Work Off Those Calories With Exercise

As winter approaches – sometimes aggressively – we begin to wonder how we can burn off those extra calories. You would think that just staying warm would burn enough calories, but no, it never works that way. For many, personal training is the answer to motivation and variety. Here are some pointers for burning off calories and for exercising during the winter.

Running

Runners seem to be able to run no matter what the season. If you are a runner, congratulations. You can usually maintain your pace regardless of wind and weather. Sometimes, taking your running to an indoor track will make a big difference. This is when gym membership may come in handy, because they often have a track. You can also keep up this form of exercise with a high quality treadmill. The reason I say high quality is that many treadmills are not designed for runners. They are designed for walking, and have a particleboard deck. They also may not have the horsepower to keep up with a runner. Finally, the length of the tread on the treadmill should be sufficient for a jogger. Your running step is much longer than your walking step, and a short deck on a treadmill will change your running stride, causing problems.

Yoga

Yoga has emerged as one of the safest and most efficient forms of inside exercise. It does not require any equipment, unless you consider a mat to be equipment. People of all ages and physical fitness levels can participate in some level of yoga. It increases muscle tone and improves balance. It is good for your circulation, too, often helping to purge the body of impurities. The meditative aspect of yoga is also beneficial to helping people to lower stress levels, improving their overall health.

Cycling

Cycling is another activity that can be maintained through every season. You may enjoy cycling throughout the beautiful countryside, but sometimes, weather just does not cooperate. Gyms have cycling and spinning classes that can give you a thorough workout, working muscles you forgot you have.

Personal Training

Many people will hire a personal trainer to get their exercise levels up. This is a great way to burn calories, just because of the variety to your workout. Many people have turned to online personal trainers so that they can keep up with their personal training routines no matter where they are. A personal trainer will keep you motivated when you are too sore, too tired, or too apathetic to do it on your own. You have someone who is being paid to keep track of your exercise regimen, and he or she will take that seriously. Your personal trainer is also very inventive in ways to keep you working out. This can devious, at times, but never boring. With some inventiveness and a lot of determination, you can make sure that you get plenty of exercise. You can burn off calories and stay in shape, and feel good year round.

Being Social With The Neighbours

I was just reading a story today about one of the best gardens in Yorkshire and a bit of a social problem with the neighbours.

Tucked away in Yorkshire is a lovely garden, with metal garden planters, beautifully maintained trees, and a little gardener who is about to be sentenced to jail.

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Danuta Cross, aged 64, is a past winner of the South Cave Gardening Competition. Her problems arose, she says, when her neighbors, Alexandra Smith aged 65 and David Mayhill aged 59, started stalking her as she gardened. She says that every time she goes out in her garden, they follow her around.

This constant scrutiny has been ongoing for a number of months, and police say they have not been able to collect any evidence. However, Cross said that at one point she was so “upset and shaken” that she began yelling at her neighbors. Mayhill and Smith then pressed charges for harassment.

Neighbors say that there has been an ongoing competition between the two houses to see how could have the most beautiful garden. This, however, has reached a point in which Cross says she wants to sell her house and move to get away from her neighbors’ scrutiny. She does not feel safe, and says she is not typically that angry.

Cross will be sentenced for harassment on October 29.

So let that be a lesson to you, be nice to your neighbours!

Exercise Can Make You Healthier And Happier

It probably comes as no surprise to you that exercise can make you healthier and happier. Anyone who has exercised has reaped the benefits of being in shape. But, do you know just how much good exercise will do for you?

Losing weight and happiness

Blood Vessels

Ok, this is just gross, but did you know that for every ½ kilo of weight you gain, your body grows over 11,000 metres of new blood vessels? When you think about how hard your heart has to pump to propel blood through all of those vessels, it is no wonder that heart disease is so prevalent. However, by working out for 15 minutes, three times a day, you can not only lose weight, you can improve your circulation and strengthen your cardio-pulmonary system. The body reabsorbs all of those blood vessels as you lose weight, giving your body a break.

Endorphins

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Endorphins are the chemicals that your brain releases when stimulated in a certain way. These endorphins actually make you feel good. The “extreme” benefit of endorphins is the legendary “runner’s high”, but you do not have to be a runner to trigger endorphins.

Endorphins actually reduce your perception of pain. People with chronic pain often find that moderate exercise reduces the sensation of pain. This is partly because the chemicals of the endorphins bond to the same neurotransmitters that normally bond to pain killers. So, you get the pain killers, without the artificial drugs.

Motivation and Energy

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Many people find that they feel so much better once they start exercising, that they get motivated to fix other things in their lives. The increased circulation that you get with exercise, along with the fact that your body purges itself of toxins, builds your energy level. Many people finally have the energy to take on new projects, or to simply keep up with the ones that have overwhelmed in the past.

Health Benefits

There are other kinds of health benefits to exercise. Moderate exercise will actually lower your cholesterol and stabilize type 2 diabetes.

Scheduling

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When a person starts exercising regularly, it usually means a change in their scheduling priorities. This is often the weak spot in any workout routine, as our busy lives often crowd out things we do that benefit only ourselves. However, when you stick to a schedule, and make your routine something that is flexible, you will find that your life actually becomes more organized. Looming deadlines take on a new significance when you make a priority of meeting your workout commitment. There is an old saying that housework will expand to fill the time allowed for it. Paperwork is the same. And, board meetings operate by the same time-sucking natural law. However, you can stay on task and finish up much more efficiently when you stick to your exercise regimen. Even personal training can be compressed around a schedule, Online Trainers have the ability to be at your fingertips at any time of day, so you can work around things easily.

The benefits of exercise are almost immeasurable. You become physically stronger, emotionally more stable, and your life can become more organized simply because you have decided to get in shape.

Dogs And Cats Living Harmoniously

You know, there’s real truth behind the saying “fighting like cats and dogs”. It’s because these two animals don’t usually get along. However, there are some things you can do to ensure harmonious living between your cats and dogs.

Raise Them Together

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If you have the option, raise your kittens and puppies together. When we moved to a farm, I was 10. Dad brought home a black and white puppy (a border collie) and a black and white kitten. The two were best buds their whole lives. We still tell stories about these two and their antics. When you rase the two together, they learn each other’s body language early on. This enables both the dog and the cat to recognize when they have pushed the other too far. Plus, they really learn to like each other.

Choose Breeds Wisely

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Almost all cats are predatory. They have a very strong prey drive – that’s why they pounce on anything that moves. Some really sweet cats learn to play without using their claws, but if they haven’t been raised that way, they will use their claws to grab on. It is the act of pulling away that causes claw marks.

Some dogs are nurturing, and some are prey driven. We have two Alaskan Malamutes. This breed was developed to hunt for its own food in the harsh environs of Alaska, eating anything that moves. This does not mix well with our Tabby cat. We NEVER leave our Mals alone with the cat, because even though she has her claws, our dogs have demonstrated that they can work as a team, with one distracting while the other goes in for the kill. That’s how they get the opossum and raccoons that wander into our yard.

We also have a collie – the kind that looks like Lassie. This is a very nurturing dog, who is protective of his lambs. His lambs are anything in his house and yard, including the cat. The drawback to this is that the collie wants to play chase with the cat, which triggers the prey drive in our Mals.

Introduce Calmly

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If yours is to be a “blended family” of pets, with rescued animals or pets that belong to your new spouse or stepchildren, you can take precautions to ease the introduction. First of all, try to introduce the animals in a neutral environment. Cats and dogs both can be very territorial, and if you bring a strange animal into your home, the pet that already lives there might react differently than he would in a neutral area.

Also, try to introduce the animals at eye level. If there is any aggression or fear, remove both animals for a few minutes and try again. Keep this up until they are bored with the activity, and ignore the other animal.

Always Supervise

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Allowing your cat to “teach the dog a lesson” can result in a blind dog and expensive vet bills. By the same token, you don’t want to end up with a dead cat. Always supervise their interactions.

Keep Your Garden Picturesque

Keeping your garden picturesque can be a lot of work, but the payoff is worth is. Gardeners take hope in the beautiful blooms, healthy shrubbery, and velvet grasses that make up their gardens. And, whether you do all the work yourself or hire some of it done, the reward is a beautiful garden and a healthier planet.

Winterizing

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Now is the time to winterize your lawn. Most lawn services will winterize it, if you do not know what to do. Basically, you put down a fertilizer that will boost the roots and make them stronger so that they can survive freezes and slow snow melt. You don’t want to mow it down at this stage, because the grass will hold snow in place and allow it to melt, rather than blow away or run off.

Pruning

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This is also the time to consider pruning your trees and shrubs. For deciduous trees, wait until the sap has retreated to the roots. This will keep the tree from being weakened. Once the trees have lost their leaves, you can see the branching patterns better. It is easier to identify branches that are rubbing against each other and remove them, and thin out the canopy.

Most shrubs that are evergreen do not need pruning. They will have colorful berries this time of year. However, once the berries have all been eaten by neighborhood birds and squirrels, you may want to trim them back to the size you want. The spring growth spurt will make up for any over-pruning you do.

Some shrubs, such as roses, do much better if you trim them back. Find out the specifics for your type of roses. By cutting them back, they will have much more vigorous growth in the spring, with larger, healthier blooms.

Mulching

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Now is also the best time to mulch your flower beds and tree bases. Make sure that the mulch does not pile up on the trunks of trees, as this can strangle the tree and rob it of oxygen. Many homeowners rake up the leaves from the lawn and use them as mulch. The problem with this is that, as the leaves decompose, they can leach nutrients from the soil. It is better to compost leaves and let them decompose to the point where they begin to put nutrients into the soil, rather than leach them out. Other gardeners prefer commercially processed mulch. The mulch not only protects the roots from all but the coldest of temperatures, it holds in moisture, chokes out weeds, and looks really nice in the winter landscape.

Planters

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The winter landscape can be rather bleak. But, you can brighten up the garden with well-placed ceramic plant pots and flower planters with colourful winter plants. Holly bushes covered with red berries, cabbage and kale with pretty blues and greens, Nandina shrubs with their varied colours of foliage and bright crimson berries, and pansies can all add color, motion, and texture to your winter garden. If you don’t know how to care for these plants, contact a landscaper. It is well worth the investment.

How To Be A Sociable Tourist

Now, be honest. Most English speaking people expect to be understood, no matter where they are in the world, right? After all, English is the most common second language spoken on the planet. While most school children in the UK and United States study Spanish, French, German, or Latin as a foreign language in school although they won’t become fluent. Other nations study English However, shouldn’t we at least make the effort to become familiar with the countries we plan to visit? Too many times I see English speaking tourists using translation services without making an effort to understand. Perhaps simply making the effort to learn a few phrases and customs would make our trips more rewarding. And, who know, it might make the trip a little smoother, too.

Language

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The most obvious problem, at first, for international travellers is the language. Although most educated societies learn English as a second language or, as in India, speak English as a primary language, it is a mistake to assume that everyone you contact will be fluent enough in the language to converse with you. In any country, even English speaking ones, it is simply good manners to try to learn a few basic phrases in the native language. If it does not earn you a place in the native’s heart because you are trying hard, it will at least entertain him for a while. Learn, too, the usual forms of address used in the country you will visit. It is better to err on the side of formality, than accidentally insult an official or inn owner with an informal familiarity normally reserved for family members. In fact, expecting everyone to understand you just because you speak English is like expecting everyone to drive on the same side of the road as you do. It just isn’t going to happen.

Non-Verbal Communication

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At least ½ of your communication is non-verbal. It pays to study the customs and gestures of the people who are natives of the country you are about to visit. Something as simple as nodding your head can confuse those to whom you are communicating. In the UK and US, nodding the head indicates agreement, or “yes”. In some countries, nodding the head indicates disagreement or “no”. This can get you in untold trouble, if you are not aware of the difference.

Former president Bill Clinton committed a tremendous faux pas in Brazil when he made the “ok” signal with his circled thumb and forefinger. This is a profanity in Brazil, and raised quite a few eyebrows.

Customs

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In some countries, women are expected to walk behind their men, and are not allowed out in public without a man. If you go against these cultural norms, you can incite anger and find yourself unable to even check into a hotel room. Keep in mind that even if you are not prejudiced or sexist, that does not mean that other cultures share the same general acceptance. If you plan international travel, it is just simply good sense to study their customs and social taboos before crossing their borders.

Ways Physical Activity Can Relieve Stress

There are many different ways that physical activity can relieve stress. Surprisingly, even the most simple of stretches can lower your blood pressure and relieve headaches. Different levels of physical activity can reduce stress, which makes it much easier to cope with on a daily basis. Here are some suggestions that might help.

Stretching and Balancing

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As you work at your desk, in front of your computer, consider doing isometric exercises and stretches. This helps boost your circulation and reduce the chances of developing blood clots. For more strenuous activity, consider a yoga class. Yes, yoga is strenuous, if you do it right, and it improves your sense of balance, as well. In fact, yoga is one of the best stress fighters in the workout repertoire. You can either go “all in” and participate in the meditation and philosophy involved with yoga, or you can simply focus on the exercises, which stretch and tone every – single – muscle – in your body. Believe me, when you are participating in a yoga class, or even yoga in your den at home, stress cannot find a foothold.

Dance

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Yes – dance! Dancing has gained in popularity every year for the last decade. In fact, more people are signing up for dancing lessons and buying dancewear every day. Whether your taste is in pop music, ballroom dancing, hip-hop, jazz, or even ballet, there is a style of dance and music for you.

Forty years ago, aerobics was the big thing. It was strenuous exercise set to music, and you had to basically learn dance steps with the music. It was a great workout, but as most exercise programs go, it fell out of fashion. However, one of the reasons aerobics was so popular was that is was a form of dancing, even if it did incorporate things like sit-ups and pushups.

Today, dance has been revived as a legitimate free-time activity, and has gained even more popularity due to programs such as “Dancing With the Stars”. After all, if overweight, faded actors and actresses can lose weight and “trip the light fantastic” convincingly, why can’t ordinary people? And, on the show, ordinary people do just that. People who have never danced a step in their lives learn to move gracefully and powerfully, to the envy of the nameless rabble that watch enviously. So, try out dancing. It is artistic, athletic, and beautiful, and works that stress right out of your body.

Bootcamp

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If you are one who likes to “get down and dirty”, then bootcamp may be the direction for you. Yes, you get pushed far beyond what you thought were your limits, just as with any clichéd thoughts about this military style workout. But, those limits, you will find, constantly expand. Believe it or not, some of the most dedicated bootcamp members are women in their 30s and 40s! That’s because they have a lot of stress, and what better way to deal with it than to yell, kick, and punch?

Physical activity will restore your circulation, strengthen your respiration, and reduce stress. So, work it into your daily routines.

 

Learning To Surf: What Surfing Can Do For You

Learning to surf is surprisingly easy, and an enormous amount of fun. Believe it or not, everyone from toddlers to grannies learn to surf these days. How do they do it? Where are some pointers on learning to surf, as well as some insights on what surfing can do for you.

Learning to Surf

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You don’t have to grow up in California or the Bahamas to know how to surf. In fact, you can learn this fun sport on your very first trip to the ocean. Every beach, from Devon to Maui, has professional surf shops that rent boards and safety equipment, and offer surfing lessons in Cornwall at an affordable rate. Just as you would rent a bicycle for the day or take snow skiing lessons, you can take surfing lessons when you go to the beach.

The professionals at your surf shop can match you up with a surf board that works well with your height and skills levels. You may want a board that is wider so that you can keep your balance more easily, or if you have some experience, you may want a long, narrow board to add speed to your ride.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to “hang 10” to enjoy surfing. You can paddle out to meet the waves, and then lie or sit on your board and ride the wave back to shore. Enough people do that now that it is a common sight. If you are concerned about more experienced surfers in the area, remember that surfing is a lot like ski slopes – the more skilled athletes stick to the more challenging surf or slopes.

What Can Surfing Do For You?

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So, what exactly can surfing do for you? It is one of the best whole-body exercises you can do, and it is total fun every time you go out. Unlike some exercises that work your muscles only, surfing works on your sense of balance as well. In fact, older people especially find that even simple boogie board surfing improves their balance. They have a better ability to recover if they stumble or stub their toe. Some compare the skills in balancing to yoga.

Your core muscles get a workout, simply from staying on the board. Even if you just sit on the board, staying upright on it strengthens your core muscles as well as your ability to regain your balance. As you lie on the board and paddle out to the waves, you work your arms and chest muscles. If you swim beside your board, you are working your leg muscles. Swimming is one of the most beneficial exercises you can do, and there is no impact on your joints when you swim. Swimming with a board, and balancing on it, is just another step to strength and independence.

And to think, you are having fun in the sun the whole time! Regardless of your age, you can enjoy surfing. Give it a try, and you’ll see!

 

Hotels And B&Bs: Which Have A Better Atmosphere

 

Planning your holiday can be exciting. It can also be stressful as you arrange transportation and lodging, look up dining spots, and order tickets to various attractions. Let’s start with lodging – which has a better atmosphere, hotels or B&Bs?

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Starting with the rooms, let’s compare hotels and B&Bs. Quite often, hotels have a cold, clinical feel, while the B&B often has a reputation as being frilly and covered with knick-knacks. However, the stereotype of B&Bs is not exactly fair, considering the growing number of these businesses in the UK.

The Bed and Breakfast has come a long way from the over-the-top pseudo-Victorian. Without losing any of the ambiance, B&Bs have become modern and spacious. Land owners who convert their building, manors, and farmhouses to B&Bs are savy about the desires of modern travelers, and now install bathrooms for each room, rather than the hackneyed “bathroom down the hall”.

The rooms themselves are far from the clinical feel of hotels. Antique furnishings are sturdy – or they wouldn’t have become antiques – and they add a warmth and welcome that you seldom find in a hotel room. Antique headboards and footboards are retro-fitted with new, modern mattresses, creating a bedroom that is both comfortable and beautiful.

Location

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The weary traveller is often relieved to find his chain hotel right off the roadway. You can see the sign from a distance, and know exactly where you should go. Hotels located in town are often in the newer parts of development, with valet parking.

However, there are some benefits to hunting out the B&Bs. Those located in the city are usually right in the heart of historic districts. Mature landscaping creates an oasis around private patios that offer views of well-tended rose gardens. The advantage here is that many of the activities that attracted you to the city in the first place are within walking distance. That’s right, these older, modernized houses are often right down the street from some of the most beautiful sights and activities that drew you to the city in the first place.

Accommodation in Somerset or anywhere in the countryside have their own draw, with ready access to hiking, fishing, bird watching, and many other activities. The B&B you choose may be near the beach, where you can step onto the veranda and dig your toes into the sand. This is the best of rural holidays, with few people around.

Service

Did you know that most B&Bs serve lunch? They will often pack a picnic lunch for you to enjoy. This is especially true in the rural settings. They also often have arrangements with restaurants, cafes, and diners in nearby villages to give their guests discounts on dining. In the city B&Bs, you may well be right across the street from some of the best restaurants in the area.

So, on your next holiday, check out some B&Bs. You may discover that the space, ambiance, and convenience easily trumps that of hotels.

How To Create The Perfect Social Environment In Your Home

Creating the perfect social environment in your home can be as simple as your choice of furniture and its placement. Here are some great ideas for what type of furniture to get for your home, and how to place it in the room for perfect social interaction.

Space

First of all, assess your space. Do you have a communal room that you want to dedicate to socializing? Typically, rooms on the front of the house are more formal, while rooms at the back of the house are more casual. Around my house, that would be because, by the time a guests walks through all the clutter and dog hair, there are no illusions. Any attempt at formality would be ludicrous.

Of course, you do not have to stay with these traditions. If your largest room is on the front of the house, and you want to use it for the family as well as guests, it is your prerogative. Aside from family clutter, there are ways to maximize the space to make guests feel comfortable.

Furniture Arrangement

That larger room may or may not have room for multiple seating areas. This is a great way to maximize every square inch of space. For instance, most family rooms have a TV prominent for family entertainment and gaming. But, what about that window? There may be space there for a couple of chairs and/or nests of tables. Consider placing a chess board over there, or a jigsaw puzzle. Often, quieter guests will gravitate to such areas. When you provide them with a refuge, they feel more included, and enjoy themselves more.

Use the corners of your room wisely. Corners can be wasted space. I’ve always said that I would prefer round rooms, just so there aren’t any corners. This, also, is a great spot for your little table and chairs. Or, consider a corner sofa. This can free up room in the middle for a large ottoman. If you select a large, upholstered ottoman, it can serve several purposes. Use a nice tray for drinks and decorations while the family is using the room. When you have guests, move the tray, and you have extra seating. One of the advantages of this type of seating is that it is open to all areas of the room, so people can converse easily.

Clutter

So, what do you do about the clutter of the family room? I remember going to a friend’s house, and noticing a lovely wicker basket full of children’s toys near the hearth. I thought it looked so nice, like she was welcoming her children to play in the adult areas. Little did I realize that she used the basket rather than a toy box! This simple detail created a grown-up atmosphere in the room, rather than a nursery feel. Throws that the family cuddled under to watch TV matched the furniture.

As you plan your entertainment spaces, consider furniture placement and automatic de-cluttering. Guests will feel more welcomed.