Take your exercise outdoors this springtime

The sun is shining and the days are longer, yes springtime has finally arrived! For those of you that turn your back on outside exercise during the colder months, now’s the time to embrace the spring sunshine and take your workout to the great outdoors.

Forest and park runs

Dedicated runners will still have pounded the pavement during the cold, dark winter days while many of us stuck to the gym. Now the weather is milder, take your run to your local forest or park to enjoy nature as well as fitness. Starting your day with a jog in lush green surroundings will invigorate both your mind and body. It will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead with a smile on your face.

Garden yoga

Yoga is such a versatile activity and can be done anywhere; from in front of the TV to a gym studio. Why not make the most of the sunny weather and move your mat to a nice piece of grass. Whether it’s your own back garden, or a communal class in the park, doing the downward dog outside will add a whole different dimension to your workout.

Sand sprints

If you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, then running on the sand is a must. Keeping fit at the beach gives your body a tougher workout, as sand adds resistance, making exercise more challenging. Running across a beach as opposed to the pavement will see calf circumference increase and keep your lower body engaged at all times. You don’t have to just stick to running though; crab walks, mountain climbers and planks are just a few exercises that will yield impressive results.

Music can boost love life

If your love life has fizzled out lately, then it’s time to put on your favorite music and get in the mood this Valentine’s Day. It seems the old wives’ tale really is true; certain songs do make you want to have sex and it’s all because they boost the connection you feel with your partner. A study conducted by neuroscientist Dr. Daniel J. Levitin for smart speaker manufacturer Sonos has concluded that music helps us feel physically and emotionally closer to that special person – leading to a more active love life.

During the research, entitled Music Makes It Home, 30,000 music fans all over the world were quizzed on how tunes impact their lives. Of those taking part in the survey, couples were 67 per cent more likely to have sex when music was playing, and an impressive 86 per cent of participants said their mood was enhanced by the right tunes.

The homes of 30 families were then observed to see how behavior changed when certain music was playing. During week one, participants were not allowed to listen to any music out loud, while in week two they could listen to songs as loud as they liked whenever they wanted.

The study showed that people were generally far happier when they could share the music they like with others, with 15 per cent more laughter recorded, as well as a 16 per cent boost in mood and 25 per cent of individuals feeling more inspired. Playing music in the home also led to people spending more time together – an average of three hours and 13 minutes more per week. Parents included in the experiment found that they were 37 per cent more likely to spend alone time together in the bedroom when music was on. In addition, 33 per cent of couples were more likely to spend time making dinner together, and 12 per cent got closer in proximity.

“The truth is people may be sharing a home but they’re not sharing much else,” Dr. Levitin explained in a video released by Sonos. “Schedules, stresses, personal devices make people feel disconnected from one another.”

The words ‘I love you’ were also more likely to be uttered in households where music was played out loud for everyone to enjoy. So blare your favorite love songs this weekend and enjoy some quality time with that special person in your life!

If your love life has fizzled out lately, then it’s time to put on your favorite music and get in the mood this Valentine’s Day. It seems the old wives’ tale really is true; certain songs do make you want to have sex and it’s all because they boost the connection you feel with your partner. A study conducted by neuroscientist Dr. Daniel J. Levitin for smart speaker manufacturer Sonos has concluded that music helps us feel physically and emotionally closer to that special person – leading to a more active love life.

During the research, entitled Music Makes It Home, 30,000 music fans all over the world were quizzed on how tunes impact their lives. Of those taking part in the survey, couples were 67 per cent more likely to have sex when music was playing, and an impressive 86 per cent of participants said their mood was enhanced by the right tunes.

The homes of 30 families were then observed to see how behavior changed when certain music was playing. During week one, participants were not allowed to listen to any music out loud, while in week two they could listen to songs as loud as they liked whenever they wanted.

The study showed that people were generally far happier when they could share the music they like with others, with 15 per cent more laughter recorded, as well as a 16 per cent boost in mood and 25 per cent of individuals feeling more inspired. Playing music in the home also led to people spending more time together – an average of three hours and 13 minutes more per week. Parents included in the experiment found that they were 37 per cent more likely to spend alone time together in the bedroom when music was on. In addition, 33 per cent of couples were more likely to spend time making dinner together, and 12 per cent got closer in proximity.

“The truth is people may be sharing a home but they’re not sharing much else,” Dr. Levitin explained in a video released by Sonos. “Schedules, stresses, personal devices make people feel disconnected from one another.”

The words ‘I love you’ were also more likely to be uttered in households where music was played out loud for everyone to enjoy. So blare your favorite love songs this weekend and enjoy some quality time with that special person in your life!

Manly winter skincare tips

When it comes to skincare, women tend to have it down. As a guy there isn’t as much advice available, so we’ve compiled some top tips for the boys to follow this winter.

Fact: face scrub isn’t just for girls! It may seem strange to scrub your face when the weather is cold and your skin is dry, but by exfoliating you’ll be removing dead skin cells and creating a smoother, healthier surface. You can use warm water and a cloth to make the process gentler; simply massage your face in small circles, giving extra focus to any cracked or dry patches. No need to do it every day; once or twice a week will be enough. We suggest trying Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub or Bulldog Skincare For Men Original Facial Scrub.

After a thorough wash your face will be craving moisture before you step outside into the chill. A good cream is vital, but you’ll want to make sure you choose the right one for your skin type. Lighter options suit oily skin, while heavier creams are best for dry. Or if you’re an aftershave user, purchase one which is nourishing enough for you to skip using a moisturizer after shaving.

You and your razor need to tread carefully in winter and if possible, we suggest hopping into a hot shower as soon as you’ve finished your shave (alternatively douse the clean areas with warm water). It will help open up your pores and produce softer hair – the last thing you want is icicles hanging off your chin.

This is where beard shampoo enters; it may sound made up, but it will keep your facial hair nourished throughout the colder months. Grizzly Adam Beard Wash and Shampoo and Murdock London Beard Shampoo are just two of the options.

Rather than laughing at your girlfriend or female friends offering you a swipe of their Vaseline, take advantage! Or if you need a manly one to tackle chapped lips, EvolutionMAN Lip Balm or Tom Ford Hydrating Lip Balm are highly recommended.

Essentials oils for anti-ageing

As we get older, we start to get more nitpicky and aware of the lines popping up on our face and our skin in general. There are plenty of different creams and serums and treatments to help curb aging, but if you want to start off with a much simpler and more frugal way of getting rid of those wrinkles, essential oils might be the way to go.

When our age increases, the natural oil production in our skin decreases, subsequently creating dry skin and wrinkles. Thus, a way to prevent that from happening is to simply replace the lost oils with new, essential oils.

Essential oils are concentrated aromatic oils extracted from parts of trees and plants, and are full of nutrients and proteins which help cell-regeneration and maintain the bounciness of collagen. And because essential oils are all natural, they can be absorbed into the skin safely and effectively, as opposed to company-made creams and products.

Moreover, essential oils tend to be much cheaper than anti-aging products, and when mixed together can create some super effective serums. Here are just some essential oils that contain great anti-aging properties to rejuvenate your skin.

Frankincense Oil

You’ve probably heard of frankincense before, perhaps around Christmas time in various carols and stories, but what is it exactly? Frankincense itself is an aromatic resin from Boswellia trees, and often used in incense and perfumes. In essential oils, frankincense helps regenerate skin cells, therefore reducing wrinkles and tightening skin. It’s also a natural toner, helping to balance skin’s pH balance and decrease the appearance of pores.

Myrrh Oil

Myrrh is mentioned as much as frankincense in your holiday season, and like frankincense, it also greatly benefits aging skin. Myrrh has anti-inflammatory properties which help improve firmness and skin elasticity. It is typically used to smooth out aging skin and prevents under eye wrinkles from forming.

Sandalwood Oil

The natural astringent properties of sandalwood helps soothe skin, reduce wrinkles and help scars to fade away. It also contains nutrients which help improve circulation and promote smoother skin.

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil has skin regenerative properties in it, helping to delay sun spots, fine lines, age spots and scarring. Not to mention, it smells great and helps you and your body relax and adapt to stress.

Rose Oil

Rose oil is helpful in maintaining skin elasticity by stopping the breakdown of collagen, which prevents wrinkles from popping up. It also is great for dry skin, refining skin texture and tone, and aids in managing conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis.

What to know about the Zika virus

The Zika virus is spreading like wildfire through the media, causing mass panic around the globe. But how much do we actually know about the condition? Before you find yourself in a frenzy, here’s some pointers on what to be familiar with.

1. Humans catch it through mosquitoes

It’s well known that these bugs carry diseases, and the Zika virus is one of them. But it’s only the Aedes species of mosquito which transmits it, the same species that can give people the dengue fever that can cause illness and death in tropical locations. While many mosquitoes come out at night, these ones are more active during the day and have a more aggressive bite.

2. It can be transmitted through blood or sexual contact

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention haven’t given a warning about this as the evidence is quite limited, there have been a few cases documented. They showed Zika had been transmitted through a blood transfusion, and it was also found in semen even after leaving the infected person’s blood stream. Add an extra barrier by wearing a condom if you feel wary.

3. Pregnant women be careful

Zika has been linked to major birth defects as the virus can be transmitted from mother to fetus, or even to newborns, although this is more rare.

“The major concern with Zika virus and pregnancy is possibly a link to a condition known as microcephaly,” Niket Sonpal, M.D., associate clinical professor at Touro College of Medicine in New York City, states, according to shape.com. “With this condition, the baby’s head is much smaller than expected, which can lead to many neurological problems.”

4. It’s spreading rapidly

There were only a few cases of the Vika virus in humans up until 2007, but nine years later the illness appears to be spreading eastwards. It’s hitting the Caribbean, South America and Central America, and is now deemed as a pandemic. It’s even causing travel bans.

5. But it might not be serious

The severe symptoms of Zika are extremely rare for women who are not pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out. More common effects are joint pain, rash, fever and conjunctivitis which last between a couple of days to a week. Only one in five people who contract the illness will really suffer, with Niket sharing recovery tips.

“For people who do get sick, the illness is usually mild and self-limited. Rest, getting enough fluids, and time will take care of it,” Niket said. “If you don’t get better after a few days, see your doctor right away.”