Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Cleaning Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easy

House chores can seem like a never ending task, especially when it involves cleaning. No matter how many hours you invest, no matter how many products you use, there are certain cleaning jobs where everything seems to fail. So what happens then? You just spend hours scrubbing and praying that the stains come off. Now this might make sense every once in a while, but you can't do this every day as it would result in wastage of your time and energy.

To give you a peace of mind and a sense of balance, here is a list of guaranteed cleaning hacks that will not only save time, but will clean your messy living place within minutes.

Baking Soda for those Never-ending Stains
There are certain stains that seem to drain the life out of you. And if those stains are driving your OCD crazy then you need to get your hands on baking soda as soon as possible. Baking soda, with its neutral chemical state and slightly higher pH value is a magic ingredient and is known to suck up and clean even the most stubborn of stains easily. For instance, baking soda with vegetable oils can clean the greasiest stains on your kitchen cabinets, Baking soda with vinegar can clean your ovens and stoves easily and even sprinkling baking soda on a fresh stains can draw them out instantly.

Getting a Grip on the Hair Bunnies
There are dust bunnies and then there are hair bunnies when you get pets. And when it comes to pet hair, everything fails. Even if you vacuum your house 24/7 , it still won't help. This is why you need to work smart, not hard. For pet hair, use dryer sheets and micro-fiber clothe for dusting. Using lint rollers on your furniture will save you from those extra hours of cleaning as well. You can also get yourself specialized vacuum cleaners as these were designed to get rid of dander and suck up fine pet hair instantly.

Cleaning Wooden Furniture like a Pro
Wooden surfaces hold stains on them for dear life. You can easily trace water rings on your wooden tables, even if it’s been months since that little interaction between the glass and table. So how do you tidy these surfaces up? First, take vinegar and mix olive oil in it. Then rub it on the stain and wipe it with a clean cloth. Apply a wet cloth over the stain and bring out your hair-dryer to dry the surface. Then, refresh the surface with a coat of olive oil and your wooden table will be clear in no time.

Bathroom Clean-up in Seconds
The grimiest grout can be found in bathrooms, all thanks to the constant use of water. Due to this, we tend to use many toxic chemicals and acids in our bathrooms, risking our health as well. To save yourself from this hassle and for a sparkling clean bathroom, here are the things that can give you an equally clean bathroom- lemon, vinegar, baking soda and bleach (optional). The baking soda and bleach should be reserved for those rusty, grim stains in the corners, while vinegar and lemon juice will clean up your taps and accessories.

The best part about all these hacks is that they will help you save money and effort and most of these items are already sitting in your house cabinets!

7 Great Ways to Combat Air Pollution

Air is a vital resource to any living organism. An average human breathes in over 3000 gallons of air (oxygen) each day. Whilst the air contains essential elements, it still gets polluted. Polluting the air means introducing materials into the atmosphere which are harmful to any living organism. The air pollutants come in two categories: Air pollutants and Secondary air pollutants.

The primary pollutants come directly from the source while the secondary pollutants are compounds converted to harmful substances through chemical reactions. According to studies, close to 5 million people die every year as a direct result of air pollution and many of them from indoor air pollution.

Indoor air pollution is not a new phenomenon in our homes. Indoor air pollution comes from various sources such as modern furniture, fireplaces and stoves, paints and solvents, cleaning products, fumes from garages, mold, bacteria, and cigarette smoke. Fortunately, there are some great tricks you can implement in order to combat indoor air pollution. These are the seven best:

Identify the source of air pollution
When you identify the source, you will be in an excellent position to know how and which methods you can use to stop the source from spreading. The common causes of indoor air pollution include particulate matter, ground-level ozone, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and lead. However, the primary source for most indoor air pollution is the ground-level ozone caused by the reaction of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds.

Regularly opening the windows
This is an essential way to combat indoor air pollution, so long as the air outside is considered safe. In some cities, this may not be the case, but for most of us it is. By opening the windows daily, you will be allowing fresh air into the house which also improves the circulation of air as it will allow the fumes to quickly exit your home while the fresh air is quickly getting in.

Regularly cleaning air filters
Vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, and air conditioners play a key role in maintaining the quality of air indoors. However, their filters may become weak due to the accumulation of particles of dust and other materials. Regular cleaning of the air filters will increase their effectiveness, which will in turn minimize contaminants in the air more efficiently.

Plant more plants
Some plants such as the English Ivy and Peace Lily are very instrumental in minimizing the amount of carbon monoxide in the air. These plants act the same way as the human liver. They can filter dangerous compounds and harmful chemicals from the air. They do this by absorbing the toxins and ‘digesting' them through their stems and roots and finally out through the soil. Other plants that you may consider are the bamboo palm and any of the Dracaena trees.

Use lead-free products and paints
Lead is one of the more dangerous air pollutants. Lead is in most of the products and paints we use at home. Even some of the toys your children play with can contain a dangerous amount of lead. Always check to ensure they are lead-free by calling the manufacturers of that specific product. It is also important to always check electric and gas appliances to ensure there are no leaks or shorts in the wiring. Also, avoid burning trash as it may contain materials made from lead. Check for the right way of disposing of waste or contact the relevant authorities that deal with garbage.

Get a humidifier or dehumidifier
If you are living in wet areas, you will also have to combat indoor air pollution. There is minimal dust in wet areas but a higher proportion of dust mites and molds as they tend to thrive in humid areas. In this scenario it is highly advisable to get a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier will reduce the humidity levels, therefore, making your home less vulnerable to mildew, mold, and dust mites. On the other hand, if you are living in dry areas consider getting a humidifier. A humidifier will increase the amount of humidity in the air. By having a sufficient amount of moisture in the air, it will mean less opportunity for dust and other air pollutants to circulate and will significantly reduce nasal dryness and makes it easier to breathe in air which by now should be getting a lot cleaner.

Get an air purifier
The final touch to really take care of the problem once and for all, is to install an air purifier. The basic concept behind air purifiers is to remove most of the air pollutants that cause discomfort as possible. Air purifiers function by filtering out the harmful particles such as dust, pollen, and other contaminants from fumes and paints through several different filters before finally blowing out the clean filtered air out the other side. Good air purifiers will come with HEPA filters, that are capable of removing 99.9% of all airborne particles.

You need to pay close attention to the size of room each air purifier is capable of dealing with. If the rooms in your house are on the large side, you may have to get a fairly big purifier in order to handle the extra work load.

We're now starting to recognize that people living in different environments require different machines to fully purify the air. For example if you live in dry climate, in the past you would have required both an air purifier and a humidifier in order to fully clean the air in your home. As technology has advanced in the past few years, you can now buy all in one humidifier/air purifiers that can clean the air at the same time as adding a bit of humidity to it – both actions significantly reducing the harmful elements contained in the air.

If you put all these steps into practice, the air inside your home will be cleaner than you ever imagined possible. There's a wide range of health benefits of clean air in your home, some of which you may never have considered.

You Are What You Eat

All too often, people get caught up in body image and how unhealthy eating leads to obesity, but there is much more to the food we eat than merely how it affects aesthetics. The right foods have the power to transform your mental health, improve memory, and even make you more receptive to learning. The phrase, “you are what you eat” should not just be used when referring to how we look, but should be considered an important reference to how best to care for your mind.

How to eat happy
Most people will experience low mood at some point in their lives, and there are those that will be prone to more depressive states. Research has shown that certain foods and the way in which we eat can improve our mood and lessen the occurrences of mood swings. Something as simple as too much, or too little sugar can cause our mood to dip, and the term “hangry” is more than just a marketing ploy. When we are hungry we are more likely to be irritable which is why it is important to eat regular, healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. Healthline.com cites research undertaken by The University of Illinois, which reveals that eating meals and snacks at the same time each day keeps blood sugar levels steady, and therefore assists with mood. It is important to see a medical professional if you are experiencing frequent dips in mood as there could be an underlying problem.

Brain food
Takeout, fast food, sweets and crisps are not the foods you need to improve either your physical health or your brain power. Like any other part of your body, the brain requires sustenance to ensure it is performing at its best. Concentration and focus can be helped with a steady supply of energy that can be released via the consumption of wholegrains, rice and pasta. The solution for improving short-term memory could be as simple as eating blueberries that contain anthocyanins. Our bodies cannot naturally produce Essential Fatty Acid, or EFAs, which is why we need to eat foods high in these such as walnuts, pumpkin seeds and soya beans. These types of food have been found to help prevent Dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease, which are more likely to occur in patients that do not regularly consume foods containing EFAs. Further information about how diet impacts on the brain, pop over to online resource, Examined Existence, which discusses the issue of memory loss how certain diets can help to prevent it.

Eating and exercise
The combination of healthy foods and exercise can transform not only the way you look, but the way you think. Exercise helps with the release of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that enhance your mood. It is also the case that a person that exercises is less likely to crave unhealthy foods, as your body will want food laden with vitamins, minerals and healthy fats and carbohydrates to replenish energy after a work-out.

Eat well to feel better.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Would You Make Your Kid Ride A Bike For 60 Minutes?

Childhood is full of so much hyperactive wonder. Mudpies and butterflies, as my grandmother used to say. Today's urbanized world forces us to pay closer attention to making sure our children get enough exercise. These poor kids spend so much time at school, and we as parents spend so much time at work, that is difficult to make sure they get enough play time in the few daylight hours remaining. As a result, we must become very intentional about keeping them engaged in activities.

Most parents are right about this. They enroll their children in a variety of sports. Everything from soccer to baseball, and sometimes they get them enrolled in multiple sports at once. This has the frustrating side effect of piling even more events into the parent's busy day. But, for the family who prioritizes an active lifestyle, a busy night of practices is about the only option.

Bikes As The Ultimate Family Workout
Cycling is quickly becoming a favorite family past time for families across America. It's a sport that almost all of us grew up doing. And, as the adage is "You don't forget how to ride a bike." If you are a savvy shopper, you can find cheap bikes for the whole family online stores, like DavesCheapBikes.com. Include them in the bike-shopping process. As a kid, there is almost nothing more exciting than getting your very own bicycle. Add in a bike trailer and some bikes for the older kids, and suddenly you have sport the entire family can readily engage in.

Miles of biking trails cross almost every urban city and they offer an extremely safe environment for the entire family to go riding. Suddenly, getting your kid enough activity becomes a matter of nothing more than putting helmets on and sending them out to pedal aroundIf you want to increase the challenge for them, you can get on your bike and take them on a longer ride.

Many families make it a nightly activity. In some cases, if you are near the bike trail, you can load the bikes up in the car and drive to the nearest trail for a fun evening of pedaling. For the weekend, longer bike rides can be a real treat. Pack a lunch and start in the morning when it is cool. Wrap up the day with a picnic at the park.

How Much Exercise Is Recommended For Children?
The CDC is considered the authority on this. They recommend sixty minutes of cardiovascular activity for your kids every day. An hour a day of bike riding might seem like quite a bit. However, considering the rate of Childhood obesity in the world today, it makes a lot of sense. Only fifty years ago, televisions were much less, and children spent the bulk of their day outside. In light of that, an hour of activity makes sense as a bare minimum. But we have to be smart about it. Especially if we are increasing our kid's activity level. 

How Much Exercise is Too Much For Kids?
When we adults think of exercise, we think of "going for a run" or engaging in some other high-intensity activity for a set rate of time. Adults are good at pacing themselves. Kids haven't fully developed those skillsets yet. They naturally want to go in sprints. Run hard, rest. Bike hard, rest. Play hard, rest. These micro-exercising moments are natural and help the child find their pace and their balance.

It is essential to encourage your kids to keep playing and keep staying active. However, do so with these "micro-bursts" in mind. You might get them to pedal to "the stop sign." And then you take a little break before you pedal "to the white mailbox." As they get older, the amount of exercise that they complete between their moments of rest should also increase. So you might have them go one lap around the block. And then two laps. Pretty soon you have a kid who is doing multiple laps around the block, and it becomes essential to make sure they are listening to their body and staying safe.

How To Keep Your Kids Safe While Exercising
Just as with adults, it is easy to push kids too hard when they first begin exercising. They have to learn their limits. Even more importantly, they need to master balance and self-awareness. With children spending so much of their lives forced into a sedentary lifestyle, our children have lost the normal awareness of themselves. This lack of motor finesse puts the kids at risk for injuries. Trip and falls, sprains and broken bones are risks that kids face, anyhow.

However, when you take a child that has spent most of their life in low-risk activities and then move them up to normal-risk activities, you have to be careful not to overdrive them. Tiredness also pushes the risk of injury. So increase your kids' exposure to sport at a slow and steady rate. Hydration is also critical. Heat stroke is a genuine threat and often children have not learned to listen to the warning signs of thirst and hunger. It may be a little over-kill, but make a game out of drinking fluids while they exercise. Each child should have a readily available source of water and should be encouraged to drink even when they are not thirsty. Over time, they will develop a healthy sense of thirst, but it often takes a little while before that sense is fully developed. Meanwhile, your proactive technique will keep them safe and build the habit of drinking plenty of fluids.

Whether it is cycling or soccer, keeping your kid active is one of the most significant challenges you will face as a parent. It also provides the opportunity to create some of the most rewarding memories.

13 Ways To Quit Drinking This Summer

The summer is fast approaching, and that means many people will be joining gyms, dusting off the running shoes and starting all manner of weird and wonderful diets.

It's the time of year where your health and fitness is put into sharp focus, and the clothes you want to wear either fit well or need some work to get into.

Alongside exercise and eating well, one of the biggest summer goals is to stop drinking alcohol, or at least cut down on your intake. It can be tough with all those parties, BBQs and weddings you'll no doubt to invited to, but cutting down on your drinking can have a huge effect on your health and fitness, whether it's short-term goals or a lifetime decision you're making.

With that in mind, let's take a look at 13 ways you can quit drinking this summer - and kickstart a new, healthier you:

Stay Hydrated
One of the best ways to avoid the alcohol is to stay hydrated during the hot summer months. It can be tempted to head to the nearest beer garden or bar when the sun is out at the weekend, but the reason for the extra temptation is often because you are not drinking enough water, not because you are eager to drink an ice cold beer. Keeping hydrated with water will keep you feeling full and less thirsty, and will help keep you on the straight and narrow.

Seek Professional Help
If you feel like you need to quit drinking because it is becoming a major problem in your life, you can find Rehab Centers all over the country. They are here to help, and can offer you a number of options on how to quit alcohol for good. Talking to people about your issues is often the best way to deal with them and make that next step in kicking it out of your life for good, so search for centers in your area and speak to them as soon as possible.

Inform Your Friends and Family
If you’re serious about stopping drinking, it’s a good idea to tell the people who care about you the most - your partners, friends and immediate family in the majority of cases - of your plans to steer clear of drinking. They can help you stick to your goals, and because you value their opinions and the way they perceive you, there is a better chance of you sticking to your plans over the long haul.

Track Your Steps
The summer is a beautiful time of year, and the perfect time to get fit and healthy away from the booze. While it’s easy to say ‘join a gym,’ not everybody wants to do that, and it’s easy to start going and then stop within a couple of weeks. Another great way to get fit and stay motivated is to track your steps via your smartphone. If you walk a lot - or even if you don’t - tracking your steps will motivate you to do more exercise, and can open you up to a healthy lifestyle without the pressure of joining a gym.

Make It A Competition
Whether you’re quitting alcohol for the summer or long-term, sometimes you need a bit of a extra motivation to stick to your goals. One way to do this is to make it a competition. This can be achieved in a number of ways: You can ask a friend, partner or family members to join you, and see who can stay off the booze for the longest time. You could also join a sobriety group either online or at a local club (you can search for them online) and use this to keep motivated and on track for a life without drink. Once your competitive instincts kick in, you’ll be less likely to drink than going it alone.

Give Yourself Goals
If you are self-motivated, one way to help quit drinking is to set goals for yourself. These can be extreme or measured, but they should be realistic, as failing even the smallest of your goals could cause you to give up on the rest and lead you on the wrong path back to drinking. You could set a short-term goal of two drinks a week for the first month, then change to one drink a week after two months, one drink every two weeks for the month after that, etc. Whatever you choose to do, keep people notified so they can keep you motivated. You could even go public with your goals and turn it into a fundraising campaign.

Have Exciting Non-Alcoholic Options Available
Due to the growing issue of substance abuse, more and more big name brands of alcoholic beverages are creating non-alcoholic alternatives to their products in order to give choice to people who want to quit drinking but still would like to taste their drink. Non-alcoholic beers are hugely popular, but you don’t need to focus completely on what you can buy on the street. You can make your own non-alcoholic beverages that are fun, exciting and taste great. If you enjoy making cocktails, you can make mocktails for you and your guests instead. A Pina Colada tastes just as good when it’s missing the rum. Use fresh pineapple, bananas and coconut milk, and enjoy a delicious smoothie instead.

Get Running
Beating the booze is a lot easier if you are mentally and physically fit, and one of the best ways to achieve this is to start running. The summertime is the perfect time to get a pair of running shoes on and hit the road, and whether you’re a new starter or a seasoned pro, it will go a long way to keep you out of the bar and away from the alcoholic beverages. If you start to feel fit and healthy - and you can see the positive changes running is making on your life - you are far less likely to have even one drink on a night out, let alone going hard all night long. It’s one of the many reasons running is so addictive: it changes your mindset as well as your body.

Use Social Media for Motivation
Going public with your plans is a great way of keeping motivated, and in the modern era, that means announcing your non-drinking plans on social media. The likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are used by billions of people, and once you announce that you’re sober, your friends and followers will be eager to see how you get on in your quest. Write regular updates on social media - including weight loss news, healthy lifestyle changes you are making, etc. and you will soon develop a following of well-wishers who you will want to please, and therefore keep on track of your non-drinking goals.

Evaluate the Cost of Drinking
Many people are shocked to hear how many calories are in alcoholic beverages, but if you only drink in moderation, you are less likely to make the change and quit drinking. However, when you evaluate the cost of drinking, you are more likely to quit as you will see what a difference it makes to your finances. If you’re going on holiday in the summer, quitting drinking in the months leading up to you going away could save you a great deal of cash, especially if you drink on a regular basis. When you see the difference it makes on your finances, there is a good chance you will make further cuts to your alcohol budget.

Have Designated Drinking Days
Many fitness fanatics swear by living like a nun for five days a week, then enjoying a cheat day or two over the weekend. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be doing the same with your alcohol intake, and it could help you quit for good. If you are tempted by drink in the working week, make a promise to yourself to only have a drink at the weekend. Or if you only drink at the weekend, tone this down to one day instead of Friday to Sunday. Small changes in theory, but they could have a huge effect on your health in the long term.

Make Your Home an Alcohol-Free Zone
You are likely to be spending more time out of the house and in the sunshine this summer, so why not make a drastic change at home by making it an alcohol-free zone? If you have no booze in your fridge and cupboards, you are only ever going to be able to drink when you’re out of the house, and this costs more money and is likely to be less convenient, particularly if you are driving at the time.

Keep a Diary of Your Progress
If you really want to quit drinking this summer, you should consider keeping a diary of your progress. You can do this in a number of ways, including writing down exactly what you drink every day, or tracking your food and alcohol intake on a smartphone app like My Fitness Pal. Keeping track of what you drink will help motivate yourself to beat your previous totals, which in turn will keep your alcohol intake in check and help you move towards a healthy, booze-free lifestyle this summer.


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