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Pushing your workouts further without needing a personal trainer

Here, we’ll look at ways you can push your workouts even further to benefit even more.

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Whether you’re trying to start up your fitness regimen again after something of a break due to the whole mess that is 2020, or you feel like you’re hitting a brick wall and need a boost to get over it, there are always ways to improve the results you can get from your workout. They don’t always involve having to shell out the cash for a personal trainer, either.

IMAGE SOURCE: PEXELS.COM

Here, we’ll look at ways you can push your workouts even further to benefit even more.

Warm-up in a more dynamic way

Stretching and getting the body limber and ready to move is crucial before any workout session, of course. It helps decrease the likelihood that you injure yourself. However, rather than just doing a few targeted stretches alone, you should look at some of the more dynamic warmup tips out there. Aside from stretching your muscles, it aims to help your body mimic the exercises that you’re going to be doing by shifting your body weight, which can get your blood flow increased more easily while also opening up your range of motion a lot more effectively. For instance, if you’re running, then you want warmups that specifically target the motions you would do while running, such as knee raises and lunges.

Bringing speed to your weight training

If you’re just getting started with it, then you want to make sure that you’re taking your time to some degree when weight training. After all, it’s important to make sure that you’re learning and repeating the correct lifting form to ensure you’re working out the muscles that you want to target and not causing any potential for damage. However, when you want to start integrating velocity-based training into your lifting, a strength training app can help you measure how fast you should be aiming to safely do reps. This can help improve the growth of muscles considerably when compared to simple and slower lifting sessions in the gym.

Aim for high intensity

Most forms of cardio are going to be great for controlling your weight, improving your body’s ability to get oxygen around when you’re working out, and building stamina. However, if you’re willing to push yourself harder, then you can get a lot more out of your cardio exercises than you usually would. High-intensity interval training programs look at regular cardio exercises, such as running and bike riding, and focus on putting as much energy into going as fast and as hard as you can for short intervals of time. They can be just as effective, if not more so, at helping control weight and improving cardiovascular help, but they are significantly better at building the muscles that can improve your performance, too.

With the step of increasing the intensity, velocity, or duration of your workouts, it’s essential that you’re giving your body both the fuel and the rest that it needs to recover well. Otherwise, you could end up injuring yourself a lot more easily. Take care if you’re pushing yourself further.

Lifestyle & Culture

Watch this space for unique watch gifts

If you’re looking for something unique to surprise a friend or a relative who has everything they need, here are some watches they will find nowhere else. Dare we say: These gifts are no waste of time.

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Image source: Pexels.com

It’s that time of the year when you need to shop for Christmas presents. If you’re not traveling to see your family and friends due to the pandemic, it’s a good idea to start your hunt for the perfect gift early. Watches remain a favorite because of their versatile characteristics. You can buy a watch for people of any gender, age, and sexuality without any fear of offending them. Besides, who wouldn’t want a cool and stylish watch to start 2021? 

However, if you’re looking for something unique to surprise a friend or a relative who has everything they need, here are some watches they will find nowhere else. Dare we say: These gifts are no waste of time.

A vintage item that tells a story

There’s something oddly touching about buying someone a vintage item. But you can also tie your gift back to their interests. For instance, avid automobile enthusiasts would appreciate a vintage Michelin poster with Bibendum – the Michelin man. You’d be surprised to know that watches can be just as iconic.

Indeed, it can be tricky to buy an art lover a unique painting. But you can get them a used Patek Philippe watch, a brand that Pablo Picasso used to wear. A Patek Philippe is a luxury watch, which means the cheapest new model doesn’t sell under $16,900. Yet, a used collection can make some famous models more affordable.

IMAGE SOURCE: UNSPLASH.COM

Pride-inspired watch that does everything others do, but better

Life is not all rainbow and unicorns, especially for the LGBTQIA community. The pandemic is discriminatory. It has been affecting minority communities aggressively, putting LGBT populations at high risk. Indeed, the LGBT community is more likely to be insecurely housed, which makes self-isolation difficult.

Those who have HIV treatment have reported disruptions during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, this Christmas, a rainbow smartwatch is the most relevant and meaningful present you can give to a friend. 

IMAGE SOURCE: UNSPLASH.COM

A quirky ring watch that’s cutely practical

Do all watches sit on your wrist? We all have a creative friend who does her own things with passion. As practical as a watch can be, it can feel a little bit too dull for someone who has made creativity a lifestyle. Yet, a finger ring watch can bring an edgy feeling to your present. Ring watches work exactly like your typical wristwatch. But, the clue is in the name; they sit on your finger. While you can find them more and more, they are pretty unusual in horology, making them the perfect time companion for an unusual friend. 

A decimal watch for those who love a math challenge

There’s always a brainbox that can quote the Big Bang Theory backward. We all have a friend who reminds us of Sheldon and who seems to understand everything quicker than everyone else. So, how is a watch going to surprise them? Here’s the thing: Revolutionary France created the decimal watch, which divides the day into 10 hours. Decimal clocks and watches still exist, but they need to be ordered from specialist horlogerie companies. You can be sure they’ll enjoy this unique mathematical challenge! 

Watches are a universal gift. They can meet the needs of every personality and individual. But, more importantly, at the end of a tough year, they’re a thoughtful present that lets your loved one know how much you think of them. It’s the extra little hand to go through the end of a global pandemic.

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Health & Wellness

Lesbian, gay, bisexual communities more at-risk for dementia – study

Social inequality makes less privileged groups, including sexual minorities, more prone to develop cognitive impairment. So making the society more just and more accepting of diverse sexuality may help prevent dementia and reduce related health care burden on society.

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Lesbian, gay and bisexual — or LGB — people are more vulnerable to one of the fastest-growing health concerns in the country: dementia, according to research from Michigan State University.

“Our study speaks to the unaddressed questions about whether members the LGB community are more likely to develop cognitive impairment at older ages and, if so, what factors contribute to their poorer cognitive health, ” said Ning Hsieh, an assistant professor of sociology at MSU and lead author of the study published in the journal, The Gerontologist.

“We knew that stress and depression are risk factors for many chronic health problems, including cognitive impairment, in later life. LGB people experience more stressful events and have higher rates of depression compared to their heterosexual counterparts,” she said.

Analyzing the elevated cognitive health risks among older members of the LGB community, the study was the first to use a national sample and screening tool to gauge cognitive health disparities between LGB and heterosexual older adults.

Hsieh and MSU colleagues Hui Liu, professor of sociology, and Wen-Hua Lai, a Ph.D. student of sociology — compared cognitive skills of 3,500 LGB and heterosexual adults using a screening tool and questionnaire that tests for six domains. Those areas included temporal orientation; language; visuospatial skills; executive function; attention, concentration and working memory; and short-term memory.

Social inequality makes less privileged groups, including sexual minorities, more prone to develop cognitive impairment. So making the society more just and more accepting of diverse sexuality may help prevent dementia and reduce related health care burden on society.

The researchers found that on average, older LGB adults were more likely to fall into categories for mild cognitive impairment or early dementia compared to heterosexual older adults. The team also tested for specific health and social factors — such as physical conditions, mental health conditions, living a healthy lifestyle and social connections — and the only factor related to cognitive differences for sexual minorities was depression.

“Our findings suggest that depression may be one of the important underlying factors leading to cognitive disadvantages for LGB people,” Hsieh said. “They may experience higher rates of depression than their heterosexual peers for many reasons, including not being accepted by parts of society, feeling ashamed of their sexual orientation or trying to hide their romantic relationships and being treated unfairly in school or at work.”

The researchers felt surprised that other factors — such as fewer social connections, drinking or smoking — didn’t have as great of an effect on LGB people’s cognitive function later in life. But, they also recognized the need for additional research to understand how the stressors sexual minorities experience earlier in life can lead to cognitive impairments as they age. Additionally, Hsieh said, they hope that the study’s findings shed light on the need for greater inclusivity for sexual minorities, as it can have an influence on their mental and cognitive well-being.

“Social inequality makes less privileged groups, including sexual minorities, more prone to develop cognitive impairment,” Hsieh said. “Making the society more just and more accepting of diverse sexuality may help prevent dementia and reduce related health care burden on society.”

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Trump-appointed judges void Florida bans on conversion therapy for children

Two south Florida laws that banned therapists from offering conversion therapy to children struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity were declared as unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.

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Image by Juan Pablo Mascanfroni from Unsplash.com

Two south Florida laws that banned therapists from offering conversion therapy to children struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity were declared as unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.

In the case – Otto et al v City of Boca Raton, Florida et al, 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 19-10604 – the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals sided (in a 2-1 decision) with two therapists who said the laws in the city of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County violated their free speech rights.

American Republican President Donald Trump – the loser in the country’s latest presidential election, and who refuses to concede – appointed the two judges who supported conversion therapy.

According to Circuit Judge Britt Grant, the laws “allow speech that many find concerning – even dangerous,” but the First Amendment “does not allow communities to determine how their neighbors may be counseled about matters of sexual orientation or gender.”

The therapists in the case, Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton, said their clients had “sincerely held religious beliefs conflicting with homosexuality,” and they sought counseling to conform their identities and behaviors with those beliefs.

A study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law noted that 20 American states and Washington, D.C. already ban licensed healthcare professionals from conducting conversion therapy on children. The practice – which aims to change people’s sexual orientations or gender identities – stigmatizes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and is linked to depression, anxiety and suicide.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) also opposes conversion therapy, since the practice often assumes that homosexuality is a mental disorder.

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Health & Wellness

Loneliness in youth could impact mental health over the long term

Loneliness is associated with mental health problems, including depression and anxiety-potentially affecting them years later.

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Photo by Cristian Palmer from Unsplash.com

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated widespread social isolation, affecting all ages of global society. A new rapid review in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), published by Elsevier, reports on the available evidence about children and young people specifically, stating that loneliness is associated with mental health problems, including depression and anxiety-potentially affecting them years later.

The review, which synthesizes over 60 pre-existing, peer-reviewed studies on topics spanning isolation, loneliness and mental health for young people aged between 4 and 21 years of age, found extensive evidence of an association between loneliness and an increased risk of mental health problems for children and young people.

“As school closures continue, indoor play facilities remain closed and at best, young people can meet outdoors in small groups only, chances are that many are lonely (and continue to be so over time),” said lead author, Maria Loades, DClinPsy, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Bath, UK.

“This rapid review of what is known about loneliness and its impact on mental health in children and young people found that loneliness is associated with both depression and anxiety. This occurs when studies measured both loneliness and mental health at the same point in time; when loneliness was measured separately; and when depression and anxiety were measured subsequently, up to 9 years later,” Dr. Loades added. “Of relevance to the COVID-19 context, we found some evidence that it is the duration of loneliness that is more strongly associated with later mental health problems.”

From the selected studies there was evidence that children and young people who are lonely might be as much as three times more likely to develop depression in the future, and that the impact of loneliness on mental health outcomes like depressive symptoms could last for years. There was also evidence that the duration of loneliness may be more important, than the intensity of loneliness, in increasing the risk of future depression among young people.

For many young people, loneliness will decrease as they re-establish social contacts and connections as lockdown eases (e.g., as they return to school or college). For some a sense of loneliness may persist as they struggle to resume social life, particularly for those who were more vulnerable to being socially isolated before lockdown.

“It’s key that children and young people are allowed to return to activities such as playing together, even if outdoors, as soon as possible, and that they are able to resume attending school, which gives them a structure for their day, and provides them with opportunities to see peers and to get support from adults outside of the nuclear family,” said Dr. Loades. Furthermore, she added “children need more in their strategy for easing lockdown. Alongside this, the government could target children’s wellbeing in public health messaging. And meanwhile, we should also continue to embrace technology as a way to keep in touch.”

So whilst we do what we can to mitigate the effects of loneliness and re-establish social connections, we also need to prepare for an increase in mental health problems, in part due to loneliness, and also due to the other unintended consequences of lockdown, such as a lack of structure, physical inactivity and social and/separation anxiety that might be triggered when resuming social interactions outside of the home.

There are several levels at which we can prepare for the heightened demand:

  • Take a universal approach to promoting wellbeing through public messaging, and by schools doing activities to promote wellbeing in children and young people as they resume normal activities.
  • Seek to identify those who are struggling with loneliness as early as possible and do so by targeted interventions to help them overcome their struggles. This may be through the provision of extra support in schools, helping them overcome anxieties about returning to school, or giving them an extra hand with reconnecting socially with peers.

For those who continue to struggle over time, and can’t get back to doing the things they normally do as a result of their struggles, we need to ensure that they are made aware that services are open, and can provide specialist help, and to make sure that they know how to access this help and are supported to do so.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Sexy tips to spice up Christmas with your partner

Whether you want to offer a sexual gift or a Christmas-themed sexual favor, here are some sexy tips to spice up Christmas with your partner.

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With Christmas fast approaching, there is no better time than the present to buckle down and decide what to get all of your friends and family this year. Christmas is a time to love and if you are in a relationship, you may be trying to think of ways to make Christmas extra special this year. Finding something that they love and appreciate will make both of you feel good, especially if it is bedroom related. 

Whether you want to offer a sexual gift or a Christmas-themed sexual favor, here are some sexy tips to spice up Christmas with your partner. 

Introduce Sex Toys 

Christmas is about toys, so going to a sex shop and investing in some adult toys is a great way to spice up your sex life. You can go to an adult store or to various sex shops together. This will allow you to explore everything that they have to offer as a couple and learn more about each other’s likes, dislikes, and bedroom fantasies. If you are more reserved, you can look online at The Boudoir Store. They have the latest innovative sex toys for men and women, which can be delivered straight to your door to save you any embarrassment. 

Sexy Stocking Stuffers 

Getting some sexy stocking stuffers is a cheeky way to spice up Christmas with your partner. Going into an adult shop will allow you to get a proper feel for and understanding of a range of sex toys for you and your partner, so you should search in Google for ‘sex shop near me’ and start exploring. It gives you a chance to test how well you know your partner in the bedroom. During your search for erotic gifts, you may come across something you can dress yourself up in, which leads up to our next sexy tip. 

Wrap Yourself Up 

Wearing something irresistible this Christmas is a great way to get your partner’s heart pumping. You should look into sexy Christmas themed outfits or underwear to surprise your partner with. To finish off this gift, you can wrap yourself up. Covering your naughty areas up in wrapping paper and adding a gift bow, or simply tying a bow around yourself will finish off this sexy act a treat. Wrapping yourself up will really wow your partner and will make them very excited to unwrap their surprise.  

Set the Mood 

Setting the mood is key to making your partner feel sexy this Christmas. You should invest in some Christmas themed candles and throw some logs on the fire. This will create a Christmas themed and romantic atmosphere. Finding a sexy Christmas playlist is a simple yet effective way to get your partner in the mood during the festive season. Getting cosy and spooning by the fire, with delicious food and mulled wine will really create a sensual yet Christmassy atmosphere for you and your lover. 

Try Something New 

One of the best ways to keep your sex life interesting with your partner is to try something new. Finding new things that you both enjoy will keep the fire burning and Christmas is the perfect time of year to do so because it is a time for love and family. There will be plenty of time, food, and toys for you to experiment with in the bedroom. If you are nervous, you can enjoy a festive drink together and set the mood. There is always something new to try, you just need to research and prepare yourselves. 

There are so many areas that can be explored and enhanced in the bedroom. Having a theme to work with can help you be more creative, and the festive period creates the perfect atmosphere for making love and becoming closer with your partner. 

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Lifestyle & Culture

These are the weirdest and worst impacts of COVID-19

Let’s explore some of the weirdest side effects of this health pandemic.

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It’s true to say that COVID-19 and the health pandemic has rocked the world throughout 2020. It has led to numerous people suffering, either medically or financially. Indeed, the WHO recently warned that those most vulnerable to the economic dangers of COVID-19 are being completely overlooked in developing countries. Of course, the financial issues aren’t the only impact of COVID-19.

Let’s explore some of the weirdest side effects of this health pandemic. 

IMAGE SOURCE: PEXELS.COM

More Sex

We’ve mentioned this before. In the UK, there was essentially a sex ban unless you were married. However, this hasn’t stopped people from going out and getting freaky. Instead, it seems that more people are willing to throw caution to the wind now when it comes to sex.

Many experts are worried that COVID will trigger a new wave of sexual health diseases. Worse still, it’s fear that many people have not received the diagnosis they need because health clinics remained closed through the lockdown. 

More Accidents On The Roads

With fewer people traveling through the lockdown, you would think that this meant there has been fewer accidents on the road. This hasn’t been the case and research suggests that the opposite has been true. There have been more cases of drivers simply not paying attention to road dangers or even ignoring them completely.

It seems that the 20 percent unemployment rate hasn’t stopped people from traveling in key locations and when they do they are not taking the right safety measures such as wearing a seatbelt. However, it’s not all bad news. 

Less Pollution 

Through the lockdown, there was a sharp reduction in levels of pollution in key areas across the world. Indeed, many residents were delighted to find that their skies were no longer covered by thick smog. As well as this, the reduction in levels of pollution has also helped ensure that wildlife has been able to return to key areas of the world that it hasn’t been seen in for years.

Unfortunately, pollution levels did start to rise again almost as soon as the lockdown was lifted in key locations. 

The Rich Get Richer

You might think that everyone suffered a massive economic blow during the coroavirus pandemic. However, this wasn’t the case and many savvy investors were able to immediately increase their investment. While many people were buying up the toilet paper, stock market investors were selling and buying the right stocks. The impact had an unprecedented effect on stock market prices. It allowed those with enough capital to seize massive profits and avoid the panic completely. Unfortunately, most of the people who benefited from this situation were already rich, to begin with. You can’t play the game unless you already have money in your hands. 

As you can seem there have been numerous impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic beyond some businesses shutting their doors. It has pushed people into desperate situations and in some cases made them more willing to take risks in their life rather than continue to play it safe. 

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