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Health Update:

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contracts the abs and even works out the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward. It even provides a good workout for the heart.

Health Benefits of Laughter Research has shown that the health benefits of laughter are far-ranging. While more studies need to be done, studies so far have shown that laughter can help relieve pain, bring greater happiness, and even increase immunity. The propensity for laughter and a sense of humor are a couple of the signature strengths one can possess. Some of the many benefits of laughter are: 1) It increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins, and neurotransmitters. Laughter also increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T cells, which means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress. 2) A good belly laugh exercises the diaphragm,

3) Laughter connects us with others. Just as with smiling and kindness, most people find that laughter is contagious; so if you bring more laughter into your life, you can most likely help others around you to laugh more, and realize these benefits as well. By elevating the mood of those around you, you can reduce their stress levels, and perhaps improve the quality of social interaction you experience with them, reducing your stress level even more. You can get more laughter in your life with the following strategies: 1) There is no shortage of opportunities from the entertainment world, both at the theater and in the aisles of your local video store, as well as at home with T. V. comedies. While wasting your time watching something marginally funny may actually frustrate you, watching truly hilarious movies and shows is an easy way to get laughter into your life whenever you need it.

Get A Pet - Studies have found that having a pet can help reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and improve heart health. One study showed that having a dog can help improve immune system development and may reduce the risks of allergies in children.

Reduce Your Stress - Some stress can be a good thing. It’s your body’s way of preparing for a challenge, such as giving a presentation. But a steady stream of stress can be bad for your health. Studies show it can even weaken your immune system - your body’s system for fight-

3) Last but not least........Fake It until You Make It. Just as studies show the positive effects of smiling occur whether the smile is faked or real, fake laughter also provides the benefits mentioned above. The body can’t distinguish between “fake” laughter that you just start doing on purpose, and “real” laughter that comes from true humor, the physical benefits are exactly the same, and the former usually leads to the latter anyway. So smile more and fake laughter; you’ll still achieve positive effects, and the fake merriment may lead to real smiles and laughter.

2) Instead of complaining about life’s frustrations and woes, try to laugh about them. If something is so frustrating or depressing it’s ridiculous, realize that you could look back on it and laugh. Think of how it will sound as a story you could tell your friends, and then see if you

ing disease and illness. Reduce your stress by avoiding whatever stressors you can. Take the time to relax and do things you enjoy.

How To Improve Your Immune System

can laugh about it now. With this attitude, you may also find yourself being more lighthearted and silly, giving yourself and those around you more to laugh about. Approach life in a more mirthful way and you’ll find you’re less stressed about negative events, and you’ll achieve the health benefits of laughter.

Build A Strong Social Network - We all know friends are important, but strong social ties can also have a big effect on your health. A recent study found that people with strong relationships were 50% more likely to survive than those with poor social ties. To broaden your social network, try volunteering, taking a class, or joining a group that interests you. And be sure to nurture the bonds you already have. Keep A Positive Attitude - Positive thoughts can give your immune system a healthy boost. To increase your optimism, take time to savor the things you enjoy, look for the silver lining in difficult situations, and try not to dwell on negative thoughts. Be grateful for what you have. Avoid Empty Calories - Processed foods such as fast foods, snack foods, candy, and soda don’t provide much in the way of vitamins, fiber, or other nutrients. Instead, choose nutrient-rich

foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Keep Your Body Moving - One simple way to strengthen your immune system is by exercising. Getting regular exercise can also reduce stress and help lower your risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. You get the most benefit when you exercise at a moderate level a few times a week. Kick The Nicotine Habit - Here’s another reason to give up smoking - it weakens your immune system. According to the U. S. Surgeon General, even low levels of exposure to tobacco can cause health problems, including heart attack, stroke, and asthma. Wash Your Hands - One of the easiest ways to help your immune system fight illness is to wash your hands regularly. Be sure to use soap and clean running water, and wash for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol. Get a Good Night’s Sleep - Without enough sleep, your immune system may not have the resources it needs to fight off illness. Most adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

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children spend a lot of time being inactive. For example, the average child spends approximately four hours each day watching television. As computers and video games become increasingly popular, the number of hours of inactivity may increase.

Childhood Obesity One in five children in the U. S. is overweight or obese and the number is continuing to grow. Children who are overweight are at a high risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes later in life. They are also more prone to develop stress, sadness, and low self-esteem. Children become overweight and obese for a variety of reasons. The most common causes are genetic factors, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of these factors. Today, many

Stay Healthy with Your Pet

Most pet owners don’t need reminding. Animals make people feel good. But we’re talking about more than feeling glad they’re around. Your favorite animal can make you healthy and help you stay that way. It only takes 15 to 30 minutes with a dog or cat or watching fish swim to feel less anxious and less stressed. Your body actually

If you have an overweight child, it is very important that you allow him or her to know that you will be supportive. Children’s feelings about themselves often are based on their parents’ feelings about them and if you accept your children at any weight, they will be more likely to feel good about themselves. It is also important to talk to your children about their weight, allowing them to share their concerns with you. It is not recommended that parents set children apart because of their weight. Instead, parents should focus on gradually changing their family’s physical activity and eating habits. By involving the entire family, everyone is taught healthy habits and the overweight child does not feel singled out. There are many ways to involve the entire family in healthy habits, but increasing the family’s physical activity is especially

goes through physical changes in that length of time making a difference in your mood. The level of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is lowered. And the production of serotonin, an important chemical associated with well-being, is increased. Reducing stress saves your body a lot of wear and tear. You still have to watch your weight and exercise. But having a pet can help you manage your blood pressure. In one study of 240 married couples, pet owners had lower blood pressure and lower heart rates during rest than people who did not own a pet. Another study showed that children with hypertension actually lowered their blood pressure while petting their dog. Therapists have been known to prescribe a pet as a way of dealing with and recovering from depression. No one loves you more unconditionally than your pet, a pet will listen to you talk for as long as you want to talk. Taking care of a pet, i.e. walking with it, grooming it, playing with it, takes you out of yourself and helps you feel better about the way you spend your time.

important. Some ways to accomplish this include: 1.

Lead by example - If your children see that you are physically active and having fun, they are more likely to be active and stay active for the rest of their lives.

2.

Plan family activities that provide everyone with exercise, such as walking, biking, or swimming. Be sensitive to your child’s needs. Overweight children may feel uncomfortable about participating in certain activities. It is important to help your child find physical activities that they enjoy and that aren’t embarrassing or too difficult.

3.

Make an effort to reduce the amount of time you and your family spend in sedentary activities, such as watching TV or playing video games.

Whatever approach parents choose to take regarding an overweight child, the purpose is not to make physical activity and following a healthy diet a chore, but to make the most of the opportunities you and your family have to be active and healthy.

Research has shown the long-term benefits of owning a cat include protection for your heart. Over the 20 years of one study, people who never owned a cat were 40% more likely to die of a heart attack than those who had. Another study showed that dog owners had a significantly better survival rate one year after a heart attack. Overall, pet owners have a lower risk of dying from any cardiac disease, including heart failure. People who own dogs tend to be more physically active and less obese than those who don’t. Taking your dog for a daily 30-minute walk will keep you moving and ensure that you meet the minimum recommendations for healthy physical activity. Two 15-minute walks, one in the morning and one in the evening, will do the same thing. And after that, just playing fetch in the back yard with your dog will earn you healthful dividends. If you don’t have a best friend waiting for you when you get home, you might want to think about rescuing a pet from your local shelter. Remember........by adopting a dog or a cat, you’ll have a friend for life!

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you should see your doctor.

Low Back PAIN Low back pain can affect a patient anywhere below the ribs and above the legs. The lower back is the connection between the upper and lower body. It bears most of the body’s weight and is easily injured when you lift, reach or twist. Almost everyone has low back pain at one time or another. The good news is that most low back pain will go away in a few weeks with some basic self-care. If your pain is severe or lasts more than a couple of weeks,

Is it a Cold or Allergies? Telling the differences between allergies and a cold is often a matter of understanding the symptoms of each. From a medical standpoint, allergies are a histamine response to things you are allergic to, like pollens, mold, or dust mites. Colds, on the other hand, are the body’s response to dealing with a virus. There may be similarities between the two, but the differences between allergies and a cold can help you understand how to best address these separate conditions. One of the early differences between allergies and a cold is onset of symptoms. Allergies generally occur quickly, with all symptoms, like runny nose, itchy eyes, and scratchy throat happening within a few hours of exposure to allergens. Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days. You might one day have a slightly congested nose and a slightly scratchy throat, but it may take several days before your symptoms progress to a fullblown cold. Nasal discharge can also signify one of the differences between allergies and a cold. Allergic nasal response tends to show discharge that is clear or white, and fairly thin. In the early days of a cold, nasal discharge is thicker, sometimes

Low back pain is often caused by overuse, strain, or injury. For instance, people often hurt their backs playing sports or working in the yard, being jolted in a car accident, or lifting something too heavy. Aging plays a part too. Your bones and muscles tend to lose strength as you age, which increases your risk of injury. In some people, low back pain is the result of arthritis, broken vertebrae (compression fractures) caused by bone loss (osteoporosis), or illness. Often doctors don’t really know what causes low back pain however, it is more likely to become long-lasting (chronic) if you are under stress or depressed. Most low back pain can get better if you stay active, avoid positions and activities that may increase or cause back pain, use ice, and take nonprescription pain relievers when you need them. When you no longer have acute pain, you may be ready for gentle strengthening exercises for your stomach, back, and legs, and perhaps for some stretching exercises. Exercise may not only help decrease low back pain, but it may also help you recover faster, prevent re-injury to your

back, and reduce the risk of disability from back pain. Exercises to reduce low back pain are not complicated and can be done at home without any special equipment. It is also important that you don’t let the fear of pain keep you from trying gentle activity. Too little activity can lead to loss of flexibility, strength, and endurance, and then to more pain. Exercises that may help reduce or prevent low back pain include: Aerobic exercise conditions your heart and other muscles, maintains health, and speeds recovery. Strengthening exercises, focusing on your back, stomach, and leg muscles. Stretching exercises keep your muscles and other supporting tissues flexible and less prone to injury. Before you commit to any type of regular exercise program, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor to make sure you are on the right path.

so thick it is difficult to clear the nose by blowing it. You should note with either allergies or colds continued nasal discharge that becomes thick brown, dark yellow or green might indicate a sinus infection. How long you continue to have symptoms also can help you determine the differences between allergies and a cold. Generally, a cold lasts for seven to fourteen days. Allergies, especially seasonal ones, can last for three weeks to several months. Colds can occur at any time of year, but allergies to pollen are likely to occur most often in spring and fall. Both allergies and colds can cause feelings of fatigue, headaches, sneezing, coughing and asthma. Yet one of the differences between allergies and a cold is that colds from certain viruses may cause slight fevers. Allergies, however, rarely cause fevers unless you have a sinus infection. You might also notice that you can determine the differences between allergies and a cold by the medications you take. If you take a decongestant, this will be hard to determine. But if you take an antihistamine, your allergy symptoms are likely to resolve quickly, and may not return until you are re-exposed to allergens. An antihistamine may provide minor relief to cold symptoms but it will not eliminate them.

Though similarities exist in these two annoying conditions, recognizing the differences between allergies and a cold can help in preventing allergies. If you know you are prone to seasonal allergies, many antihistamines can help you almost completely eliminate allergy symptoms. It’s much harder to prevent a cold, though good hand washing practices certainly help.


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specific thumb, finger and hand techniques. Stretch and movement techniques are utilized to provide relaxation to the foot. Oil, cream and lotion are not utilized in traditional reflexology work.

Reflexology Reflexology is a non-invasive therapy that has a documented history dating back 5000 years. It was known in ancient China and there are paintings on the wall of the tomb of Ankhamor (a physician to the Pharaoh) in Saqqara depicting its use around 2500 B. C. The term “Reflexology” is a relatively recent one as the therapy was re-discovered in the western world in the early 20th century. There are approximately 7200 nerve endings on the feet and these are believed to relate to various organs and glands within the body. Through reflexology a mirror image of the body has been mapped on the feet and it is thought that pressure applied on specific reflex

points on the feet may affect the corresponding part of the body. The body has its own powerful healing response; reflexology aims to stimulate this into normal functioning and once achieved, helps to maintain proper balance. It can speed up circulation and also induce a deep feeling of overall relaxation. Conditions many people have reported responding well to reflexology include: Stress • Insomnia • Migraine • Back Pain Arthritis • Circulatory disorders What techniques are used in reflexology? Pressure is applied to the feet and hands using

You, yourself, can most easily provide reflexology work frequently and consistently, using self applied techniques to break up the stress patterns in your feet and hands. Apply pressure simply using a foot roller or, for the hands, a golf ball. It is easy to do reflexology while doing other activities. Put a foot roller under your desk at work, use a golf ball on your hands while waiting for the kids at school or do either while watching television. Be creative in how and where you apply techniques but be consistent. Obviously, professional Reflexologists are available to you but always bear in mind that a Reflexologist cannot diagnosis or prescribe. Also remember reflexology is an adjunct to medical help not a replacement for it and always seek medical help if you have an urgent or acute problem.


Facial Exercises For a Firm Neck

side and hold for five seconds. Come back into the middle. Tilt your head to the left side and hold for five seconds, then come back into the middle. Repeat this on both sides for three sets. You should feel the stretch in your neck during this exercise.

can do to target the neck area and reduce sagging skin.

Some effective exercises to help tone the neck and throat and reduce sagging are: •

F

acial muscles lose elasticity over time and as a result you may begin to notice some wrinkles around the eyes and face. Another problem you may begin to notice is loose sagging skin around the neck and throat area as this area tends to show age faster than other areas of the face. Many people will resort to expensive and invasive surgeries to reduce the sagging skin around the neck. However, there are some great exercises you

The Joy of Meditation Meditation is a way of relaxation and a path to enlightenment. If we dissolve our attachment to the outside world and bring our minds to rest, well-being, positivity and enlightenment (inner happiness) will be our reward. All negativity vanishes; we think positively again and suddenly we can live in the light. We see the positive in the world in our fellow man, and in ourselves. We are in harmony with ourselves and our lives. The following will guide you on your meditation journey: 1.

Prepare - Sit in your meditation seat (cross-legged, heel seat, chair, etc.) and in your meditation posture, i.e. back erect, put your hands on your legs or on your lap. Have your eyes closed; breathe in and out; calm down and relax.

2.

Stop Thinking - Stop all thoughts for one to three minutes....rest and relax.

3.

Use Yoga as a Model - Put your hands together in your lap. Visualize yourself as a Buddha or Goddess. Move your toes a little and think the mantra: I go the way

Sit on the floor and have your legs folded comfortably and your back straight. Slowly tilt your head backwards and hold this position for 10 seconds. Return head to the forward position. You should feel the stretch in the jaw line as you do this exercise. Repeat for five sets. Stay in your sitting position, relax your shoulders and look straight ahead. Turn your head slowly to the right and have your chin even with your shoulder. Hold this position for five seconds and then return to looking straight ahead. Repeat on the left side so you are looking left and your chin is even with your left shoulder. Hold for five seconds and then return to the facing forward position, Repeat this exercise three times on both sides. While still in the sitting position, keep your head facing forward and your shoulders relaxed. Tilt your head to the right

For the next exercise you want to be on your hands and knees. Drop your head down toward the floor and keep your neck, spine and elbows straight. Slowly inhale. Exhale slowly and as you do so curve your back downward and lift your head upward. Repeat this five times.

Sit on the floor again facing forward. Tilt your head back slowly and move your jaw up and down. Hold this position for ten seconds then return to the forward facing position. Repeat this three times.

These simple exercises are very effective for toning and tightening the muscles in the neck and throat area. If you do these exercises every day you will build stronger muscles that will give you a more youthful appearance and you should see results in a couple of weeks.

are within you.

of peace; I live in peace. 4.

Visualize the cosmos around us, a universe full of stars - Make large circles with your arms and think: “I take things the way they are. I let go of my false desires. I live in the unity of the cosmos. I flow positive with my life.”

5.

Question - You can now ask a question. Think about your life. What are your goals? What is your way of a wise life? Meditate on your questions. Listen to the answer inside. What does your inner wisdom say? What answers your inner wisdom? You can feel the answer. Let the answer appear in you and think the answer several times as a mantra.

6.

Say the Mantra - Put your hands in your lap. Keep your back straight and your stomach relaxed. Bring your mind completely to rest. Think the mantra “Om” in your head, chest, abdomen, legs and feet. Think in the earth and in the entire cosmos: “Om Shanti, Om Peace.....”

7.

Again, stop thinking - Stop every thought for a minute. When thoughts come, always push them away. Relax completely, slacken your body. Peace and harmony

8.

Be positive - Go forth positively in your day knowing that the light is with you.

In conclusion, try to stay in a calm, relaxed mood while doing these exercises so the muscles are relaxed and more flexible for the exercises. Burning a candle or listening to relaxing music can help.


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High Fiber Diets and Their Benefits High fiber diets are diets that include foods which contain over five grams of fiber per serving. These foods are included in three major food groups: grains, fruits, and vegetables. In the grain group these foods include: whole grain breads and bread products, bran cereals, whole wheat pastas, barley, popcorn, brown rice, and corn. The fruit group includes: blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, oranges, unpeeled apples, pears, and dried fruits such as dates, prunes, raisins, and apricots. Vegetables include: dried beans and peas, nuts and seeds, broccoli, Swiss chard, green peas, and spinach. Fiber is basically undigested carbohydrates. The way this occurs is that the enzymes in our bodies do not break them down and absorb them into our bloodstream. They are instead used for this energy and excreted from the body. The ways in which this benefits our bodies are that it lowers cholesterol and prevents constipation. Instead of spending a small fortune on colon cleansing products to prevent digestive interruptions and diseases, begin a high fiber diet. The cost of these foods is far less than that of the new colon and probiotic products appearing every day on the shelves of pharmacies everywhere. A high fiber diet will prevent intestinal disorders and diseases. These disorders and diseases include Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticular disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. These conditions will cause ulcers, inflammation, scarring, and bleeding. If you have been diagnosed with any of these conditions, your doctor may have suggested this form of diet already. Although it may seem overwhelming at first, this diet is the first step to controlling these conditions. It will often relieve the most common symptoms of these conditions. Such symptoms include: abdominal distention, abdominal pain, fever, fatigue, diarrhea, severe constipation, and cramping.

Acai Berry Diet and Benefits The Acai Berry Diet began with the importation of Acai berries, which are indigenous to the swampy regions of the South American rainforests. With the sudden craze over this highly effective diet, these berries became known as the #1 superfood in the world. The pigment of these berries contains the most beneficial elements of this diet plan. Within the pigment is Anthocyanin; an antioxidant that aids in lowering bad cholesterol, increases good cholesterol, reduces the signs of aging, and reduces inflammation causing enzymes. The following is a list of the most well-known benefits of the Acai Berry Diet. •

• • • • • • • • •

Acai berries speed up the cell division process and reduce wrinkles. The reason for this is that they contain over 10 times the amount of antioxidants that most fruits, such as, blueberries and grapes. This diet plan has proven to provide effective weight loss in previously unsuccessful dieters. They contain 19 different types of amino acids and eight grams of protein per 100 gram serving. These berries are known to boost the body’s immune system Anthocyanins found in these berries lower the risk of several cardio vascular diseases. This diet begins with a detox and cleanse of harmful toxins found in the body. The berries increase energy levels. They are known to increase vision. Other disease that this diet fights include: Diabetes, Cancer, and Heart Disease. The Acai berry powder found in the dietary supplements contain 14 grams of daily fiber.

For valuable coupons visit: mytownsbest.com • ©2012 Health and longevity • 1-888-816-2295


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Best Vitamins for Seniors Seniors are at a higher risk of acquiring nutritional and vitamin deficiencies. For this reason it is best to understand which vitamins and minerals are essential for seniors to maintain their health. The following is a list of these vitamins and minerals and why they are so important for seniors. Vitamins: Vitamin B6 is necessary to regulate proper mental functions and to enhance mood. Vitamin D is known to lower the risk of bone fractures and preserve

bone density. This is essential especially, if there is a family history of osteoporosis. Vitamin C will not only boost the immune system, but it will also lower blood pressure. It is

also known for preventing artery spasms that cause heart attack. Vitamin E lowers the risk of heart attack. Folic Acid taken daily lowers the risk of colon cancer.

Minerals and Supplements:

Calcium lowers cholesterol. It has also been associated with reducing the risk of both kidney stones and colon cancer. Zinc aids in preservation of vision. It boosts your immunity

and aids in repairing wounds. Magnesium lowers your blood pressure and aids in improving the vision of glaucoma sufferers. DMAE or Dimethylethanolamine is known for relieving trembling symptoms and is now used in connection with the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Gotu Kola boosts mental activity. It aids in the treatment of high blood pressure, nervous system disorders, and fever.

Healthy Facts • Women have a better sense of smell than men. • The human brain has the capacity to store everything that you experience. • When you take a step, you are using up to 200 muscles. • Your ears secrete more earwax when you are afraid than when you aren’t. • The adult human brain weighs about 3 pounds. • Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. • Our right lung takes in more air than our left lung. • Stress can result in more headaches as a result of the body rerouting blood flow to other parts of the body.

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The Benefits of Swimming Swimming is the ultimate exercise option. Not only is swimming a fun summer activity, it also works several muscle groups that are hard to reach with other exercise routines. Benefits: • Swimming creates overall strength and boosts endurance. • It is essential in rehabilitation of sports-related injuries. It benefits knee injuries the most.

• Swimming burns three calories a mile per pound. On average, you burn 900 calories, if you swim one mile. • Swimming is great for your posture and enables you to become more flexible. • Swimming longer lowers your respiratory rate and allows your heart and lungs to work more efficiently. • It tones both your upper and lower body, as you use nearly all muscle groups at once. Breaststroke, backstroke, and freestyle swimming are the best options to achieve whole body conditioning. • This exercise does not place stress on your

joints or bones. It does not present a high risk of injury like other exercise programs. • Swimming is considered a low impact exercise. It strengthens the abdominal muscles and shoulders. • Swimming improves blood pressure. It also lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. • Swimming has relaxation properties and is known to relieve stress. • Swimming is great for treating arthritis. • It provides an aerobic workout, when the swimmer is submerged from the neck down in water.

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