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Tag: jazzercise

3 Ways to Improve Your Mood Naturally

Depression affects a huge number of people in our country and prescriptions of anti-depressants are so common that I’ll bet you can name at least two people off the top of your head who take something to feel happier. That’s to say nothing of all the people you know who haven’t told you that they are taking a drug for anxiety, depression, or unhappiness.

Heck, antidepressants are so common that you’ll find traces of them in most municipal water supplies.

But there are more natural ways to lighten your outlook on life and help you find a happier disposition. Here are a few to try:

1. Dance! I love starting off my day with a Jazzercise class and it never fails to put a smile on my face even when I’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed. I have a friend who simply cranks the disco music at her house and dances in her own living room to put the spring into her step as she enters her sixth decade. Check out some of the great free dance class offerings on YouTube for a fun time. Here’s a reggae dancehall workout with Keaira LaShea that will put a smile on your face.

It’s hard to nurture hurts or grudges as you become engulfed in music and movement. Not only does dancing offer cardiovascular benefits, it works your muscles and your brain as well, which can keep those synapses flowing as we age.comedy 103.1 radio station

2. Laugh! I’ve become addicted to the new 24/7 comedy channel on the radio: 103.1 Comedy. They play a continuous stream of stand-up comedians ranging from classic Bill Cosby on raising kids and Eddie Murphy’s hysterical “I’ve got some ice cream,” to current comics like Kevin Nealon, Dana Carvey, and Jeanine Garrafalo. I’ve laughed so hard in the car on my way to pick up my kid’s carpool that I’ve arrived with smeared mascara from the tears. I don’t mind when I’m stuck in traffic because I’m so entertained by what I’m hearing.

Laughter releases endorphins like exercise does, and endorphins give you a natural high while putting a smile on your face. They have mobile apps, and are online, too. Give it a listen and see for yourself if you don’t arrive at your destination a little happier from having laughed all the way over.

3. Go on an Anti-Inflammatory Diet! What? This doesn’t sound exciting or mood-lifting? Here the fact: depression and inflammatory conditions like MS, heart disease, diabetes, etc., go hand-in-hand. When there is inflammation in the body, it’s not limited to wherever you notice the symptoms (joints, bowels, skin, etc.). Many inflammatory actions are systemic, meaning they extend throughout our body’s systems, and include the brain. When the brain swells, brain function is disrupted and higher thoughts processes like reason and logic are affected. The stronger, more primal and emotional brain functions – fight and flight, lust, anger, hunger, etc. – can supercede rational thought in an inflamed brain.

Many of my clients report a lifting of “brain fog”, a return of a sense of humor, and a sunnier outlook as the inflammation in their brain recedes on a customized anti-inflammatory diet. It’s much easier to be happy when you feel better and your brain is not inflamed!

Physical Activity a Key to Later Health

Those who are physically active in their 50s and 60s are more likely to avoid chronic diseases and premature death, according to a study out of the Harvard School of Public Health.

The Nurses Health Study
The Nurses Health Study

Analyzing data from 13,535 female participants in the Nurses’ Health Study, researchers correlated reports of physical activity at the average age of 60 years with successful survival into the 70s. Successful survival was defined as “no history of ten major chronic diseases, or coronary artery bypass graft surgery and no cognitive impairment physical impairment, or mental health limitations.”

The correlation was considered strong enough to provide “evidence that higher levels of midlife physical activity are associated with exceptional health status among women who survive to older ages and corroborate the potential role of physical activity in improving overall health.”

Incorporate mental activity to your workout, adds neurologist Tim Vollmer, Co-Director of the Rocky Mountain MS Center Clinic, and keep your brain healthy along with your body.

Although repetitive actions like running are great for your cardiovascular system, coordinated arm leg movements like you find in yoga, pilates, dance, tennis, or my favorite, Jazzercise, can help keep all synapses firing.

Of course, you don’t need to wait until you hit midlife to get the benefits from regular physical and mental activity. The research shows that the old motto “Use it, or lose it!” has been proven to be true.

Laid off? Hit the gym!

The population of regulars at my Jazzercise center has increased noticeably recently. Chatting with these newcomers tells me that most of them have been “downsized” from their jobs and are taking the opportunity to get themselves in shape. Some are attending classes several times a day, while most are attending multiple times each week. I have been impressed.

What a great idea! Take the loss of a job as a gift of time to focus on your health! When else are you going to have as much free time to hang out at the gym? Think of all the benefits: lose weight, get more energy, enjoy a better outlook on life, live a longer life…

I recently read a fun novel where the main character took an early exit package from her company and discovered happiness by using the time to start exercising regularly (walking) and turning a hobby into a business. Along the way, she finds some new friends and expands her horizons. If you’re looking for a feel-good novel starring some uppity middle-aged women, this one was recommended by Barbara Kingsolver.


One of the things I love about Jazzercise is that it lifts and tightens my butt.

After two 50-lb pregnancies and two c-sections, I just entered my third year of post-partum Jazzercise. I can only squeeze in three sessions each week, but I go religiously and build my schedule around class times.

Let’s face it, I’m supposed to be saggy at (almost) 40. Jazzercise gives me the body of a 20-year old — almost.

Come to think of it, I was at a heavy point when I was 20 and weighed almost 30 lbs more than I do now. I got there honestly by living in Italy and reveling in the food (an addiction to Baci, little chocolate balls with a hazelnut in the center, and nutella, chocolate/hazelnut spread didn’t help!). My butt may not have sagged, but it was a wide load. So, to tell the truth, Jazzercise has given me the body I wanted when I was twenty!

The goal, I think, is to find the “right” exercise for you, and then just go and do it regularly.