Monthly Archive: November 2014

Exercise Becomes More Important As We Age

cyclists-669809-mDespite their ages, most people won’t have done a great deal of regular exercise since they were in high school. So when they retire and want to improve their golf game, keep up with grandchildren or stay active in the bedroom, they need to see their health professional for a complete check-up before embarking on an intensive exercise program. It’s important to get an evaluation of the potential risks of orthopedic injuries, heart attacks and/or strokes.

Once the doctor has given the OK, retired people are advised to invest in themselves by hiring a professional trainer for a few session to help them set goals, teach them the exercises to meet those goals and avoid the injuries that might come with going about it incorrectly.

A sports-med doctor at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery, Jordan Metzl, suggests that one way to accomplish their fitness goals is to find something they like to do and join a group that is doing that activity. Groups provide encouragement and motivation plus a social element that might be missing from their lives otherwise.

The Benefits of Regular Exercise

According to many studies, exercise reduces the risks associated with heart disease, strokes, Type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression, anxiety, cognitive disorders/decline and bone fractures. Additionally, exercise can significantly improve memory, mood, concentration and sleep patterns.

In fact, for many people regular physical activity can be equally effective to medication in reducing the incidences of premature deaths in those who have previously had strokes or heart attacks. With a regular program of exercise, people may be able to reduce the amount of medication they’re taking (under their doctor’s supervision, of course).

Governmental Guidelines for Physical Activity

For the greatest benefit, adults need to take 2½ hours or more of moderate to intensive physical activity or 1¼ hrs vigorous activity every week. This can involve walking briskly, swimming laps, or jogging. Aerobic exercise can be broken down into 10 minute sessions. Greater health benefits will be obtained with 2½ hours of vigorous physical activity or 5 hours of moderately intense physical activities every week.
To strengthen all of the major muscle groups, adults need to do moderate or highly intensive resistance training on two or more days every week. Exercises should involve the lower legs, hips, abdomen, upper legs, back, chest and shoulders. Exercises can include gardening tasks such as carrying heavy loads, hoeing or digging, as well as gym-based ones like using machines or free weights, resistance bands and calisthenics such as push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, etc.
Some people may be hindered by their physical condition and/or a disability, but even older or disabled people need to exercise as much as their situation allows. Exercise to improve balance can really benefit those at risk of falling.

With people living longer and the ever increasing problem of obesity even among older people, continuing to stay physically active is becoming even more important for overall physical and mental well-being. Many health clubs are now offering special rates, classes and times to retired people, but even without going to the gym regularly, older people need to remember that the health benefits of 150 minutes of exercise every week will help them live a longer and healthier life.

At any time of life, sports injuries can happen. For information, advice and help contact the highly qualified and experienced SportsMed team of specialists in orthopaedics, neurosurgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation, pain management and podiatry, plus other areas of medicine. They can help to put you back on your feet.

Where & How to Use Cheap Carpeting

Many types of carpeting are simple to install yourself and you can do so without spending lots of money.

There are many options to consider when thinking about the types of carpet you can get on a tight budget. For instance, carpet samples can create a very colorful and dramatic design for a child’s room, a family room, TV/media room, playroom, basement or porch.

Carpet samples or carpet squares can also be used very effectively and inexpensively in trailers or mobile homes. You might, however want to think carefully about using this option if you intend to sell your mid- or higher-priced home in the near future. Unless you make the samples very easy to remove, they could affect the value and selling price of your home.

Types of Carpet

When money is tight, we have to be more creative in what we use for the solutions to flooring problems. Carpet samples can work out well, especially if you can manage to get similar types of carpet samples in the quantity you need.

Samples usually cost around 25¢ each but you’ll probably have to find somewhere that is having a closeout sale or a DIY store or carpet shop that are selling off samples which are no longer current. The one drawback is that samples may be of all sorts of different types, styles and heights of carpeting so putting them together is like doing a life-size puzzle.

A better answer might be to use carpet squares, they are inexpensive and if one, or several squares are damaged you won’t have to take up the whole carpet. Depending on the quality, these can cost from $1 upwards.

Installing the Carpet

Usually, the only fixings you need to put down either samples or carpet squares on wooden floors are staples, carpet tape or heavy duty glue. If putting them down on cement floors such as in basements or on porches, glue would be the better way to fix them down. You might also need a carpet knife or Stanley knife to make the squares fit around heating sources, doors, stairs, etc.

Five-eights inch staples should do the trick when put along each side. Be sure to get the head of the stapler down between the fibers so the staples are well hidden. If you want to use padding as well, fixing the carpet squares or samples may be a bit more challenging.

Before beginning your carpet laying project, measure the area you intend to cover and estimate how many pieces you’ll need. Source the carpet squares or samples, try to get the same size squares if possible. This will make life far easier as you fix them to the floor. You may want to lay all the pieces out on the floor before fixing them, just to make sure the colors fit together nicely.

Then start in the middle of the floor, never from an edge. The reason for this is that if your room isn’t perfectly square, you may have to cut every square to a different size as you get closer to the edges of the room. You won’t really want to see all these cuts in the middle of the room.

Inexpensive carpeting can look good in the right situation, especially if you’ve done a bit of design work by matching colors and styles. It gives you the best carpet value.

How to Brew the Best Coffee

cafeandcookie-1412145-mAll over the world, people enjoy coffee. Although coffee can be brewed using all sorts of different equipment, it is available in many varieties, flavors, blends and strengths. Basically, there is a coffee to suit just about every taste. Most coffee drinkers can’t even think about the day without their first cup and, of course the accompanying slug of caffeine.
Many of us stop at the nearest coffeehouse and ask our favorite barista for the latte, Americano, cappucino, moccaccino, espresso, single, double, etc., etc. that gets us going. We can enjoy all of these, but are we as likely to know how to make the best coffee at home?

Start With the Water

Water from the tap, while safe to drink, often doesn’t help the flavor of your coffee and since coffee is just about 99% water, you’ve got to get that right. Unfiltered water has elements such as chlorine, carbonate hardness, mineral content, tannins and other natural deposits that can affect the taste. And, of course, limescale can be a significant problem in certain areas. Did you know that limescale is the cause of approx. 95% of all coffee equipment failures?

So start with cold water and protect your equipment and the taste of your brew by using filtered or bottled, but never distilled or softened water.
Filtered water that is just below the boiling point (89-94°F) is the optimum to extract the oil from freshly ground coffee beans. If the water isn’t hot enough, the coffee will be weak, if it’s too hot, the coffee may taste bitter or sour.

The Coffee Beans

Besides the water, the better the beans, the better the coffee in your cup. Try lots of different beans and find the ones you like best, get whole beans, then grind your own as you need it. Be sure the grind is correct for the type of coffee maker you are using. Store in a air-tight container in the fridge.
There are many different countries producing coffee beans but it’s the roasting that makes a real difference to the flavor. The lighter roasts will have lots of flavor and aroma, while the darker roasts tend to be flavourful but heavier and can often be somewhat bitter.

Use the Right Equipment

With so many different types of coffee makers on the market, one can get very confused. Filter coffee machines allow water to drip slowly through the ground coffee. A cafetière or French Press steeps the coffee after hot water is poured over the coarser grounds, which are then pressed down. Pod or single serve coffee makers drip water from a reservoir through the capsule containing the coffee, tea, chocolate or flavored coffee. Percolators are making a comeback but can often make extra strong coffee. The stove top espresso makers work well but can be dangerous since the water is boiled in a chamber under the coffee and forced at very high temperature through the coffee grounds. They have been known to explode!
Finally, if you are really into brewing espressos, lattes or cappuccinos, one of the speciality coffee makers may be for you. While some make regular coffee s well, these speciality machines can be very expensive and fairly large.
Never reheat your coffees, especially not in a microwave and keep your equipment clean to avoid the bitter oils that will spoil the taste. If you have one of the pod-type makers and need sensibly-priced refills visit http://www.my-cap.com.

Organize Your Life With Chalkboard Labels

chalkboard-stickersxLately, in every magazine, we are seeing the use of chalkboard paint, in kid’s rooms, in the kitchen, in the utility room, in the home office, even in the living room. Having a wall to write or doodle on is great but not everyone wants chalkboards that cover an entire wall.

So why not go for something a bit smaller, namely chalkboard labels.

They work just the same – write on with chalk or a chalk pen and wipe off. But the labels allow you to get everything organized and have a pretty border to make your organization elegant as well.

  • Label all your jars, boxes, tins, etc. in the kitchen so you can tell the different between the dried beans and the peanuts,
  • Use them on the fridge door instead of stick-ons that don’t stay stuck. Some could be used for the shopping list or for reminders or for notes to members of the family, etc.
  • Organize all the jars in the fridge, never be surprised again by the unlabeled contents of your jars.
  • They can be used for gifts-in-jars or bottles, such as for a cookie mix in a jar to identify the contents and for the instructions and the recipe.
  • Use them to identify doors to the bathroom, children’s rooms, the office, etc.
  • They are great for identifying the contents of boxes, tins, jars, drawers etc.
  • In a craft room, identify the contents of the little vials of beads and other jewellery-making bits by labeling each vial then putting them inside a coffee or other type of tin and labeling that. You could even use the same color chalk pen for the color of the beads or bits inside.
  • Organize all the screws, nails and other stuff in the garage.
  • Use at parties, cookouts or weddings to identify whose glass/plate belongs to whom.
  • Identify to whom a book belongs by sticking on a chalkboard label with your name on it.
  • Teach kids to get organized by labeling their drawers, boxes, cupboards, etc.
  • Use them for art or science projects to label everything.

The list of uses is actually limited only by your imagination.

The chalkboard labels put out by Live With Flair® are high quality vinyl which continue to look good and last a long time, come in packs of 24, in two different sizes.

  • are easy to peel off and re-stick,
  • are easy to write on and wipe off, use either chalk or chalk pens (with chalk pens be sure to wait until they dry completely before using the container),
  • are dishwasher safe,
  • come with a lifetime guarantee for 100% satisfaction,
  • have specials every so often like buy 3, get one free or get a free chalkboard marker with purchase.
  • Remember you can always reposition the sticker or wipe off the message and write a new one.

So, don’t be left out of the chalkboard revolution, get your labels and stick them on anything that doesn’t move!

Increase the Value of Your Home – Remodel the Kitchen

kitchen-details-2-455372-mMany homeowners are choosing to alter or remodel their homes rather than moving since selling a house can be a long, stressful, drawn-out affair. But what remodeling project will give you the best ROI (return on investment)?

The rooms considered most important as remodeling projects are the kitchen, bathroom and master bedroom (in that order) since those are the rooms most people spend most of their time.

There are other cosmetic changes you can make to your home that could significantly increase its sale price. But, according to Remodeling Magazine, minor kitchen improvements will recoup roughly 83% of your investment, depending on the housing market at the time of your sale.

You’ll never get that kind of ROI from adding a swimming pool or sun room or even a major bathroom project. A well-done improvement or upgrade of the kitchen will also shorten the time your house is on the market, in other words, you’ll get to move more quickly.

Minor Remodeling

Improving the kitchen will also improve the quality of life while you’re still living in the house, perhaps so much so that you won’t want to move!

Depending on your budget, your kitchen refurbishment will be small or extensive. A minor improvement or upgrade can be relatively inexpensive and quick and could include:

  • new fronts for cabinet doors and drawers or
  • painting the cabinets and walls or
  • replacing the cabinet hardware or
  • improving/updating the lighting fixtures or
  • replacing counter tops and appliances or
  • improving, replacing or just a really deep cleaning of the flooring.

If your budget will stretch to it, adding features such as soft-close drawers and doors can add comparable value to ripping out the old cabinets and replacing them with high-end ones.

Planning and Executing the Changes

Whenever you’re thinking about changes to your living spaces, planning is crucial. Looking in magazines, kitchen/DIY design websites, remodeling programs on TV and show homes will give you ideas about what’s trendy and how some of these clever changes can be done on a shoestring budget.

Next, talk to people in stores specializing in home improvement and design. Simplygood4u.com is a great example. Show them what you have in mind and get as much advice as possible, plus costings, information about what products to use and maybe even names of people who can do the jobs you don’t want to tackle.

Keep the style of your home uppermost in mind with whatever changes you decide to make. Unless very carefully done, putting a contemporary kitchen into a Victorian house or mixing a cottage-style kitchen with a high tech home could prove disastrous. A poor mix of styles could actually decrease the value of your home.

Keeping your remodeling in character with the rest of the house should ensure potential buyers will be able to see themselves living in the house you want to sell.