FIT to LAUGH! HAAaaaa!

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Every year on December 11th at 9:59PM Pacific Coast Time/11:59PM Midwestern time, it's a RACE to the phone to see who can beat the other in wishing them a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! My cousin from St. Louis and I share the same birthday.  We have been doing this crazy ritual for nearly 10 years if not longer!  THIS YEAR. . .LOL. . .I WONNNNNNNN!!! I laughed SO HARD my insides started to burn.  I danced the happy dance (butt shaking and arms waving) because he did NOT beat me this year! One thing is for certain, that good hard laugh made my day that much SWEETER!

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Laughter is definitely a stress reliever and a mini exercise for parts of your body you would not normally workout.  The muscles in your face contract and extend, your stomach muscles tighten and  your heart rate goes up almost in an instant.  Did you know it takes nearly 10 minutes for your body to warm up on an elliptical compared to one minute of pure, crazy, out of control laughter?

In the last few decades, researchers have studied laughter's effects on the body and turned up some potentially interesting information on how it affects us:

  • Blood flow. Researchers at the University of Maryland studied the effects on blood vessels when people were shown either comedies or dramas. After the screening, the blood vessels of the group who watched the comedy behaved normally -- expanding and contracting easily. But the blood vessels in people who watched the drama tended to tense up, restricting blood flow. 
     
  • Immune response. Increased stress is associated with decreased immune system response, says Provine. Some studies have shown that the ability to use humor may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost the levels of immune cells, as well. 
     
  • Blood sugar levels. One study of 19 people with diabetes looked at the effects of laughter on blood sugar levels. After eating, the group attended a tedious lecture. On the next day, the group ate the same meal and then watched a comedy. After the comedy, the group had lower blood sugar levels than they did after the lecture. 
     
  • Relaxation and sleep. The focus on the benefits of laughter really began with Norman Cousin's memoir, Anatomy of an Illness. Cousins, who was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful spine condition, found that a diet of comedies, like Marx Brothers films and episodes of Candid Camera, helped him feel better. He said that ten minutes of laughter allowed him two hours of pain-free sleep.  http://www.webmd.com

It doesn't take an expert to tell any of us that laughter is good for the body.  It's good for your well being, environment and definitely your soul.  A good hard laugh is better than a wet, sloppy cry any day.  So, no matter what's going on during your day, find a way to just laugh it out and finish the day with less stress!  Read a funny book, watch your favorite comedian and crack silly jokes with your loved one. . .get your laugh in for about 15 minutes and burn 50 calories!!!

HAPPY LAUGHING!

Nicol A Hodges

Nicol A. Hodges aka "Nic" is fitness professional (NASM, CPT/PES) and product designer living in San Diego, CA. Nicol's athletic background started in her hometown of St. Charles, MO where she earned her 400m state ranking 3 years in a row. Later, at the University of MO, Columbia she earned 8-Big 12 Track and Field titles and a championship title. Nicol currently continues her love for running by competing in local and national running events. 

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Nicol A Hodges

Nicol A. Hodges aka "Nic" is fitness professional (NASM, CPT/PES) and product designer living in San Diego, CA. Nicol's athletic background started in her hometown of St. Charles, MO where she earned her 400m state ranking 3 years in a row. Later, at the University of MO, Columbia she earned 8-Big 12 Track and Field titles and a championship title. Nicol currently continues her love for running by competing in local and national running events. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Yes, it is true that you always have something to be Thankful for.  No matter what your circumstances there is ONE thing in your life that you can be thankful for and if there isn't ask someone!  This past year has been an interesting one for me and my family.  We have definitely had our ups and downs, great days and days that gave the word "challenging" a whole new meaning.  Somehow we have made it through and keep pushing along no matter what.  Today, I am thankful for family.  For my immediate family, my parents and even family that I don't talk to on a regular basis, I love them all and wish the best for everyone.  

I don't know what you family looks like, whether it's big or small, short or tall or different from what society calls norm...be happy with them, be thankful for them and love them hard.  Why? because you can run, jump, climb or spin your little heart out...if you don't have love at the base of all that fitness...it makes it that much harder to accomplish your goals.  

Be thankful, love hard and BE HAPPY!

 

GRAB YOUR FAMILY and GET THIS WORKOUT IN! 2-4 HOURS BEFORE THE BIG MEAL or 3-4 HOURS AFTER!. . .STAY FIT. . .HA HA AHHH!

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Nicol A Hodges

Nicol A. Hodges aka "Nic" is fitness professional (NASM, CPT/PES) and product designer living in San Diego, CA. Nicol's athletic background started in her hometown of St. Charles, MO where she earned her 400m state ranking 3 years in a row. Later, at the University of MO, Columbia she earned 8-Big 12 Track and Field titles and a championship title. Nicol currently continues her love for running by competing in local and national running events. 

TOYOTA OF POWAY names. . .

Athlete of the Week:

Rancho Bernardo High’s Akins building confidence

By Michael Bower

CLICK to read original article. . .

Nicol A Hodges

Nicol A. Hodges aka "Nic" is fitness professional (NASM, CPT/PES) and product designer living in San Diego, CA. Nicol's athletic background started in her hometown of St. Charles, MO where she earned her 400m state ranking 3 years in a row. Later, at the University of MO, Columbia she earned 8-Big 12 Track and Field titles and a championship title. Nicol currently continues her love for running by competing in local and national running events. 

PALOMAR LEAGUE CHAMPION

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Congratulations to Division 2 runner Nia Akins (my daughter) from Rancho Bernardo High School who won the Palomar Leagues Cross Country meet this past weekend at Kit Carson Park.  The distance was 2.7 miles and her time was 16:22.  The division two girls really put on a show.  The girls competed from the beginning to the end challenging each other every step of the way.  These girls have a true love for running and it showed. Great job, ladies!

CONGRATS, to the Rancho Bernardo HS girls for such a strong effort this weekend and MS. NIA, I am proud of you!

Rolling out with the Family!

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I have been an athlete/runner for over 20 years and it has been the one constant thing in my life. Whether in elementary school, college, working, marriage and having two incredible daughters, I have always found a way to keep moving no matter what.

I have a pretty active family with my youngest daughter in competitive soccer,  the older girl in high school cross country and a husband who is a die-hard golfer and basketball nut, we like to keep things moving and grooving in our household.

Well, my husband recently expressed interest in running because he wants to get into better shape and I THINK it might have to do with a golf tournament that's coming up. . .not sure but either way, I decided to stage a Family Fun Run.

So, I set a time that I knew everyone would be happy with, marked our running trail and had them get their gear and shoes ready to "Rock N Run"!

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The one thing that I noticed right away was the excitement in the air my family had while getting ready for the run. I made it VERY clear that this was a Family Fun Run and no one was allowed to compete. Each parent took the kid that they could hang with and we grabbed our dog as well! I broke up the run in increments of 5-10 minutes just to make sure everyone was on pace and feeling pretty good. Once we got over the first initial hump of the run, I made goals for everyone . . . like the "yellow" sign was the finish line before we took a walk/water break or to "stop" at the corner!

I have to admit, I really enjoyed running with my family and the girls wanted the run to last a little longer! We were all able to share funny stories and talk about our week at work/school and what was ahead for the following week! IF YOU CAN, squeeze in your own family fun run once a week and see what type of reaction you will get. The run can start out as a walk with 2 minute running increments or 1/2 walk, 1/2 jog! Either way, your family will love it and will be pumped to do it again! Great way to keep the family in shape and motivated to start a new week!

Remember, it doesn't have to be running.  You can head out to the park and kick a ball around, play with they dog or throw a frisbee back and forth. . .as long as you do something that will get your family to move, get some fresh air and most important, spend time together.  Good luck and have fun!

Nicol A Hodges

Nicol A. Hodges aka "Nic" is fitness professional (NASM, CPT/PES) and product designer living in San Diego, CA. Nicol's athletic background started in her hometown of St. Charles, MO where she earned her 400m state ranking 3 years in a row. Later, at the University of MO, Columbia she earned 8-Big 12 Track and Field titles and a championship title. Nicol currently continues her love for running by competing in local and national running events.