7 tips for a safe and successful strength-training program

Strength or resistance training challenges your muscles with a stronger-than-usual counterforce, such as pushing against a wall or lifting a dumbbell or pulling on a resistance band. Using progressively heavier weights or increasing resistance makes muscles stronger. This kind of exercise increases muscle mass, tones muscles, and strengthens bones. It also helps you maintain the strength you need for everyday activities — lifting groceries, climbing stairs, rising from a chair, or rushing for the bus.

The current national guidelines for physical activity recommend strengthening exercises for all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms) at least twice a week. One set — usually 8 to 12 repetitions of the same movement — per session is effective, though some evidence suggests that two to three sets may be better. Your muscles need at least 48 hours to recover between strength training sessions.

These seven tips can keep your strength training safe and effective.

  1. Warm up and cool down for five to 10 minutes. Walking is a fine way to warm up; stretching is an excellent way to cool down.
  2. Focus on form, not weight. Align your body correctly and move smoothly through each exercise. Poor form can prompt injuries and slow gains. When learning a strength training routine, many experts suggest starting with no weight, or very light weight. Concentrate on slow, smooth lifts and equally controlled descents while isolating a muscle group.
  3. Working at the right tempo helps you stay in control rather than compromise strength gains through momentum. For example, count to three while lowering a weight, hold, then count to three while raising it to the starting position.
  4. Pay attention to your breathing during your workouts. Exhale as you work against resistance by lifting, pushing, or pulling; inhale as you release.

corporate lifestyle can hurt your heart!

With the hustle bustle of our everyday lives, we all live for the occasional cheap thrills of our life. But seldom do we realise that they are indeed killing us. In our race to achieve all, we are keeping our heart at risk. Our corporate life is not only making our lifestyle sedentary but also damaging our heart gradually. The main contributing factor to our increased sedentary lifestyles is technology. Technology has brought about more inactive modes of transit, caused an increase in sedentary desk jobs and has developed more activities that can be done while sitting.

Work-related stress can also harm your heart. Research has found that people who are more worried about losing their jobs are nearly 20% more likely to have heart disease. “But people who are happy in their jobs may be chronically stressed as well because of the competitiveness of their jobs or because they’re trying to balance their work and home life,” Johns Hopkins cardiologist Michael Blaha says.

Let’s have a look at some of the worst habits related to the workplace which can harm your heart health:

  • Work-related stress can increase inflammation in your body which in turn contributes to high blood pressure and lowers good cholesterol in the body. It can also damage arteries and restrict blood flow to the heart. You need to maintain a healthy balance between your work hours and other essential works to keep your heart away from problems.
  • ‘Working on a new pitch? Let’s discuss ideas over a smoke break!’ OR ‘Today is going to be a late night, let’s order some pizza and cold drinks’. This is a very common scenario but binge eating and smoking during work hours can indeed increase our chances of heart failure. You should rather opt for a brisk walk or a healthy snacking option during late-night office plans.
  • We all face challenges at our workplaces. Many studies have shown that anger and anxiety raise levels of stress hormones and blood pressure, which can restrict blood flow to the heart. Some damage can be immediate. In the two hours after an angry outburst, for example, your risk of having a heart attack is nearly five times greater and your risk of having a stroke nearly three times higher. To handle such situations with a rather peaceful approach, you need to calm yourself down and practise meditation.
  • Sitting for long hours in front of your system might add brownie points to your performance report but it can indeed affect your heart health adversely. Recent studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of heart attack as much as smoking does. You can simply change it by moving a bit or taking a 5-minutes break in between your work hours. It’s as simple as standing instead of sitting as much as possible.

Holiday Gift Guide 2016

I love seeing other people’s favorite gifts, it helps me come up with the perfect gift for that special someone. Get ready to shop! Simple click on the words below the collage – next to it’s coordinating number to be taken straight to that link to purchase {affiliate links are used for your convenience}.

I love to give gifts that make a girl feel pampered and girly. Everything on this board is something I already own or have on my wish list.

The pajamas and slippers are my absolute favorite! Seriously!!!  They are so comfy and classy. I’ve been hinting to my husband to buy me every pattern they have for Christmas!

Anything with a bow or a monogram make me feel special. Smelling like a lady with the best selling Flower Bomb is a great way to make her feel amazing!

Shopping for him is sometimes a bit of a challenge. Good news!!! I have a few things I know he will love this year! These gifts are things my husband has and loves.

If your man loves a close shave or a neatly trimmed beard, he will love items 1, 2 & 3!

My husband was using my “nice” towels when he worked out {shhh don’t tell him I told you}!!! I found these exercise towels that are AMAZING!  They are thin, soft and absorbent.

Slippers may seem like a boring gift, but these UGG slippers are such a nice gift to help him relax and unwind. My husband loves his!

The kick scooter is not like a Razor scooter. They are much easier for kids to control, especially little children. We got one for our youngest when he was 3. Because it has 3 wheels instead of 2, it is so much easier to balance. The handle bars also bend and lean with the child. I am telling you this scooter is fabulous! They have different sizes so make sure you get the right one for your child’s age.

We love to play games as a family. Since I used to be a teacher, when I find a game that is educational and fun, I get super excited! Sleeping Queens is an easy card game that teaches simple math. Even my 4 year old can play. Enchanted Forest is not only like stepping into a fairytale, it is a great test of your memory! This is my kiddos favorite one to play.

Types of sports hospitality events

Sport hospitality events can provide your staff, customers, or clients with a destination, an attraction, and surroundings that are sure to impress and can be tailored to a variety of interests. These sorts of events can be scaled to suit your budget and can be held throughout the year, as there’s often some sort of sporting action taking place each month.

We look at some of the options available for corporate hospitality sporting events.

Corporate boxes 

A corporate box is a fantastic way to watch a sporting event. A great view of the action, alongside food and drink, can make watching a live football match or an experience at the races all that bit more special for your guests.

Boxes are also often sponsored, which a company can use throughout a sports season or arena event. Getting involved with a local sports team in such a way, by sponsoring a box at their matches, is a great way to promote your business. Though this can be costly, it gives you access to a key space that you can use for your future corporate events.

Football and rugby matches are prime candidates for this sort of event. Major events like cup finals, play off matches, or international games are ideal as there is usually more ceremony and an electric atmosphere.

Corporate boxes also provide a way to escape the crowds at the races, as well as offering a great way to entertain guests or reward your staff. They also provide an opportunity for your employees to get dressed up and get a taste of living a luxurious lifestyle.

Whatever the sport, a corporate box can provide an opportunity for your guests to watch in comfort and feel a bit more pampered. It’s also a great way to entertain a small to medium-sized group of guests.

VIP treatment and world travel 

Beyond a corporate box there is the experience of VIP treatment. This can give your guests access to areas they might not otherwise reach, and a chance to do something really memorable.

From pit lane access at formula one races to ringside seats at boxing matches, there’s a lot of VIP variety available – good for tying sport hospitality events to a wider incentive trip.

Travelling to different countries to watch motor racing, or spending a few days in Las Vegas to watch a major boxing match, for instance, could be a great way to reward staff, or offer corporate hospitality to a potential or existing client. However, it’s important to note that arranging this sort of trip and visiting this type of event, with VIP treatment, can be costly. Demand for tickets is also often very high.

Heritage and tradition

Alternatively, you might want to treat your corporate guests to an event that’s steeped in tradition.

Events like Wimbledon are rich in history and can be a great sporting destination to offer your staff or clients as corporate hospitality. From strawberries and cream to cheering from Murray’s Mound with the crowds, this could be a fantastic day out.

If you wanted a change of pace and a day that feels incredibly high-end, you could experience the University Boat Race or a sailing event like the Henley Regatta. These events, much like horse racing, can be an excuse to get dressed up and enjoy a sport with a more refined edge, complete with champagne and high-quality food.

Sports can make a great centrepiece to a corporate event. They thrive on spectacle and, in many cases, offer a number of memorable moments for your guests.

Most Common Injuries in Sports and Training

Collectively, more than 30 million children and teens participate in sports on a regular basis, sustaining more than 3.5 million injuries every year—and adults are even more liable to get injured when playing. You need to understand the most common injuries you’re likely to face, and work to prevent or mitigate them at all costs.

These are some of the most commonly sustained injuries during recreational activities:

Strains

Strains are caused by the repetitive use or overuse of a muscle in a specific pattern of motion, or in an improper way. Generally mild, some strains can be excessively painful and prevent you from certain normal daily functions. Even though strains are largely preventable with proper warm-ups, stretches and form, they remain one of the most common injuries experienced during athletic events.

Sprains

Sprains, even though they’re only one letter different than strains, are an entirely different category of injury. Sprains happen when the ligaments in a joint are stretched or damaged in a way that causes swelling, but no formal dislocation. Ankle sprains are notoriously common, and often happen when landing incorrectly, or on uneven terrain. Sprains can be mild and unobtrusive, but can also be more painful than breaking a bone, taking weeks to months to fully heal.

Knee injuries

Human knees often bear the brunt of impact-based sports, especially when they involve running. Those that involve jumping, like basketball, require even more strain on the knees. Over time, these repetitive impacts can take a toll on your knees, leaving you susceptible to chronic pain; plus, if you’ve ever had a knee injury in the past, you’re more likely to experience a knee injury in the future.

Dental injuries

You may not think of dental injuries as often as you think of things like strains and sprains, but the truth is that over 5 million teeth are knocked out every year, with over 600,000 emergency room visits due to dental injuries. Your mouth and teeth are sensitive, and most athletic events have flying objects that could easily take out a tooth if you aren’t properly protected. Even running and falling face-first may be enough to cause a severe dental injury.

Shin splints

Shin splints refer to any kind of resonant pain in your shins after running repeatedly or changing your lower-body workout regimen. They usually come as a result of extended and unexpected stress, such as increasing your running mileage faster than your body could contend with. Most cases of shin splints will go away within a few days or weeks with a combination of rest, ice, compression and elevation, but the injury is common enough to warrant prevention strategies.

Fractures

Fractures are breaks, whether partial or complete, in a bone of the body. They can occur in a number of sports and in a number of ways, but are often painful and can take weeks to fully heal.

Sciatica

Herniated discs are just one cause of sciatica, which occurs when excessive pressure or pinching affects the sciatic nerve in your lower back. The pain associated with sciatica can be severe, radiating from your lower back down the legs (though usually only affecting one side of the body). Fortunately, most cases of sciatica are temporary and can be remedied with non-operative treatments.

Helpful Ways to Avoid Injuries

Thankfully, you can avoid most injuries with the following strategies:

  • Choose your activities carefully. Carefully consider which activities you take part in, as some sports bear a greater risk of injury than others—especially if you have a chronic condition or susceptibility to one of those injuries. For example, if you have bad knees, basketball may not be the best choice for participation.
  • Warm up and stretch. Before participating in any exercise, you should spend at least 10 to 20 minutes warming up. Depending on the sport, this could include light jogging, specific exercises, and stretching. You’ll also want to spend some time stretching your muscles after the game is over.
  • Wear the proper protective gear. Wearing proper protective gear may feel obstructive in some cases, but it’s worth wearing to reduce your risk of injury. Things like helmets, mouth guards, and even supportive wraps can significantly lower your risks.

Sports are good for you, both physically and mentally, so you shouldn’t have to avoid them just to prevent the possibility of an injury. With the right strategy, you can reduce—though not eliminate—the threat of some of the most common injuries across the board.

Signs of A Good Youth Sports Coach

Over the years my sons played sports, they had a wide assortment of coaches with different personalities, coaching styles, philosophies and approaches:

  • Some “safety comes first” coaches postponed games at the sound of approaching thunder.  Others insisted that kids remain on a baseball diamond while lightning flashed nearby.
  • Some developed every player by giving them equal playing time.  Some were content to have a couple of players sitting on the bench except for a couple of innings a game or denied them the chance to play the “fun” positions.
  • Some had training in the sport they were coaching while some didn’t even know all the rules or equipment requirements.
  • A few coaches knew about child development and gender differences.

While youth sports coaches come in all shapes and sizes, with different types of personalities, here are the ten things a parent should look for as signs of a good youth sports coach:

  1. The coach has demonstrated his/her commitment to the health, safety and development of players by becoming trained in child development, safety (first aid/CPR/use of AED, injury prevention and treatment) and in the sport he/she is coaching;
  2. The coach teaches, models and demands respectful behavior, fairness and good sportsmanship;
  3. The coach insists on proper sideline behavior by parents;
  4. The coach sets realistic, age appropriate expectations for athletes;
  5. The coach understands gender differences but avoids reinforcing culturally-based gender stereotypes;
  6. The coach Is patient, stays calm and never loses his cool;
  7. The coach doesn’t unnecessarily intrude on the learning process during practices and games, knows when to teach, emphasizes the positive, makes practices fun and teaches that sports are as much about having fun than about winning;
  8. The coach adjusts his coaching style to fit the individual and team. Like a good teacher, the coach gets to know his players as individuals, is sensitive to their needs, both in sports and their personal lives, understands what works and doesn’t work to motivate an individual player to do his or her best, and helps them learn new skills. By being child- rather than adult-centered, he allows every player to express their individuality and realize their full potential
  9. The coach looks for team-building opportunities. She looks for chances to help her players bond as an effective and cohesive team by, for example, holding team parties, going to high school games together as a team, team carwashes, and encouraging high fives, rally caps and “dog piles.”  I used to bring a cooler with popsicles and other frozen goodies for break time during practices. It is the little things that go such a long way to bring together a group
  10. The coach Is sociable, empathetic and has good communication skills.

What does travel insurance really cover?

Many people were left grounded and turned to their travel insurance provider in the hope of compensation. But what are passengers’ rights if they have been affected by an event that is out of their control? What does your travel insurance cover?

In the first instance holidaymakers who experience delays, cancellations and costs as a result of such an event will need to contact the airline provider. They will typically offer alternative flights and, where cancellations have occurred, alternative dates for your trip.

Compensation for delay and cancellation

If your flight is delayed, due to specified events such as strikes, adverse weather and mechanical defects some insurers will pay compensation, although individual claims are relatively small. Policies usually offer payouts for travel delays of typically only around £25 for every 12 hour delay, up to a maximum of around £250 to £300.

Some policies will pay out if delay forces you to cancel your trip following a delayed flight – check the policy print to see what cover you have.

In the case of a volcanic ash cloud, whether you’re covered depends on your insurer. While volcanic eruptions are not an insured event in most travel policies, some insurers make payments for delay and cancellation on a goodwill basis or treat such an event as adverse weather. Check with your travel insurer on its position.

Accommodation costs

If a passenger has a flight cancelled and is refunded from the airline, but still has accommodation that they can’t cancel or use, these claims can be considered under travel delay leading to trip abandonment. But you will need to provide written official evidence to support any claims where it is reasonable to request such evidence, so make sure to keep receipts.

Of course, if your airline has offered to pay for accommodation the travel insurer will not do so too. If it has not, you may be able to make a claim – again it depends on your insurer.

If you’re hoping to claim on your travel insurance for expenses accrued while stranded abroad due to a volcanic eruption you’re likely to be out of pocket – most insurance providers are refusing to cover these costs.

Insurers claim it is the duty of airlines to pay for bed and board for stranded passengers. Unfortunately in most cases these people will not be able to claim any shortfall from their travel insurer.

Exclusions in the small print

Generally, travel insurance covers a wide range of risks, including medical treatment costs, loss of possessions, delay and curtailment. However, beware of the fine print as insurers will expect you to take reasonable care – so for example, if you leave possessions unattended, then they may not be covered if they are lost or stolen.

Also, beware of boozing on holiday. If you are drunk – which is defined as anything over the UK legal limit – your claim will not be covered if, say, you were robbed or hurt.

Making a complaint

Finally, if you have exhausted your insurance company’s complaints process and still think you have been treated unfairly you could take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

We Take a Look at Japan’s Iconic Bullet Trains

What is the bullet train?

Japan’s bullet trains are pretty much the most famous contemporary trains the railways of the world have to offer. These sleek, futuristic-looking white trains – known as Shinkansen (literally “new trunk line”) in Japanese – are high-speed trains famous for their exceptional punctuality.

Where does it go?

The bullet train connects the major cities on Honshu and Kyushu (Japan’s two biggest islands) with Tokyo, the capital. Operated by Japan Railways, the routes go as far north as Aomori and as far south as Kagoshima, with various offshoots connecting cities with the main line. Among the new lines being built, one will connect the northern island of Hokkaido with the rest of Japan, with another planned extension eventually connecting Nagasaki in the far south. The three-hour stretch of railway between Tokyo and Kyoto is one of the most famous – it gives travellers a fantastic view of Mount Fuji, if the cloud allows.

How fast does it go?

Bullet trains are allowed to operate at speeds of up to 320km/hr, or just under 200mph. However, they’re capable of going much faster, with some achieving speeds of 581km/hr (361mph) during tests – a world record. Despite their great speed, the trains are very quiet and comfortable, with forward-facing seats that can be turned around so that they always face the direction of travel.

How much does it cost?

The cost of travel on the bullet train obviously depends on how long your journey is, but it isn’t especially cheap – though you can get a Japan Rail Pass to get better value for money and free seat reservations (which you normally have to pay extra for). There are two ‘classes’ of ticket for travel on most bullet trains: Ordinary and Green Car, the latter being the equivalent of Business Class. Green Car seats are bigger and comfier, though Ordinary seats are still perfectly comfortable, with adequate leg room. Some newer trains also have ‘Gran Class’, which has even better seats and more services available to travellers.

Fun facts and tips

  • Luggage should not be taken on a bullet train. There are no luggage compartments, so the bags have to be placed in front of your feet and if you are sitting with other people it makes things very difficult and uncomfortable. Indeed, taking luggage on a train is not considered polite. it is a big no no!
  • It’s very rare for a bullet train to be late. They run on time to the second, and it’s only an unavoidable natural event, such as an earthquake or heavy snow, that will disrupt the schedule.
  • They have an excellent safety record, with no fatal accidents.
  • The Tokyo-Osaka route sees up to thirteen trains an hour operate each way, each with sixteen carriages.
  • Shinkansen trains are all fitted with an earthquake warning system, called the Urgent Earthquake Detection and Alarm System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of an earthquake.

How To Become A Travel Agent

There are many jobs related to travel, but one of the most flexible and rewarding careers is being a travel agent.

Though online travel websites are frequently used among travelers, travel agents can still make great money.

Many people refrain from using travel agents because they assume the travel agent will charge a fee. However, it’s common for travel agents to work on commission and charge the agencies you end up using.

If a travel agent does charge, it won’t be too expensive, and it’ll definitely pay for itself in case the unpredictable happens, which usually does. Travel can get stressful, especially if you’re on a long-distance trip, and travel agents can relieve you of that stress.

They’ll be able to put your mind at ease and create the perfect hassle-free trip for you.

The number of travel agents is decreasing, which can actually be a good thing. The travel agents that are left are professionals in the field that are incredibly passionate about their work.

They’ve become experts in the field and have a level of expertise that no travel website will ever have. There are ways to stick out among other travel agents and agencies, and we’ll speak about it further below.

You’ll save plenty of time on creating your trip, get help from someone who has most likely spent most of their life traveling the world and be able to create a trip that fits your budget.

What does a travel agent do?

Travel agents make planning a trip easy and save you time. They are in charge of creating entire travel packages. This can include but is not limited to flights, rentals, accommodations, cruises, tours, shows, and a lot more. Travel agents are in charge of creating a trip that is designed to fit your needs and interests.

On top of that, they are in charge of letting you know of any travel advisories as well as reminding you of which documents you need to have for the country or countries you’re going to visit. Since safety is an important topic and can be confusing when traveling, travel agents make sure to stay on top of safety issues.

Specialize in a few niches or interests of yours that you’re passionate about.

Do you enjoy vacations that help out the town you’re in while also experiencing a new culture? Or are you the type to want to go on sailing trips and snorkeling in the Caribbean? Specializing in certain niches will make you stand out and become an expert in your field. It’s always to get better at a few things than trying to cover every single niche.

There are several different types of travel agents, with the most popular being travel agents for people who are going away on business, and those who are going away for a fun and relaxing vacation.