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Healthy Living

Fidgeting and Other Unexpected Activities that Burn Calories

Being overweight can lead to so many different health issues, but keeping in shape is often far easier said than done. However, when it comes to burning calories, there are actually a number of unexpected activities that can help you with this, and they do not require much effort at all.

While some may find fidgeting annoying, those who fidget are actually burning ten times more calories a day than those who do not, because even though you are sitting down while doing so, this constant motion is still a form of cardio. Whether you tend to tap your foot, shake your leg, or let your fingers restlessly wander around your desk, a study carried out in 2005 showed that fidgeting has the potential to burn around 350 calories a day, which would amount to between 30 and 40 pounds over the course of the year.

Saunas and Sweat Lodges
Spending some time relaxing in a sauna or sweat lodge causes your body’s resting temperature to rise, and scientists believe that this could aid in burning significant calories. The fact that sweating burns calories is not anything new, but there are now claims that a 45 minute sauna session can burn as much calories as a three to four mile run can. Alternatively, wrapping your body up in an infrared blanket for just under an hour will help you to burn between 800 and 1600 calories.

Woman cleaning

Cleaning the House
While cleaning your house may not be as relaxing as lounging around in a sauna, this is still another great way to burn a few extra calories. Simple household tasks, when carried out one after the other, can soon amount to quite the calorie loss. For example, washing and drying dishes burns around 100 calories an hour, while spending half an hour cleaning your bathroom can be the equivalent to a 30 minute walk on a treadmill. To make your routine more interesting, try spending 15 minutes each on different tasks, such as sweeping the floors, which would burn 40 calories, washing the windows, which would burn 35 calories, and tidying up, which would burn 26 calories.

Drinking Green Tea
While consuming more of something is not usually the way to burn calories, green tea might just be an exception to this. Green tea contains polyphenols, which are high in antioxidants and greatly aid the body in breaking down fat, which will then have quite the impact on your overall body fat percentage. When it comes to the numbers, green tea has the potential to help you to burn around 183 calories a day, but you would need to drink around three to eight cups of it each day for this to occur.

If you need some extra help burning a few stubborn calories, then these methods are all definitely worth a try. However, it is important to keep in mind that your body would still hugely benefit from other forms of regular exercise, so be sure to not rely solely on these methods when it comes to keeping in shape.

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Bone Broth Tasty, Trendy and Good for You

While bone broth may be one of the latest food trends to hit the scene, it is actually a staple of many traditional foods, and has been prized for many years for its rich nutrients. From sealing your gut to boosting your immune system, this is a food that brings with it such an array of different benefits.

Gut Health
A cup of bone broth a day is known for being able to really help with leaky gut syndrome, but, even if you do not suffer from this, your gut could still hugely benefit from a daily dose of bone broth. Bone broth is high in gelatin, and this helps to seal up holes in the intestine, which then helps with everything from constipation to food intolerance.

Joint Health
Glucosamine supplements are a go-to product for people who experience joint pain or stiffness, but bone broth itself actually contains significant levels of glucosamine, along with all of its other nutrients. In addition to this, chondroitin sulfate is also found in bone broth, and this has been proven to really help in the prevention of osteoarthritis.

Immune Support
Thanks to the density of minerals that comes from the bone marrow in bone broth, this food is great for strengthening the immune system. In fact, a study carried out by Harvard University even showed that some people who suffered from auto-immune disorders enjoyed a complete remission after drinking bone broth on a regular basis.

A Source of Collagen
Collagen is necessary when it comes to a smooth, youthful complexion, and while you may be applying many topical products to your skin to help boost your body’s collagen production levels, bone broth in itself is actually a great source of collagen. Since you will be consuming it rather than applying it to your skin, this bone broth will be able to nourish your body from the inside out, providing your skin, nails and hair with a boost that no skin care product could compete with.

How to Make Bone Broth
Bone broth is primarily made from, as you have likely guessed, bones, and it does not actually matter which bones you end up using, although feet and marrow bones do tend to contain higher levels of gelatin and nutrients. Simply add the bones, along with any vegetable and herb scraps you may have, to a slow cooker, before covering with water. Cook this on high heat for an hour, before turning it down to a lower heat. The amount of time that you cook your broth for is entirely up to you. While some leave it cooking for 24 hours, others leave it bubbling away all week, simply replacing the broth that they have drunk each day with extra water.

With so many different nutrients and benefits to it, many would consider bone broth to be a super-food. If you are someone that does not tend to enjoy the texture of a broth, there are still many ways in which you can make use of it, from turning it into a thicker soup or stew to allowing it to cool and solidify, and using it as a stock for sauces.

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Add These Books to your Road Trip Plan

Whether you are heading off on a road trip sometime soon, or have one scheduled for later in the year, books are something that you must definitely pack. From Jack Kerouac to Cheryl Strayed, these are some books that guarantee to make your trip even more meaningful.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac
If you frequently travel and enjoy reading, then it is likely that you are already well aware of On the Road, as this is a quintessential travel book that never fails to inspire. This modern classic documents the adventures and obstacles faced by narrator Sal Paradise and his companion as they travel across America in the years after the Second World War. This very book has single-handedly inspired countless adventures, and it is absolutely perfect for reading while you are on the road yourself.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Since Wild was recently turned into a major motion picture, it has gained in popularity, but the movie does not at all compare to the inspirational qualities that the book provides. An emotional memoir about a woman who hikes the entire length of the Pacific Coast Trail, this book perfectly portrays the transformations that take place when one sets out to rediscover themselves.

Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat Moon
At the age of 38, William Least Heat Moon found himself divorced and unemployed, giving him the motivation he needed to hit the road and see where it took him. Moon chose to travel mostly on non-interstate highways, resulting in an incredible 13,000 mile journey through rural America that you will not be able to put down. To top it all off, if you happen to be travelling through Missouri on your road trip, you can even stop off at the Museum of Anthropology and check out Moon’s van, which he fondly named “Ghost Dancing”.

Cross Country by Robert Sullivan
Robert Sullivan is a man who cannot get enough of the classic American road trip, and has crossed the country by car over 30 times now. His book, Cross Country, will entertain anyone who has traveled by car through America, as it is filled with fun snippets of information that Sullivan has picked up along the way. From learning about how motels started out to reading some humorous tips for back seat drivers, this book is one that is easy and fun to read.

The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson is both loved and hated by many, but there is no denying the magic that is contained in The Lost Continent. Bryson grew up in the USA but spent many years in England. Once he returned, he decided to rediscover his youth by travelling through America’s back roads. His journey of almost 14,000 miles covered so many icons of the country, from the Rocky Mountains to Mark Twain’s homes to the Amish to college towns.

A road trip is a great opportunity to catch up on some reading, and these books will all inspire you even more to make the most of your travels. From the hitch-hiking adventures of Jack Kerouac to the observant wit of Bill Bryson, these books are a must-read for anyone who enjoys travelling.

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The Perfect Stay At Home Valentine’s Date Night

Valentine’s Day is frequently treated as a day for grand gestures or to make up for mistakes as opposed to its intentions. The idea of the day was to celebrate love, but many people have ended up ignoring this fact in the face of relentless ad campaigns turning it into something more about market shares than the human spirit. How do you reclaim the holiday and turn it into something meaningful for you and a partner, though? One way to do this is to work together to create Valentine’s date night that centers itself on your home. You’ll be able to ignore all the cues of the outside world and make the celebration what you want it to be instead of being subjected to outside opinions. This involves communicating with one another to get the best results though. Let’s review the best ways you can make the most of a stay at home date night so that you know points to bring up with a partner.

Make It About Yourselves
Trying to give yourself the perfect stay at home date involves making sure it is actually about you. Don’t stick to formulaic efforts. Show you know one another instead. The best gestures are the one that shows you know and understand a partner to such a degree that you know the subtle things that can make them happy. This can be done with a gesture as simple as making sure their favorite drink or meal is available or in as big of a fashion as each of you watching a favorite movie with one another. The holiday is, after all, about what it means to share your life with another. We all blend together with our partners a little over time and showing that you know them is perhaps one of the biggest gestures of care that anyone can make when people trying to make the holiday about everything beyond such genuine gestures.

Revisit The Important Things
In keeping with the previous suggestion, you’ll get a lot out of revisiting the time you’ve shared together. Staying at home gives you the freedom to review various albums and memories with greater ease. You can create a mutual window into your shared past and see what meant a lot to each other. This can be remembering your first date together, if it was farther back, or the first time you met. Share what made you fall for one another in a quiet space. Honoring the important times like this is actually a necessary part of every healthy relationship. This is why many professionals recommend keeping concrete mementos of your relationship with a partner around your home. These serve to help reinforce and remind everyone involved about what you find important in life. Taking a little time to remember them and enjoy the memories together only serves to make this benefit more pronounced.

Couple having a romantic evening at home
Discuss What You Want
On such an important day it is also important to remember to constantly talk with one another and check in. Remembering the good times and ensuring the sights, sounds, and smells are all something you share can lead people to have particular expectations. Talk to one another regularly about how you feel the evening is going and what you would like out of it rather than making assumptions. Some people will want to make the evening even more amorous while others will prefer a nice, calm evening simply made of sharing time with one another. Checking in helps ensure everyone knows the expectations going on and thereby allows these expectations to be negotiated. Talking about them openly ensures that the evening will be more likely to be a positive experience for everyone involved instead of a point of contention later. Putting in the effort to make sure your Valentine’s Day date is another positive experience that will help foster a healthy relationship.

Having a stay-at-home Valentine’s date isn’t something to be ashamed of in the least. Many people opt to do it every year to stay away from the false commercialism that has surrounded the idea of honoring relationships. Reclaim it by remembering what symbolizes your relationship with a partner and making the evening about each of you instead of false symbols. Combining this with regular communication on expectations will help you have a loving and memorable at-home date.

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Rules That Help Relationships Last

We tend to hope that all our relationships will last no matter our age. There are exceptions, of course, for less than healthy relationships, but on whole those of us in satisfying ones don’t want them to end. This does take work, though. Many of us end up confused by the way media portrays the idea of true love as being flawless and unable to be broken by anything. It honestly doesn’t work like that. Love is as much about choice and compromise as it is about that passionate feeling inside. Each of us needs to work with a given partner to help sustain that feeling and ensure we’re able to work together as equals. Putting in this effort to understand and cooperate is ultimately what helps relationships to last. Who knew love was an effort in the long run? Fortunately, it is relatively easy to summarize some major points about the kind of emotional labor that goes into maintaining a relationship. Let’s review a few so we can all see how well we’re doing.

Equal Standing
A big predictor of relationship instability is the balance of power with a relationship. People tend to have long-lasting relationships with people who are their equals. A sense of superiority or inferiority in a relationship tends to sour the ability to get along with one’s partner over time. They lead to unrealistic demands on the self or others that gradually erodes any foundation of feelings that were there at one point. What we need, psychologically speaking, is someone capable of standing toe-to-toe with us and remain willing to challenge our decisions while suggesting alternatives rather than insisting on their way or meekly declining to contribute. The equality of discussion helps to work out the compromises that form the solid foundation of a healthy relationship all while helping to teach each person about the other. Not having the ability to have a discussion of equals leads to dissatisfaction that will eventually harm even the strongest relationships.

Share Experiences
Have you ever felt bored in a relationship? It is a comparatively common feeling that most of us have felt at one point or another. This feeling isn’t about feeling too safe or comfortable in a relationship like some people would have you think, but is instead about how things don’t really change. It is important in any relationship to inject novelty into your lives from time to time. Seek out and share mutual experiences that you haven’t had before. This helps to keep you actively invested in your partner and creates more fond memories through the act of engaging in these novel activities. This can be anything from taking a dance class to going on new adventures around the globe. Novel experiences are the key. You bond better with others when you share experiences with them and the novelty helps to create sense of newness even within a long-standing relationship. In summary, share things with one another so that you can experience the world together if you want to keep your relationship healthy.

Couple talking
Talk About It
In keeping with what we highlighted earlier, it is important to remember that we’re all going to mess up in a relationship. There is no way to avoid ever making a mistake. You’re human and so is your partner. You’re going to annoy, anger, and frustrate one another on a relatively regular basis. That’s not a sign that your relationship is bad. What determines that is how you react to those negative emotions. It comes back around to why it is important to have a relationship between equals: you’re going to need to talk about these things. Leaving any negative emotion unaddressed in a relationship isn’t going to foster a lasting or healthy one. Things need to be addressed relatively soon after they come up in a healthy way. You’ll need to sit down and discuss what went wrong as adults and identify where mistakes were made. This helps to give you both perspective on the situation while also ensuring that no one considers the other one lesser for “not having an excuse”. Talking through things is an important skill for any long-lasting relationship.

True love isn’t like what people try to make you think it is in the movies. It was, is, and always will be work. Those hypothetical grandparents or great-grandparents that met in high school and eventually died shortly after 50+ years of marriage had to work hard to get that far. You and any partner you have aren’t the exception. Some people will find it easier to address these points we’ve highlighted than others, but in the end these are some of the best ways to help any relationship last.

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You Can Take The Ultimate Nap

Most of us have had those days in which we just start to drag even before noon. Those days end up happening for a lot of reasons, but one of the most common is that we simply failed to get enough sleep the night before. A lack of sleep isn’t good for us in any sense and that gradual loss of energy and wakefulness that starts weighing us down needs to be addressed in some fashion. Many people opt to turn to caffeine for a boost, but this isn’t the best long term solution. You honestly want to be doing what you can to give your body and mind genuine rest if you want to truly recover instead of simply postponing when you hit your limits. In short, you’re going to want to take a nap. This isn’t the easiest thing in the world though and many of us have trouble figuring out how to nap properly. There are a few tricks and techniques you can use that can help you get in the best nap possible during what little time you have though.

The Rest Is Important
Naps can be stressful affairs for a lot of us when we feel the need for it, but having difficulty getting in the actual nap. This stress makes it more difficult to get in the rest we need. With that in mind, it is important to recognize that just setting aside a half hour or so to rest and relax is the important part. Lay down, close your eyes, and simply relax. Falling asleep is a good outcome, but it isn’t the only way to get back a little energy. Accept that you might not drift off, but commit to the rest. Lay there and try to keep your mind clear of the things you were doing and the things you need to do after your nap. The simple act of taking a break and clearing your mind can do wonders for helping you to feel a little rested all on its own. It allows you to return to a project with a fresh perspective afterwards instead of one cluttered by the accumulated worries of the day. You might be surprised to find this is often enough to help many people get to sleep.

Timing Rules
What you want out of a nap is to feel just rested enough to keep going, but not so rested that you have difficulty functioning afterwards. This means learning a little about how your brain functions when you sleep. Restful, deep sleep is typically known as “REM Sleep”. This is the point where you experience rapid eye movement (REM) and your brain is sorting through the business of the day. You’re dreaming during this part of sleep. Waking during REM sleep isn’t ideal as it disrupts your mind and puts you off balance. You’ll typically wake both groggy and still tired if disturbed at this point. As a result, you want to time your naps properly and stick to them. Most professionals suggest that you should rest slightly under half an hour, roughly 20 minutes, before having an alarm wake you. This will let you get some rest without your body entering into REM sleep. However, you can aim for an hour and a half if you have the time. This will take you through one full sleep cycle and potentially leave you feeling more refreshed. It does require a compatible schedule though.

Customize Your Environment
You want to ensure you’re resting in a place that is actually conducive to you getting in a nap. This can take a little hunting if you’re not at home or can’t go there, but it is possible. A good way is to create a good environment if at all possible. One of the keys to doing this is helping to ensure that your environment is not prone to sudden, loud noises that could disturb your rest. This is particularly important if you expect to actually fall asleep. You might consider putting on light, ambient music or noise that helps you relax such as ocean sounds. Using aromatherapy has also been suggested as a way to ensure that you get a better rest. Comforting scents further relax those within the environment and let them slip away. Lastly, you’re going to want to make it cooler in the room if you can. Most people actually fall asleep better if the air has a light, pleasant cool to it. This generally means aiming for somewhere around 67 degree Fahrenheit. Within a few degrees of that, many of us have an easier time getting to sleep and staying that way.

Taking a good nap involves juggling a few factors beforehand if you can. Creating a good environment goes a long way towards helping, but you’ll want to make sure that you don’t sleep so much that you make things worse by leaving yourself lethargic upon waking up. Don’t feel too bad if you don’t get to sleep though. In the end, committing to taking the break and just laying there is often enough to help you get the rest you need.

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Carving Out Much Needed Alone Time

Learning to carve out alone time is one of those life skills that it always seems like we keep putting off. After all, there’s always time later, right? You’ve got whatever project you’re working on in front of you now and there are other things you need to do to ensure things go smoothly in other areas of your life as well. It just doesn’t necessarily seem like you need to set aside the time for some as seemingly pretentious as “alone time”. In truth, we all need time to decompress or we’ll be overtaken by everything in our lives at once. Alone time is vital for sorting our thoughts, ensuring we can hear ourselves think, and making sure that there is some small window of time that is our own in a world that demands of us constantly. How do you find the time though? We’re going to discuss this so that you can learn some useful tactics for finding a way to carve out alone time in your life.

Set Boundaries
This is a difficult option for a lot of us. We try to be helpful to the people we know and love just as much as we try to be productive at our work. This leads to a situation where it is all too easy to compromise our time by continually agreeing to do things. You need to think about and set boundaries in your life that help define what you need from it as opposed to what others need from you. For instance, think about all the times your weekends might have been compromised by you making a promise or saying you’d take care of something. There’s nothing shameful it telling someone that you’re not the one to help this time and that you need that time for something else. This can be particularly important for those of us with demanding jobs as it can feel hard to say no. Working with those around you to find a solution is ultimately the only way you’ll manage to set boundaries on your time when it comes to work. Other are still hard, but most of the time friends will understand that you’ve got something else going on that day.

Clear the Clutter
To really find time in your life you’re going to want to reassess all the things going on in your life. Reflexively making commitments doesn’t help any of us. Learning to set boundaries will help stop you from doing this, but you need to ensure that you clear away anything that built up before you started looking for alone time in your life. Social gatherings with your close friends and family are important, but you might want to drop a few of the ones that simply include acquaintances. It will ensure your time is going where you want it to rather than going everywhere else. Additionally, think about the projects you want to get done. There are some that actually need to get done, but then there are the one’s you just want to get done for one reasons or another. These are easier to set a pace for so that you don’t feel the need to do them all at once. Cutting away gatherings you’re not really interested in going to and pacing yourself on your personal goals can do a lot to free up a little more time.

Woman relaxing at night
Nightly Solace
Our last suggestion should hopefully work even if you can’t use any of the previous ones. All you really need to do is turn off your alerts in the evening. Part of what gets us into a position where it seems we always have something to do is that we make ourselves eternally available. You can set boundaries and clear the clutter all you want, but people will keep asking if you don’t take concrete steps to securing your own alone time. So turn off your phone and desktop alerts after a certain hour in the evening. This will prevent you from getting drawn into something when you’re too tired to really care. You’ll be better able to relax this way. Turning off your alerts will let you enjoy something uninterrupted for once. That alone is good, but carving out a little time before bed can do wonders for your stress levels as well as ensuring you get a good night’s sleep.

Carving out some alone time can be a frustratingly difficult proposition sometimes, but it is doable. You’ll need to learn to assert your right to have your own time though while making sure to clear out anything built up clutter in your life. This should help immensely in helping you find the time. Admittedly, you can also get a little from just turning off all your alerts in the evening so no one can drag you into anything when you’re too sleepy to protest. Consider using these tips in your life. After all, we all need time to decompress.

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Signs of Aging That You Can’t See

Many of us get caught up in things when we start to experience signs of aging. It makes sense. A touch of grey and crows feet tend to have a way of reminding us that we can’t evade time forever. Sometimes it feels like a personal affront by the universe itself. After all, we all know what we’re supposed to look like and having that taken away is difficult. We all need to learn to make peace with the signs of aging though. The best we can typically do is ensure that the signs are minimal so that we age as gracefully as possible. There needs to be caution when doing this though. It is easy for us to get caught up in the visible signs of aging and forget there are plenty that we can’t see. Taking proper care of ourselves as the years advance is the best way to help ensure that neither the visible nor the invisible signs of aging catch up with us in a harsh way. Let’s review what we all need to stay aware of as time passes.

Hearing Issues
This is one of the more insidious signs of aging that can happen to any of us. Poor hearing can be hard to notice or at the very least acknowledge as it comes in fits and starts until it becomes undeniable. The fits and starts are particularly bad for us though. Disagreements become more common as personal pride gets in the way of us asking for someone to clarifying what they said. Many people can end up withdrawing from things they enjoy based on a sense of shame that they can’t follow along like they once did too. Overall, hearing loss leads to a loss of far more if it isn’t dealt with early and with careful knowledge. It is best to defer to the judgment of others and pay attention as we age to ensure that hearing loss has greater difficulty creeping into our lives. However, this isn’t the only insidious sign of aging that we need to stay aware of to keep healthy.

Loss of Vitality
We tend to expect this in the form of tiredness or general fatigue, but the body slowly gives way in a more subtle fashion as we age. The wearing down happens at a cellular level that is hard to truly track directly. This is what leads to increasing problems without skin and organs. Our bodies, simply put, weren’t built to last. That makes it important to keep track of the changes that are invisible unless you’re looking for them. Be mindful of bruising as you age. It becomes far easier as the skin wears away and we lose some bodily awareness. What makes this worse is that bones gradually lose out as well without any outward signs. We all need to start moving a little more carefully with age because of this. Additionally, joints start to wear down because the collagen in the area isn’t being properly replenished like it once was. This impacts your skin too, but that’s the half of the problem where it is actually visible.

Woman working
Mental Miasma
Tracking your own cognition isn’t the easiest thing in the world. We generally need to rely on those around us to let us know if something odd is happening, but it pays to check in with yourself regularly by doing various activities to see if you’re still okay. Generally you’ll want to be indulging is a hobby that requires a little extra processing than day-to-day life to help get an idea if there are any issues. You might also want to keep a journal of any issues you’re experiencing like memory issues that people bring up to you. The good news is that these habits can help fight back against memory issues too. These habits help keep you mentally alert and exercising various parts of your mind. You can also do with by learning new skills and interacting with others regularly. It is the best way to help ensure that we all minimize the worst potential invisible sign of aging.

All of these signs are, to one degree or another, things that we have to learn to live with eventually. That doesn’t mean we have to accept them without challenge though. All signs of aging should be challenged to keep us looking and feeling our best for as long as we can. That helps to ensure that we’ll get the most out of our lives regardless of the sad facts of time.

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