Turning Japanese: What Japan Can Teach Us About Healthy Lifestyles

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When you are thinking about your health and wellness, it makes sense to consider what other cultures are doing,. And the best place to start is, of course, with those who tend to live longer than we do. As most people know, Japan is consistently at the top of the charts for life expectancy, so the big question for today is: why? Let’s take a look at the Japanese diet and lifestyle, and reveal what it can teach you about living a longer, healthier life for many years to come.


Embrace the sea

Most people know that the Japanese are big on fish – it’s a huge part of their diet, and as a nation, they are always in the top six or seven fish consumers – per capita – in the world. Eating fish gives you a whole bunch of health benefits, from reducing the risk of heart disease to lower levels of cancer and inflammation. It even makes you feel good! However, it’s not just fish that the Japanese consume from the sea. They eat a lot of seaweed, which, according to nutritionists, is packed full of protein., potassium, and iodine – which is perfect for thyroid regulation. So, if you want to live, on average, for a couple of years longer, start eating more fish – and seaweed.

Cut down on meat

The Japanese tend to stock up on vegetables and fish rather than unhealthy red meats. Sure, they still use meat in their cooking, but in a slightly different way to us. Take the Kamikoto dish as the perfect example – a small amount of meat is cooked amongst a lot of vegetables and is only used to flavor the dish. In this country, the Kamikoto would, most likely, be packed to the brim with meat and have a few veggies mixed in. This attitude towards meat is something we can all learn from. Too much red meat can cause astonishingly high levels of cholesterol, which could increase the risk of heart disease – the biggest killer in the United States.


Green tea

Green tea has a vast array of benefits, and it’s one of the healthiest things you can drink in the world. The Japanese drink tons of it every year and enjoy all these health advantages as a result. Drinking green tea helps you reduce your chances of developing cancer, improves your cognitive function, and makes it more likely you will last longer on this earth than you would from drinking soda instead.

Love of singing

Karaoke is a Japanese invention, so it should be no surprise that the nation loves singing – some would say it’s a national obsession. And believe it or not, researchers think that it could be amongst the many reasons why the Japanese live for so long. Singing helps you improve your cardiovascular health, boosts your nervous system, and releases ‘happy’ chemicals in your brain that help prevents many mental health conditions as you get older.

As you can see, there is plenty to learn from our Japanese cousins if we want to be a healthier nation. Perhaps you could introduce some of these healthy habits into your lifestyle?


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Keeping Your Child’s Health in Check

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Our children are the most precious things in our lives, and as parents, we want to do what’s best for them. Keeping them happy and healthy is our number one priority. However there are a number of challenges that parents have to deal with in order to do this. Here are a few tips and tricks for keeping your child’s health in check.


Healthy Diet

As adults, we have the ability to eat things we’re not especially keen on because we know it’s good for us. Children haven’t developed this, and will generally point blank refuse to eat what they don’t like- and let’s face it, it’s usually the things their bodies need! Getting nutrition into picky kids can be a struggle, but there’s plenty of tricks you can try to make it easier. If fruit is the issue, try blending it up with some almond milk, yogurt or fruit juice into a sweet tasting smoothie. Something that even fussy children usually enjoy! Use a food processor to very finely chop vegetables and cook them with ground meat, and use as a base for different dishes. Once it’s all cooked together, there are no obvious pieces of veg, but it’s jam-packed with the good stuff. And just keep trying them with different things, keeping calm and relaxed so that issues don’t develop around food.


When kids are naturally full of energy, making sure they get enough exercise isn’t difficult. If you take them out of the house to an area where they can naturally play and run around, they’re sure to burn off all of the energy they need to with no hassle to you. You could take their bikes to the park, or a ball to kick around. They could play on a trampoline in the back garden, or explore a soft play area. Children from age six need around an hour of activity a day with most of the hour being moderate to vigorous activity. But provide them with somewhere they can have fun, and they’re sure to do the rest!

Health Conditions

Health and youth tend to be things we see as interlinked, and while many health problems don’t develop until we’re older, children can be affected too. Just like adults, children can be affected by bone and hip issues, you could see surgery options from DrAllison.org for more information. Certain cancers can also crop up, and infections such as meningitis. Getting prompt medical advice when your child is unwell is the key to catching things early. Going on a first aid course for children is also a useful thing for a parent to pursue, you then have some basic knowledge of what to do if anything goes wrong.

Mental Health

The world can be a scary place for a child. Starting school, meeting new people, learning new things and overcoming obstacles. Building up a child’s confidence makes it easier to deal with life’s challenges. Be a positive role model and practice confidence in your own life which children will mirror. Use plenty of positive reinforcement, and set them small challenges which they can overcome which will build their confidence further.


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Morning Magic From Both Sides Of The Bed!

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Have you ever blamed the wrong side of the bed for your bad morning mood? It’s an excuse most of us use when we start the day on the wrong footing. But, have you considered that ‘the wrong side of the bed’ is a construct that, instead of helping, actually hinders your mood? When you attach a cause to a bad mood, you give it life. Grumpiness with meaning is justified. Instead of snapping you out of that mood, making excuses encourages you to fester in it. So, next time you start to utter that much-used phrase, think again. Instead, realize that there is no wrong side of the bed, only wrong mindsets!

Waking up on the right side of the bed every morning is half the battle, but it won’t take you all the way. Keep the right side mentality going all morning to ensure your day is a good one. Something many of us are guilty of is ‘mood checking’ when we wake up. Do you ask yourself how you’re feeling first thing? Get out of the habit. If you look, you’re more likely to find. You may think your checking in is a way of keeping in touch with feelings, but it can be harmful. Instead, get straight out of bed and start your morning routine. Don’t give yourself time to decide whether you’re in a bad mood on not. Assume that you aren’t and get on.

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Of course, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As such, a good breakfast is a step in the right direction. If it helps perk you up, get a cup of coffee to wipe away last remnants of sleep. You could even familiarize yourself with something like chemex brewing. Brewing your coffee will smell amazing and give your brain a boost straight off. Make sure that you avoid a fat filled breakfast. A fry up may seem like a good way to start the day, but it’ll leave you feeling bloated and lethargic before you’ve begun. Head, instead, to the fruit bowl. Get creative by making smoothies, or fruit salads. Who said healthy had to be boring? If you’re used to having something heavier, take a banana or two along with you, too. You need to ensure you have enough energy to keep you going until lunch.

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Last on our list of morning magic is what you do while you eat breakfast. Many of us use it as a chance to catch up on the news. That’s fine, but it can be a depressing sight. With positivity in mind, it’s worth saving your news fix for another time. Instead, you could listen to music that makes you feel good. Or, you could spend the time listening to natural sounds that relax you. If you like, you could even listen to a CD of positive affirmations that you can remind yourself of throughout the day. Anything to keep your head happy as you set off for what lies ahead!


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Preventing & Treating Age-Related Health Concerns

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There is plenty about being older to look forward to, no matter who you are. But there are also certain aspects of the experience which are likely to be less favourable. By far, one of the areas of life that often worsen with age is one’s health. None of us want to experience ongoing health problems, and yet for many elderly it is likely to be unavoidable. Fortunately, there is usually something that can be done to prevent the various health problems which can occur in later life. And where there is not necessarily a preventative measure in place, there is still often a way to at least treat the condition. Let’s take a look at some of the main health concerns for the elderly, as well as the preventions and cures.

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Something that affects a large proportion of the elderly is arthritis. This is a condition which affects the bones; it is the most common health concern which the older generation are likely to experience, and it can lead to a great deal of pain in the long run. This pain can soon mean a much less positive quality of life, and it can be surprising just how quickly it can make a noticeable difference in this respect. The most important thing for anyone who is developing arthritis is to work closely with their doctor to ensure that they minimise the chance of it worsening over time. As for prevention: avoiding clicking knuckles and taking good exercise are both effective.


Alzheimer’s is a serious, degenerative disease which affects a lot of elderly people, and its effects can be extremely damaging, especially if left untreated. It is a disease which is caused by a combination of a number of environmental and genetic factors, and in terms of prevention there is currently research being carried out to discover whether it is possible to keep Alzheimer’s at bay using antibodies. Once it is developing already, however, the most important thing is to find some decent quality memory care, such as https://www.parcprovence.com/contact-us/. The level of care makes a huge difference to the ongoing quality of life of the individual affected.

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Metabolic Syndrome

According to the official statistics, about 75% of adults aged over 60 are what is considered obese or overweight. Although this is often a result of poor lifestyle decisions, possibly from many years prior, it is also true that it can be related to something known as metabolic syndrome. This is a combination of factors which put together radically increase the chances of becoming overweight. These factors include: a high waist measurement, poor cholesterol, a high blood pressure, and others. The best prevention here is ongoing care for one’s body from as young an age as possible. That way, you should be much less likely to develop this syndrome and become dangerously overweight. Exercising a decent amount, eating a good balance of foods with little to no saturated fats – these are both important in this respect, and the difference to be noted is huge. See http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/aging-health-challenges for more information on this subject.

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Boost Your Bones

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Taking care of your bone health now will help you to live a longer, happier life. If you have kids, their future depends on helping to give them the best start in terms of the health of their bones. Here’s what to do to make sure that everyone is healthy for longer…

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Eating a healthy, balanced diet is one of the best ways you can protect the health of your bones. Calcium is a vital component for bones, and you can find it in green leafy vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and okra. You can also get calcium from soya beans, sardines and pilchards. Dairy products are rich in this vital nutrient, so make sure you drink milk, and eat yoghurts and cheese. Growing children are especially in need of a healthy amount of dairy products in their diet – what you give them between now and the age of eighteen will determine their bone health for life. Find out here why you should all be eating more fruit.

Get plenty of Vitamin D by spending at least a portion of every day outside. Even during the winter months, you can still get this important vitamin by being outdoors for a few minutes every day. As well as protecting your bones, making sure that you get enough Vitamin D from sunlight can also mean that you are less likely to suffer from a low mood or depression. If you’re concerned that you and the kids aren’t getting enough, top up your supplies by eating foods like oily fish such as salmon or mackerel, eggs and breakfast cereals that have been fortified with Vitamin D.

Exercise is vital for looking after your bones. Research has shown that people who exercise regularly have greater bone density than those who don’t. Go for a walk or jog every day, or take the kids to the park and throw a ball around. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you are making your bones, muscles and joints work. Keep moving now, and you’ll still be active well into your old age.

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Achieving a healthy weight means that you are not subjecting your bones to any undue pressure. Being overweight puts a huge strain on the bones and joints, which means that you will be much more likely to suffer fractures or issues like arthritis – especially later in life. Take action to lose the flab, and your body will thank you for it in the future.

Be aware of risk factors for bone thinning or osteoporosis. These include a family history of problems with bone health, premature menopause, and having a history of eating disorders. If you are in any doubt of your risk, or of the current condition of your bones, get advice from fingerlakesorthopedics.com so that you can take action.

Don’t wait until you encounter problems before taking steps to protect your bones. Doing all the right things now, including having a good diet and fitness regime and making sure that you get all the vitamins and minerals you need, will save you a lot of hassle and maybe even pain in the future.


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Girl Power: Fight The Symptoms Of PMS The Smart Way

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The joy of being a woman knows no bounds, right? The premenstrual syndrome symptoms of aching, crying uncontrollably, binge eating, and bloating make a few days of the month feel like hell on earth, but there is possible respite. While stopping your periods altogether is possible with the use of hormonal intervention, it’s easier to treat the symptoms rather than the cause. If you’re particularly familiar with the monster that is PMS, here are some great ways to get some release.

Enjoy a balanced diet

Eating well throughout the month can really help when it comes to PMS time, especially as it helps to keep blood sugar balanced, but sometimes supplementing your diet in the lead up can help too. Vitamin E supplements, a fish oil capsule, and a whole load of leafy greens are the real lifesavers, and studies have shown people who increased the presence of these nutrients in their diet saw huge improvements. It’s worth a try, anyway!

Try some gentle exercise

Don’t laugh; it really will help. While exercise might be the last thing on your mind when you’re plotting the death of everyone around you, mild exercise can truly help to relieve symptoms. A bit of a workout releases endorphins that act as pain relief, dopamine to help cheer you up, and serotonin to fight feelings of depression and anxiety. A bit of yoga or regular stretching can help to relieve tension in your lower back and abdomen which helps to fight cramps too.

Treat yourself to a massage

If there’s ever a time for a massage, it’s when your body is conspiring against you. You could go DIY and use massage oil to gently rub the top of your thighs, lower back, and abdomen. It helps to relieve cramps, gets the blood moving, and will cheer you up no end. If you feel like you need a little more TLC, book yourself in for a professional massage – you deserve it.

Get some medical help

Sometimes it’s all just a bit too much to self-medicate successfully. In these cases, a GP will discuss your options with you. One option commonly used is to help balance the body’s hormones artificially by using contraception, such as the Yasmin contraceptive pill. As PMS is caused by a conflicting inbalance in the body’s hormones in the lead up to a period, the hormonal pill can really help to put things back on the straight and narrow. Speak to your GP and see what they suggest.

Top tip: avoid caffeine

While taking mild diuretics during a period of PMS can really help lessen the bloating that tends to accompany it, it’s worth being selective about the choice of diuretic you go for. Calcium, vitamins B and C, and potassium are all great for reducing bloating. Caffeine, although a diuretic, will only contribute to feelings of anxiety, so it’s not great for helping with the other symptoms.

Premenstrual syndrome can be a really difficult time for women, but it is possible to alleviate symptoms. Just remember to go easy on yourself.


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Are Your Kids Always Getting Sick? Good Health Starts At Home

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Are your kids constantly sick with colds and stomach bugs, while other families appear to be the picture of health? There are many factors that affect the immune system. However, making some simple changes in the home and encouraging healthy habits can reduce nasty illnesses drastically.

Room Temperature

Research shows that temperature has an impact on health, particularly for people with respiratory problems. One area it can cause problems is in the bedroom. Being too hot or too cold can affect your sleep dramatically. Lack of sleep and poor quality sleep increases the likelihood of contracting illnesses. This is something that can be easily fixed by changing bedding and maintaining heating and air conditioning through companies such as www.mcgowansac.com.

Further details on how temperature impacts on health can be found on websites such as www.doctorshealthpress.com.

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Washing Hands

Regularly washing your hands significantly reduces passing the germs that cause colds and gastrointestinal illnesses. The tricky part is getting your kids to do this frequently. Teach your kids about germs and the importance of washing their hands. Any healthy habits need to be modeled, as well as being taught. So make sure you do this yourself regularly. Impose a rule where everyone washes their hands before sitting down to a meal.

Hand sanitizers are also useful for when kids are at kindergarten or school. However, they are not as effective as traditional soap and water.

Balanced Diet

A balanced diet helps to boost the immune system, which in turn fights off illnesses. If you haven’t done so already, ensure your kids are getting a mixture of colored fruit and vegetables in their diet. Foods rich in vitamin C are great for the immune system and include broccoli, strawberries, and peppers, etc.


If your kids suffer from allergies, you may need to take extra precautions in the home. The actions you take will depend on the specific allergy. General tips include:

  • Dusting and vacuuming regularly and installing an air filter
  • Only purchasing home textiles and bed linen that can be removed and washed thoroughly
  • Keeping pets out of kids’ bedrooms and play areas
  • Using hypoallergenic bedding if required

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Home Hygiene

Germs and bacteria spread quickly in dirty homes. Make sure you keep on top of cleaning and removing trash, etc. The kitchen needs extra care to ensure food storage areas and the fridge are cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis.

Research shows that chopping boards are a breeding ground for bacteria and you can’t always see it. Ensure you wash your chopping board carefully, especially if you use it to prepare uncooked meat, and change it on a regular basis.


Remaining active also boosts our ability to fight diseases. So it’s time to switch off the computer games and get some fresh air. Encourage your kids to be active by introducing them to games and sports. Set up regular family activities where they can walk and run around. Make your garden kid-friendly and provide interesting, fun games for them to play.

Making a few simple changes in the home and encouraging new habits could drastically improve the health of the whole family. Start now and enjoy a happy and bug-free year.

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Feeling Under The Weather? Find The Answers In Your Fruit Bowl

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It’s not reinventing the wheel to say that eating more fresh fruit and veg will be good for your health. This is something we have known, or at least accepted, for literally decades. It’s something our parents told us, and that their parents surely told them. So it’s not exactly revolutionary (much as some dieticians may seem to think it is).

So when it comes to making healthy changes in your lifestyle, you know you should be looking at fruit and vegetables. However, one thing that has changed is that basic knowledge of health issues has increased over the years. Fifty years ago it was “eat more fruit; it’s good for you”. Now, we really need to know more. Different foods have different benefits.

So, how do you target the specific improvement you need?

Health issues vary considerably from person to person. Where once upon a time it was sufficient to say you were feeling “under the weather”, now we know of countless possible reasons. Some of us have joint pain, others tenderness in the muscles. Sometimes we have digestive issues. We may suffer from headaches, or mood disorders.

In short, with so long a list of things that can make us feel less than perfect, we need to know as much as possible about the ways to make it better. While in some cases there is no substitute for a doctor’s attention, we can always make a difference with what we do. Top of the list of weapons in our personal armory is diet. And that’s where the fruit and veg come in.

Warning: the amount of fruit-based puns you’re about to read is immense. Prepare yourself.

Berry Good: Why You Don’t Need To Suffer From Low Moods


Mental health is increasingly a focus in our society, but it’s fair to say that a lot of people don’t completely understand how it works. In short, you don’t need to be confined to your bed with depression for it to be a factor. A lot of people struggle with low-level depression that doesn’t make them go to the doctor but does infringe on their quality of life.

Berries are packed with antioxidants, which have been proven in clinical trials to have an effect on depression. If you don’t fancy taking anti-depressant medication, they are worth a try. The key point here is that depression varies in severity. In more severe cases, it’s still wise to consult a doctor.

Lacking In Energy? Time To Go Bananas


We all have days when we seem to lack for energy. We wake up in the morning and everything seems like more of an effort. Anecdotal information and TV tell you what to do if this is the case – reach for the coffee! In the short term, this works – you do feel a burst of energy and can get over the hurdle. But it then takes back, with interest.

Caffeine has very limited nutritional benefit. It actually burns through what energy you may have left, and then you crash. If you eat a banana and have one on hand for later, you’ll be in better shape. Bananas are rich in potassium, which gives you slow-release energy and allows you to feel more energetic throughout the day.

Life Can Be A Bowl Of Cherries

Cherries are seen in many ways as a luxury fruit. They are a little more pricey than the likes of apples and oranges, but they are worth it for their health benefits. Indeed, for all the talk of superfoods, it’s hard to beat cherries for real health boosts. They contain a lot of antioxidants, for one thing, but that’s the tip of the iceberg.

There are also benefits to quality of sleep, due to the high content of melatonin. Their high levels of beta-carotene are useful for eyesight. In addition to these cherry health benefits, studies show an impact on inflammation, weight loss and heart health. In short, you should make room for them in your fruit bowl.

Time To Boost Your Celery!

It’s probably fair to say that celery is no-one’s favorite food. It’s not bad, and it’s not great. It’s just kind of … there. Its role is, typically, as a food to add texture to other meals. But don’t let that persuade you to do without it. Its health benefits are clear for all to see. Extracts from its seeds have been found to have a positive impact on blood pressure.

However, that’s just part of the story. Including celery (ideally steamed) in your diet will have ongoing positive benefits. It is rich in antioxidants, for one thing. For another, studies have shown it to be a handy source of luteolin, which is felt to have cancer-fighting properties.

All Fruit And Veg Helps Your Digestion

Whatever you pick from the fruit and veg aisle at your local supermarket, you’re helping your digestive tract. This is a health benefit that cannot be ignored. By keeping your digestive system healthy, you give your body a boost in fighting any illness. Not to mention lessening the risk of future cancers in the gastrointestinal tract.

The reason is that fruit and veg, in general, contain indigestible fiber. This picks up water and expands as it passes through the digestive system, triggering regular bowel movements. (Lovely subject this, isn’t it? But it has to be discussed!) In addition, it calms the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.


This is, incidentally, a reason why you should not take on all your fruit and veg in the form of juices. Although juice and smoothies are beneficial ways of getting nutrients, they do remove a vast majority of the fiber from fruits. So while you may enjoy a green juice a day as part of your health kick, eat some bananas or carrots to get the full benefit.

Each fruit and vegetable that you can buy will have its own benefits for your general health. In addition to the digestive benefits that we have seen above, they all play different parts. So one final note to bear in mind is this:

It’s not just a very good idea to eat more fruit and veg – make sure that you are getting different types into your diet. For an all-around health boost, an extensive range will always be better than a narrow focus.


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9 Ways To Workout And Stay Active Without Joining A Gym

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When you decide to spend a little more time and energy on your body, you can often feel bombarded with options. Not only are you unsure exactly what kind of exercise is right for you, but you’re feeling a little intimidated about how to get started. If that sounds like you, you don’t have to worry; you can find your feet, quit your bad habits, and feel comfortable with exercise. And best of all, you don’t necessarily have to join a gym.

Although you may know that signing up to a gym isn’t right for you, you still may not know what it is that you want to do. If you’re looking for workout options that you can easy add into your daily routine, enjoy and see results with, this post should help. Each of these ten suggestions may appeal to you in different ways, but you can do all of them without stepping foot into a gym.


If you’re looking for an activity that you can do at home, or as close to it as possible, why not think about taking up running? You don’t have to join a running club; you can do it on your own, at your own pace and whenever you have the time. Just grab your running shoes, put your music on and let your feet guide you to the beat. If you struggle with motivation, you could also get a friend or loved one to join you on a simple circuit near to your home.

Track Your Movements

When you’re trying to improve your activity levels, it can be hard to know how well you’re doing. However, thanks to modern technology, it’s not impossible. You can actually keep track of the amount of movement you’re doing, whether you’re exercising or not, using your smartphone and even a few handy apps. Then, you can start to compare your days and see how well you’re doing. By seeing it all there on your smartphone, you also know whether you need to put in more effort or if you’re doing a good job.

Join A Club

Another idea would be to join a club. You don’t have to lift weights or become addicted to the cross trainer to stay fit and active. You can play sports and do it instead. If there is a particular game you like or have always wanted to play, why not sign up? Whether it’s tennis or hockey, badminton or basketball, you can find beginners classes local to where you live and enjoy the benefits of having fun while you exercise.

Buy A Machine

If you’re more interested in staying home to workout, then you might want to think about investing in a machine that you can use. There are plenty of different options to choose from, so you’ll need to decide whether you want a weights machine or cardio first. With weights, you can do some different exercises, and when it comes to cardio, you can choose between a treadmill, cross trainer or spin bike among others. Before you buy, make sure you research your options for the best spinning bikes, treadmills or cross trainers to find one that suits you the best.

Walk More

Another option would be to walk more. If you’re trying to take a holistic approach to improving your health and fitness, then you don’t have to limit your exercise to set times. Instead, you can try to get in extra little bits whenever you feel like it. If you drive to work, why not park a bit further away and get in some extra exercise. You can also do the same when you go shopping. Also, you might want to take a trip to a local park with your children, or you might decide to take your dog on a longer walk.

Have A System

One of the best ways to take control of your exercise routine when you’re not going to a gym is to have a system. When you’re a member of a gym, you often workout at the same times each day or you go to an exercise class that’s at a set time. But when you’re working out at home or on your own schedule, it can be hard to stick to it. So, make sure you have a system in place for when you’re going to workout. You can also do the same for your eating to make sure that you have a balanced diet.

Start A Class

If you struggle to stay motivated when you exercise on your own, you might want to think about joining a class. Again, you don’t have to join a gym to do this. You should be able to find really fun and exciting classes that are close to you. Maybe you’ve always wanted to do yoga or pilates? Or perhaps Zumba or a Barre class would be more suited to you? Either way, you can get a really good workout by joining a fitness class at a time and day that suits your lifestyle.

Spare Five Minutes

You might not have ever thought of it in this way before, but you can actually get a good workout in at home, without using any equipment. If you can spare five, ten or even fifteen minutes, there are a range of at-home workouts available for you to follow at home. If you’re not used to exercising or you’ve not done any for a long time, you might find an at-home bodyweight exercise routine a really great way of getting started.

Head To YouTube

And, if you’ve got longer, do have at-home workout equipment like a mat, jump rope, weights or a bench, you might want to head to YouTube. Just like the fitness DVD craze, there are a ton of great workouts now available on YouTube. And the best part is – they’re free. You can fit in a workout in your own time and even choose one that suits your abilities and fitness goals. Just search, click, play and participate.


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Free Atkins Quick Start Kit

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16-10_atkins_5off_updated_346x300Free Atkins Quick Start Kit which includes a recipe book, carb counter, $5 Off coupon & more! Download or have the kit mailed to you. The mailed version usually includes Free Snack Bars!

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