression. Even better, walk barefoot on grass, sand, anywhere organic. Known as ‘earthing’, it’s a valuable way to be grounded.

Swimming. It is a brilliant workout. There is no pressure on any of your joints as you are protected by the buoyancy of the water, and so is perfect for people suffering joint pain. Dr I-Min Lee, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School says swimming is good for individuals with arthritis because it’s less weight bearing.And if you don’t fancy slogging it up and down the pool, do aquarobics, which will help you tone, use energy (burn calories) and give you social connections as well.If you don’t know how to swim, haven’t done it for years, or are unsure about whether you have the right stroke, you can attend an adult swim class. These have become more popular over the last few years as people understand more and more the benefits of swimming. You don’t have to be Susie Maroney (Australian marathon swimmer), swimming can be done at any age to any level.Benefits of swimming include:
– improved endurance
– breath/lung management
– improved oxygen levels in your system
– building heart strength – meaning the amount of blood pumped with each heart beat – and general cardiovascular fitness
– helping to build muscle mass (see strength building below for why this is important)
– is a social activity – you can swim with friends, or join a swimming group which helps with creating and maintaining social connections (very important, as we age, we lose friends and family. Maintaining social connections is vital to staying young at heart.)
– burning kilojoules (calories)
– can be continued for a lifetime – there is no age in which you need to stop swimming
– providing an all over body workout
– it is a relaxing form of exercise
– helping to alleviate stress
– helping to improve co-ordination and balance
– helping to improve flexibility – very important as we age because we tend to get stiffer

Strength building. As we age, our muscles lose their strength. In fact, it starts about age 30, by 70 years old you’ve lost about 25% of your muscle and by age 90, another 25%. Lack of use plays a huge role in muscle loss – it’s called sarcopenia. Look at any frail older person and you’ll see that they move awkwardly, sometimes relying on canes and walkers to stay mobile. Some need chairs and beds that lift them so they get a headstart on standing up.”The old adage if you don’t use it, you lose it is quite apt. If you don’t keep your muscle tone you won’t be able to walk and get about and enjoy life. In extreme circumstances, you could be stuck in a wheelchair. No-one wants that”, says Patrick Wilson, Managing Director of Active and Ageless PT (Brisbane, Australia. For more information about strength building from Patrick, email him at active.and.ageless01@gmail.com.)You don’t need to be Mr or Ms Universe, just keep using all your muscle groups to maintain muscle and keep your strength.Strong muscle is also helpful for weight management, because the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.
It would be best to do two things before you start a strength building routine:
1. check with your doctor (particularly if you or your family has a history of heart disease or stroke),
2. engage a personal trainer or exercise physiologist to make sure you are doing the right exercises for your body. If you are attending a gym, they can help you understand how to use the equipment properly. If you don’t want to go to a gym, don’t worry, many personal trainers have a range of equipment that you can use outside the gym. Being a gym member isn’t essential. Maintaining muscle strength is.

Tai Chi. Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that is based on both movement and relaxation, so it’s good for your mind, and your body. It’s often referred to as a moving meditation. But really, anything that focuses your mind in the moment can be called that, including swimming.
Tai chi is contains a series of movements, with one transitioning smoothly into the next. There are many different levels of Tai Chi, from beginners to advanced, which makes it accessible to everyone. Even if you are hampered by arthritis, are stuck in a wheelchair or recovering from surgery, you can do Tai Chi, so there’s no excuse not to give it a go. Dr Lee says Tai Chi is particularly good for older people because balance is an important component of fitness, and balance is something we lose as we get older. Tai Chi is often run at community centers, senior citizens centres, or community colleges.
Benefits of tai chi include:
– improves muscle strength
– improves flexibility
– improves balance. When we are young, we don’t think about our balance, but to avoid breaking hips, or worse, we need to keep working on our balance to make sure we don’t fall and injure ourselves.
– can assist with sleeping.

Yoga. You would have to have been living in a cave not to have heard about yoga. But did you know there are at least 14 types of yoga, so there is bound to be one that suits you. And there’s no need to worry about there being a spiritual element – yoga is really just stretching.

 Why is yoga good for you? Frankly, there are so many reasons, so include the reasons listed above for all the other types of exercise and then add these for yoga to give you a idea of the breadth of the benefits:
– helps improve posture, important for skeletal strength, breathing and heart health
– help keep joint and cartilage strong
– promotes spine health by keeping vertebrae and disks flexible
– strengthens bones through weight bearing exercise
– increases circulation, particularly to extremities
– drains lymph glands which helps your immune system fight infection
– regulates adrenal glands which can help support your immune system
– lowers blood sugar – which helps, amongst other things, to keep type 2 diabetes away
– improves co-ordination, reaction time and memory through mindful practice and focus on postures
– helps fight against IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), constipation, ulcers etc.. through stress management
– can help ease pain
“The power of yoga is that it can create the flexibility, strength, balance and that mind/body connection that is so vital for health, longevity, glowing skin, healthy joints, a clear mind and lean body. It’s known also as ‘ mindful movement’  as opposed to ‘mindless movement’ because it makes it possible for our brain to make a deeper connection to what’s going on with the body.  In my opinion, along with walking, yoga is an all round beneficial exercise for any age,”  says Anne Noonan, Yoga, Food, Nutrition and Meditation Coach. For more information, or to contact Anne, www.annenoonan.com.au or www.thesisterhoodconnexion.ntpages.com.au.

WRAP UP

Of course there are many other exercises you can incorporate into your life. Keeping moving is the important thing. You might like ballroom dancing, zumba, bike riding , gardening, kayaking, rock climbing, bushwalking or tennis. It doesn’t matter what it is that keeps you moving – just keep moving!

It doesn’t matter if you’re new to exercise, have done it in the past and have slowed down, are recovering from surgery, have weight management issues. Just Start!  At least 30 minutes a day, five days a week minimum, and you can consider yourself an active person, know that you are warding off disease, keeping yourself young, and being your own best friend.

Hugs!

How many hugs have you shared today? Did you know that hugs can boost oxytocin levels which can diffuse our feelings of loneliness, isolation and anger.

Hugs can lift our serotonin levels, creating an elevated mood.

Hugs can strengthen our immune system, by stimulating the thymus gland – that’s the one that regulates and balances our body’s production of white blood cells. We need white blood cells to help keep us healthy.

Hugs help our muscles to relax, releasing tension in our body. They can take away pain and soothe aches by increasing blood flow around our body.

Hugs help us balance our nervous system by helping balance our parasympathetic nervous system.

To get these benefits, the optimum time for a hug is 20 seconds.

Just 20 seconds!

So do yourself, and someone you care about, a big favour – share a hug today!