Getting the Most Out of Each Exercise Session

In this day and age we place a lot of emphasis on the importance of exercise. The CDC recommends that adults do at least of 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic activity. If you exercise five days a week, that’s about 30 minutes a day. The CDC also recommends at least two days a week of and muscle-strengthening activities. If you don’t have a half-hour block to do your aerobic activity, the CDC recommends you try breaking it down into 10-minute bursts.

If you do manage to find 30 continuous minutes, plus whatever time you need to complete the strength training requirements, you need to make sure that you are doing all you can to get the most out of your workout.

Eat Before Your Workout

If you’re trying to lose weight, you might be tempted to do it on an empty stomach, to force your body to use your fat stores for energy.

The problem is that exercise creates an immediate need for energy, and your body may not be able to break down fat fast enough to meet that need. As a result, you’ll get fatigued faster and you won’t be able to exercise as intensely or as efficiently.

At the same time, you don’t want to eat a heavy meal because that can also interfere with your exercise. When you eat, your body sends a lot of blood to your digestive tract to absorb nutrients. If you exercise after eating a heavy meal, you may not have enough blood flowing to the muscles, resulting in fatigue and muscle cramps; or, the exercise will divert blood away from the digestive process, resulting in gastro-intestinal distress.

Your best option is to have something light, like an energy bar or a fruit smoothie, about a half hour before you exercise. You will have the calories and energy you need, but your digestive tract won’t be working overtime during your workout.

Wear the Appropriate Clothing

You don’t have to spend a $1 million on the latest workout gear, but your clothing should fit well but allow you freedom of movement, and help wick moisture and sweat away from your body. Your shoes should provide the support and cushioning appropriate to the task.

For example, running shoes are designed to ensure proper form and protect the feet and joints from the impact of running; whereas, tennis shoes are designed to handle the stops, start, and pivoting that occurs on the courts.

You also want to make sure you have the appropriate support equipment and clothing.

For example, if you run you might consider running tights that encourage blood flow. These types of compression tights offer a measure of pain relief during recovery and also help you regulate your temperature when exercising in hot or cold weather.

On the other hand, during your weight routine, you may want to invest in a weight belt to support your lower back, and gloves to give you a better grip.

Focus on Your Exercise

In a study published by researchers at Edge Hill University and the University of Hull, both in the UK, revealed that subjects who focused on their biceps, while doing biceps curls, had significantly more electrical activity within the target muscles than those who focused on other things. The researchers have extrapolated that the same thing occurs with other muscle groups as well.

For example, the next time you’re in spinning class, focus on your legs and pedaling instead of all the things you have to do after class.

Listen to Music

Music has a lot of benefits: It stimulates brain cells, it reduces stress, it reduces your response to pain, and it can help you exercise harder and longer.

Some gyms play their own music, but then you’re stuck with whatever the music service decides to play that day. Your best option is to create your own playlist on an iPod or Mp3 player, preferably one that you can strap to your arm, or clip to your clothing.

While smartphone technology has made it possible to use your phone as a music player, the notification sounds can easily distract you from your workout. If you must use your phone, turn the notifications off, including the vibrations, during your exercise session.

Stretch After Each Session

After exercise your muscles are usually tight, which can constrict blood flow. Stretching loosens the muscles to allow blood flow; improving your recovery time and reducing your risk of post-exercise soreness.

However, you should not stretch before exercising because you can actually do yourself harm by stretching before your muscles have warmed up.

A Handy Guide to Decorating For Less

Your home is your castle, so it only makes sense that you would want it to be beautiful, practical and perfect for your unique personality and lifestyle. It is easy to find a wide variety of great ideas online, but all too often they cost more money than the average person can afford. Decorating a home shouldn’t break the bank. If you need to decorate for less, get off the expensive websites and try these five great suggestions instead.

1. Paint

It is amazing how something as simple as a coat of paint can completely transform the look of a room. If your home is in serious need of an update, try painting the walls a new color. Sky blue is perfect for creating a relaxing sanctuary, yellow is perfect for creating an upbeat and cheerful space and gray is perfect for a sophisticated, elegant gathering place. Be sure to try a few paint samples on the wall to test how the colors will look at various times of day, but do not be afraid to put color on the wall. Your room’s paint color is easy to change when you decide you want something new.

2. Repurpose

Once you have the perfect color on the walls, you are ready to add in the little decorative elements that make your home truly your own. Do not rush right out to the store, however; shop your home first. You may be surprised at what you find. Use an empty wine bottle as a unique vase for fresh flowers. Frame your children’s drawings on the wall for fun and colorful artwork. Use old sheets to make new curtains or old clothing to make new throw pillows. Stack old hardcover books next to an armchair to make a unique side table. The possibilities are endless.

3. Visit the Right Stores

If you decide you still need to buy a few more interesting pieces after you have finished raiding your own home, be sure to choose the right stores. Start by visiting pound shops and thrift stores. Keep an open mind and you will be amazed at the unique and interesting things you can find. Many items that look worn and dingy on the shelves would make perfect accent pieces with just a good cleaning and a coat of paint. Clearance sections, auctions and antique shops are a great place to find interesting and unique finds for less as well.

4. Have Something Custom Made

One of the best ways to create a beautiful and unique space for less is to have a key piece or two custom made. Hire a quality handyman in London to build a custom fireplace mantle, custom bookshelves or a custom coffee table for you. Your entire room does not have to be custom made or expensive. If you have one key piece that truly pops, it will make your entire room look amazing.

5. Less is More

As you start decorating and finding great deals and must-have pieces, keep in mind that “less is more” when it comes to home decorating. A room that is full of knick knacks is sure to look crowded, cluttered and messy. Instead of buying and using every interesting thing you find, choose a couple eye-catching pieces and spread them throughout the space, leaving plenty of white space for the eyes to rest. This will make sure people’s eyes are drawn to your best pieces, not left to roam around the room without a focal point.

Creating a beautiful and unique space does not have to be expensive. Try these five tips and achieve a look you love today!

How to Pick a Hotel on Oahu

Do you dream about sunbathing on the white sands of Waikiki, exploring a tropical reef with a snorkel and mask just off the lava-rock coastline or enjoying a cocktail in the Hawaiian sunset? You’re not alone.

Going to Hawaii on vacation is a dream come true for many people, and the 50th state’s beauty is not exaggerated.

Tourism is a multi-billion-dollar industry in the Aloha State, and it’s easy to see why. Hawaii has plenty of hotels, resorts and other man-made attractions in addition to the naturally compelling vistas and seascapes. You can’t go wrong with the natural beauty of the islands, but when you’re planning a trip to Hawaii you will need to carefully consider what hotel or resort will serve your needs best.

Where on Oahu?

The first thing you should consider when planning your Hawaiian vacation to Oahu is which part of the island you’d like to stay on. Honolulu appeals to many because of the sheer number of things to do here — from sporty to cultural and romantic to adventurous — but it’s not the only place to stay on the island. Many travelers prefer a smaller, less populous base for their Hawaiian trip and thus choose a hotel on the North Shore of Oahu, or at Kailua, which is famous for its wind- and kite-surfing opportunities.

If you love the bright lights-big city feel of Honolulu, it’s understandable! “The Big Pineapple” is a wonderful place to visit in its own right — even if you never leave the city limits. Honolulu is most famous for the numerous, fabulous, hotels and resorts that line Waikiki Beach. The beach is the place around which most tourists gravitate — whether for swimming, surfing or simply strolling. If it appeals to you, the rooms with sea views and glimpses of the sand and Diamond Head at the resorts along Waikiki are understandably popular. Rooms are usually spacious, and the resorts’ added features such as cocktail happy hours, kiddie pools and room service make for a great vacation in paradise.

However, staying along Waikiki might not be the best answer for you if you are planning on renting a car and making daytrips to see the rest of what Oahu has to offer. As in any city’s most popular areas, the streets near Waikiki are often crowded and finding parking may be onerous. To make sure that your rental will have plenty of room to manoeuver, look for smaller properties off the beach.

Does It Have Entertainment?

Picking Hotel OahuIf you’re staying in Honolulu, you’ll never lack for entertainment. The Hawaiian capital has plenty of daily cultural performances, as well as museums and galleries to explore. However, this is another metric by which to measure your hotels. If you know that you’ll be looking for a hula performance or musical review every night, you can find a hotel that offers the best kind of entertainment for you.

Does It Suit Your Group?

Although Hawaii is a popular honeymoon destination, newlyweds are far from the only kind of tourists who stop on Oahu. Whether you are a solo traveler, a family with children, seniors on a group holiday or some other category, you can find a hotel that suits your needs. If you’re bringing small children, for example, you’ll want rooms with pullout beds and a kid-friendly menu at breakfast. You may even find a hotel with a babysitting service. For seniors, it might be important to have ground-floor rooms or other accommodation that allows access with limited mobility. For all groups, it helps if the hotel caters to your particular kind of traveler and offers tours and other extras for your interests.

Does It Have a Swimming Pool?

Everyone knows Waikiki Beach is the hot spot in Honolulu, but the truth is some people prefer to swim in fresh water than in salt water. If you love swimming, but not the sea, do yourself a favor and book a hotel that has a swimming pool. Many of the hotels offer these — and some of the larger resorts have fancy options, such as infinity pools, pool bars and kiddie pools with slides — but not all, so be sure to check.

Finding a hotel in Hawaii can be a challenge because of the sheer variety and number of accommodations available. If you know what services and options you need from the hotel, it will be easier to choose.

Best Hobbies for Couples

All work and no play make anyone dull. That’s why we always turn to our hobbies when work becomes too demanding, stressful or, well, boring. For many people, hobbies are a form of sanity check, something to shake up the monotony of their daily grind. But you know what would make your hobby more enjoyable? It’s nothing but sharing your passion with someone special.

Here are some hobbies that you and your partner or significant other can enjoy together.

  1. Running/Walking: Whether it’s a regular early morning jog, a stroll around the park, or joining fun runs and marathons, walking, running or jogging together is a good way to improve on how you sync. Plus, it’s also a wonderful form of exercise, so you’d both be hitting two birds with one stone! Others prefer to spend time together in the gym, but nothing beats sharing each other’s company outdoors
  2. Going to the movies: Curling up at home watching DVDs is a good way to be closer, but remember when you were still in the early stages of dating and you’d catch a movie at the cinema, complete with popcorn and soda? This is one way to recapture those moments by still going to the movies at least once a month
  3. Go dancing: Taking up dancing as a hobby with your special someone has a lot of merits. It will definitely bring you much closer together and also heat things up a bit. How you move on the dance floor together, whether in a stirring tango, passionate salsa, or wild-abandon hip-swinging at a pub, will say a lot about your relationship
  4. Traveling: Gaining new experiences, meeting new people, and exploring new places together, is one sure way to bring couples together. Perhaps it’s the thrill of the unknown, or simply the knowledge that they are experiencing everything for the first time in the company of someone they care about. Whatever it is, traveling together – whether locally or outside the country – is an adventure worth taking
  5. Board/Card Games: Let’s face it: some couples simply want to stay indoors instead of being with a crowd of people. Bring out that chessboard or your favorite deck of cards, or maybe even start a game of Scrabble, and challenge each other. Or you could go old-school and solve the daily crossword puzzle together. Who said being competitive isn’t good for a healthy relationship?

There’s no denying that relationships become much stronger when compatibility is factored in. Having similar interests and shared passions, and doing them together, is a sure-fire way to make sure the flames are kept alive.

Search terms: hobby for couples, hobbies for couples

List of Hobbies that Make Money

Hobbies are activities that people would like to do during their relaxed and leisure time. By definition, they aren’t intended to help you earn money or a living for that matter. However, there are a number of hobbies that make money (mind you, real serious money sometimes) to help you with your residual income needs as well as an earning part-time activity. Before embarking down any path, make sure you are prepared to keep accurate detailed accounting records. It wouldn’t hurt to have an online system for tax preparing ready to go as well; especially since the IRS will want to see what you’re doing.

Partial List of Hobbies that Make Money

Here are a few of those hobbies that help you earn money from your leisure activities:

  1. Painting: Painting as a hobby doesn’t always mean that you need to be an exceptional artiste. In fact, there are a lot of people who have learned and taken up painting as a retirement activity as well. There are easier genres of painting that you can get into and sometimes even sell on the street, in the nearby arts-crafts shop or even online on eBay to make some money. The investment on the this hobby to get started may be very less compared to many other expensive hobbies
  2. Digital Photography: Digital photography as a hobby really took off in the past decade or so, since the digital cameras evolved big time and became more affordable. While a Digital SLR is good to produce professional quality images (that can be sold online), as a hobbyist you can start with a simple Point and Shoot camera or a bridge type camera. Selling digital photos online is a big business nowadays
  3. Writing or Blogging: Writing online or blogging is another way to make money online if you have the basic skills in writing about your experiences or topics of interest. Online writing or content creation can be for others or on your own blog or website. There are 100s of ways of making money online off which online writing, content creation, proof reading etc are proven methods that are highly in demand. You can either create your free blog on sites such as blogger.com or wordpress.com or get your own domain name (e.g myownblog.com) to host your blog
  4. Philately and coin collection: Well, stamp and coin collection is not something that can be easily achieved in a short time but has to take its own course before it can be profitable hobby. Also, you need a lot of contacts – both online and offline – who can provide or exchange valuable old collection of stamps or coins. The values of stamps and coins go up with time and you can make money by selling them online
  5. Gardening: Pure vegetable or fruit gardening may not fetch you a lot of money but specialty gardening definitely will. One such example is orchid flowers gardening and vanilla plants gardening that can really fetch you a lot of money while enjoying your hobby more unlike normal gardening. Gardening is among those universal hobbies for men and women
  6. Animal farming: There are many fast breeding animals and birds such as meat rabbits, pigs and chicken that can make a lot of residual income out of your animal farming hobby. Chicken farming can be a very easy care hobby that can be started with a very low investment and reap returns in very few months. Compared to larger animals, the above mentioned animals may not require huge area of land to graze and grow
  7. Knitting and Sewing: Among the hobbies for women, this has to be something that doesn’t require a lot of investments and skills but need tremendous patience. There is however always buyers for hand knitted material and if you keep churning out masterpieces and designer like accessories, you are sure to make some money out of your favorite hobby

What I mentioned here is only an indicative list of hobbies and there are definitely a lot more hobbies out there that can be profitable leisure time activities too. By the way, do not forget about the enjoyment part of a hobby. Money or no money, the hobby is meant to keep you relaxed and entertained. If that is not the case and money making is the only aim, then there are methods such as Online Share trading, Forex trading (Read this article on forex trading basics to learn more) etc which may be risky but rewarding as well.

Family Read Out Loud Fun Ideas

Laughter is the best medicine“, the proverb says. In fact, it is true that a good laugh relaxes your body, makes you fresh and controls health issues such as high blood pressure. One of the best ways to roll on the floor laughing (ROFL) is to read a lot of comics stuff and cartoons. And it’s even better when you read out loud comedy stories and such stuff in a big group.

The other day I read about someone launching the “Read Comics in Public Day“. It seems there’s some movement since 2010 to make August 28th of every year as the International Read Comics in Public Day. If you can read out comics in public, why not at home and have family fun?

Read Out Loud fun in the Family

Comedy is more fun when it’s enjoyed in a group. Watching a comic movie in the movie hall or television together is a lot funnier and enjoyable than doing it all alone. Having said that, there are definitely comedy categories that you enjoy more when reading than reading out – e.g. Some of those email jokes. We aren’t talking about that here.

In order to enjoy reading out funny stories in the family, you don’t need to have a specific date or time. However, based on everyone’s availability, sleep-food timings, you may pick an appropriate time. The following may be some guidelines though it is up to each family how you want to take it forward.

  1. Pick an appropriate time and have these read out loud and laugh out loud sessions at least once a week. An ideal time would be say Saturday night after dinner
  2. Pick a joke book or online comic site that you want to read out loud. Book is always preferred to the digital reading as it is easy to establish eye-contact during each burst of laughter
  3. Pick a topic or character that everyone in the family enjoys reading. And again, read out loud only those stories or situations that make people laugh when read out. This is because some jokes wouldn’t sound as funny in indirect speech but more enjoyable when your read in mind
  4. Take turns on every night and let every member in the family learn about reading out loud in an expressive way
  5. Based on the feedback from all, switch to appropriate comic characters, topics or even increase the frequency to several times a week
  6. You can even think of including this kind of a fun reading activity in your friends circle

Read out loud jokes and comics are much funnier than watching a comic movie or cartoons together because the former brings the family together whereas television viewing is more individualistic.

Enjoy every lighter moment in life, together!

Retirement Hobbies and Activities

Retirement can suddenly throw several questions at people! A busy professional till then – with hardly any time to spend for other activities – now has a lot of free time at hand without knowing how to spend the same.

Why is it important to be engaged in something?

It is no surprise that a lot of people enter a state of depression when the regular income, the job that they loved, the people around and networking opportunities – all of them are taken away all of a sudden. Hence it is very important that retired individuals find some ways to keep themselves busy – preferably something that keeps them physically active.

Post retirement activities and hobbies

The following are some of the hobbies in retirement phase of your life that you may opt for based on your physical health, areas of interest and money at hand:

Digital photography: Photography is one of those amazing hobbies that you can pick as an area of interest at any age. The retired people may find it even more exciting because they have a lot of time at hand to observe the nature and objects around and capture those moments. Digital photography has another advantage that you can share your work online, get noticed and sometimes even paid.

Fishing: This is some hobby that is time tested and right up there in terms of popularity for several generations now. Fishing allows you to enjoy more time outdoors while doing an activity that is sporty but won’t tire you out. Further you have the opportunity to enter competitions as well.

Gardening: Just like fishing, gardening is a timeless hobby. If you are gardening enthusiast, you can keep yourself busy all around the year (Read: Winter gardening) and more over it can get you most of the things like herbs, vegetables and fruits for your kitchen. Gardening is also a research oriented job which needs a lot of reading and experiments.

Writing, Poetry or Blogging: Blogging or writing is a great way to put forward all those thoughts that you wanted to let the world know but couldn’t do it earlier. Even better would be poetry and being part of any poetry group. But again, this will depend on how talented and interested you are at writing related creativity.

Volunteer programs: Being a volunteer on social, community and charity related activities is probably the best way to network and get involved with people after retirement. This is something that adds a lot of value to you as an individual while serving the society.

Traveling: Well, who doesn’t like traveling? Retired life is probably the best time to do all those traveling around the world assuming that you have saved up plenty money and is sure that you do not outlive the money at hand you can take this route (Read: How much money do you need to retire?)

There are a number of other things in the sporting world, research, science or reading but at the end, it is all about what you are most comfortable with and what your health and money situation is. Most important thing to remember is to enjoy every single day of your remaining life.