Saturday, 4 January 2014

5 Ways To Burn Calories Without Breaking Into (Too Much Of) A Sweat

Christmas has been and gone. People around the world are waking from the food coma.  As they haul themselves out of the sofa, biscuit packs drop to the floor around their bloated feet. Looking down to see if there is one last bourbon cream left they realise their view is obscured. A great mound is rising from where once there was an ironed flat naval. I am of course talking about one of the world’s greatest first world afflictions: the Christmas bloat.

I for one am a victim of this. What with me and the family going on a springtime UK Break to Center Parcs Sherwood Forest, I have become pretty damn good at shedding the pounds. The best way to do this I have always found is to incorporate it into my daily routine where possible. These five ideas will help you burn calories and lose weight.

1.     Yoga – OK so you will struggle to find a practical, everyday usage for Yoga. But it is something I swear by. I have been a yogi for about a year now. That is someone who is proficient at yoga. OK I can just about contort myself into some positions, and not without a little help from my instructor. Obviously there are different levels, so beginners will feel less of a burn than more advanced yogis. Beginner, less intense workouts will roughly burn off 100 calories an hour while more intense workouts can burn off as much as 450 calories an hour.

2.     Walking – Quite an easy one to work into your day. Commute to work? Then maybe ditch the car for a few weeks and get the train. Walking to and from the station or bus stop is a great way to work off the Christmas carbs. You can also feel super-smug on the walk as you are saving yourself a shed-load of cash and lowering your carbon emission. In fact as a way of burning carbs this is probably the best thing you can do. You will burn about 100 calories every mile you walk.

3.     Dancing – Another fairly simple act to include into part of your day. You can choose to do this seriously or behind closed doors, arms flailing and Bryan Adams blasting out the speakers. That is the great joy of dancing it can be whatever you want it to be. In unison with a troupe of dancers or on your own dancing is an expression of joy and happiness. The harder, more active dances can obviously burn off more calories than just a foot-tap. Hip-hop dancing (whatever that may be) burns around 370 calories an hour where the physically strenuous ballet can burn up to 450 calories per hour.

4.     Wash The Car – So you’ve left it parked up for the last few weeks as you walk to work. You notice the sun doesn’t shimmer off of it like it used to. Washing the car is a surprisingly strenuous activity, what with the bucket of water, the scrubbing the bodywork and then chamois leathering it dry at the end. This is a surprisingly good workout actually working out at bout 240 calories an hour.

5.     Gardening – This will come as no great surprise to my green-fingered friends. There is a lot of strenuous activity that goes into making the garden look great, weeding, mowing, raking and sawing are just a few of the activities in any gardener’s repertoire. Gardening can be a strenuous workout that exercises a lot of muscles and can burn up to 290 calories an hour.

All of these little lifestyle changes can go a long way to getting you back in shape for the spring and summer. If you plan on going on holiday shortly after Christmas then it may be a good idea to give some of these no-hassle workouts a go. Are there any other workouts that you practice? Let me know

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Recharge, Reset, Go! Getting the Kids Ready for the New School Term

It’s understandable if you’re all caught up in the Christmas excitement – after all, there’s less than a month to go before the big day! Over the next few weeks, you’ll be fortunate enough to catch a performance of your children’s Christmas concert and will also be planning a visit to see Santa Claus, or a Christmas market in your local town. Whatever you have in store, make the most of the time that you have together because, before you know it, they’ll be back at school for the spring term.

Many families across the country will be taking advantage of the festive season and decluttering their home to make room for new things. Minimising the toy closet and sorting through clothes are just a couple of the things that parents think about doing before Santa drops off a stash of goodies. Are their wardrobes full to bursting? Is it impossible to get into the room because of all the toys? Make the most of the time pre-Christmas and sort through it all once and for all!

You shouldn’t stop at their toy box, either. There are plenty more ways in which you can reset things so that your kids are organised, tidy and ready to go before the spring term. Here are a few more ideas that could help.

·       How’s their uniform looking? Has it already seen better days? With reasonably priced school shoes for girls from George available, why not throw out their scuffed shoes that are barely black anymore and replace them with some shiny new (and affordable) ones before they return to school? School shoes for girls and boys shouldn’t cost a fortune – especially when their boisterous ways mean they don’t last as long as you’d like, anyway!

·       The winter is well and truly here – now would be the perfect time to sort out their closet and bag up any summer clothes that won’t be worn again. Chances are they’ll grow before they need summer clothes again and by that point, the stuff they already have won’t fit! This frees up plenty of space in their wardrobe for things they do need. Do the same with their jackets and coats – keep a waterproof and a nice warm coat for the winter months and then look at spring jackets when the new season arrives.

·       Take them for a haircut, if you haven’t done so already. Returning to school for their new term, without any scraggly ends, will make them feel fresh as a daisy and ready for action!

·       Get on top of any homework they may have. The varying degrees of homework will depend on their age, but regardless of whether its reading books, an at-home project or an essay of some description, encourage them to get it all done well in advance so that they don’t have it looming over their heads for the entire break.

Christmas is full of excitement, fun and laughter but that doesn’t mean you should forget about what happens afterwards. Be prepared and, come the first day back at school, you and your kids won’t have to rush around at all!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Humorous Books make great gifts

I love to receive witty and amusing books as presents especially at Christmas time.  I'm a lazy reader but sometimes it's nice to be able to switch off from the outside world and be entertained without too much effort on my part.

As a child I jumped onto these types of books that were given to my parents as gifts and I still enjoy flicking through them now.

 'Unexpected item in the bagging area' is a great example, it had me smiling and nodding in agreement.  It simply points out the more annoying and yet amusing parts of life we start to notice as middle age prepares to jab us with it's pointy finger and push us over the hill.  It is the gentler side of grumpy old men and women.  It doesn't go to those extremes, there is no fear of causing any offence with this as a perfect gift for that starting to grey guy (and gal).

I relate in ways that make me get a sense of 'oh, thank God, I'm not the only one that sees it that way.'  The observations about the office kitchen hit my current favourite bugbear at work,  I eat breakfast at home whereas a large proportion of my colleagues clearly have 'get paid for making individual cafetieres of fairtrade Colombian coffee and eating bowls of organic oatmeal' into their contracts. I obviously missed that part out on my contract negotiation day. As did I miss the bit about vandalising the kitchen by leaving crusty plates, dirty cups, sticky work surfaces and a splattered microwave for someone else to worry about.  But this book hits the nail on the head.  And don't get me started about the facebook status' making nights from hell look like a dream date in heaven. 

If you want something a little more high brow (in the lazy read way) I also recommend 'I used to know that' - I really enjoyed my school memory journey through it.

and I have so many people I want to buy 'How not to talk like an arse' for - that might be wrong - right?!