How to Make Cardio Workouts More Enjoyable and Less Tedious

There are three favors that you should do for your body every day: giving it good rest, good nutrition, and movement. While unfortunately there is no shortage of people who fail to do the first two when it comes to self-care, it is the last one that people have the hardest time with.

Accommodating exercise in your daily routine is easier said than done. Sometimes it feels like there are just not enough hours in a day in our busy modern life. In addition to that, we are evolved to resist working out. But the benefits of leading an active lifestyle are too vast and all-encompassing to turn a blind eye to. From improved mood, concentration, cognitive function, and sleep patterns, to lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and musculoskeletal problems, the list of exercise benefits never ends.

What type of exercise should we do? According to many health experts, the best workout routines incorporate both strength training and cardio to achieve a decent state of fitness. Although there is some observational benefit overlap between the two, they each are focused on improving specific aspects of the overall health. Strength training like weight lifting increases your muscle tone and boosts your strength and bone density. Cardiovascular exercise strengthens your heart and expands your lung capacity.

A lot of the benefits we mentioned earlier are gained through cardio workouts. But honestly, it is not an exciting prospect for many of us. From the time it takes and its repetitive nature to the exhaustion it can cause, there are more than a few reasons that make us not look forward to engaging in aerobic activities. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By making the activity more fun, we will put more effort into it. So, apart from stopping being lazy, here are some of the things we can do to make cardio workouts more enjoyable.

Pre-Workout Supplements

One of the best ways to motivate yourself to work out is starting the exercise feeling more energized. Pre-workouts are usually marketed for bodybuilding but they have proved to be very beneficial with intense cardiovascular exercises too. Studies have shown that pre-workout supplements improve aerobic performance as well as increase training volume and lean mass maintenance.

Pre-workouts also reduce your levels of perceived effort which naturally results in improved endurance. This translates to less arduous and overwhelming workout sessions. The caffeine prevalent in these supplements have mental boosting effects as well. It bolsters your concentration as much as it provides you with increased energy levels.

Pre-workouts are among the most well-documented supplements within the fitness industry. However, you still need to pay extra attention to which pre-workout you choose. The FDA categorizes pre-workouts as dietary supplements and as such, they are not regulated for safety or effectiveness before they hit the market. Do your due diligence to make sure the supplement you choose does not contain harmful stimulants, provided you decide to use one.

Set Up a System

Like other forms of exercise, doing cardio is not instantly gratifying as its effects and benefits take time to transpire. And in an impaired cost-benefit analysis, our brains interpret this lack of short-term results as evidence of its cost-intensiveness and therefore perceive it as something not worth doing.

To help combat this natural tendency, we can set up some sort of progression system to help us get into the positive feedback loop much easier. There are many ways you can do this. If your primary goal is weight loss, take before and after pictures in predetermined intervals to make the fruit of your hard work less gradual and more noticeable.

If you are after fitness and optimal health, you can keep a record of the intensity and duration of your workouts as you push yourself to perform more and better over time. Do a little search on Google and you will be inundated with apps and online tools that can help you set and achieve your goals in interesting ways such as gamification. The goal is to make your brain dump a little dopamine every time you achieve a milestone, making the activity more enjoyable as a result.

Combine It with Other Interesting Things

One of the positive aspects of cardio is that it is mostly a physical activity and does not engage your brain. This leaves room for other enjoyable activities that can be done concurrently alongside it. Listening to your favorite podcast, music, or audiobook can easily draw your attention away from the workout, making it less monotonous, repetitive, and boring.

Also, aerobic workouts don’t have to be done on treadmills and exercise bikes. Activities like dancing and swimming are as effective but much more interesting. They don’t have to be done indoors either. You can accomplish cardio through hiking, jogging, biking, and more. The changing scenery that comes with exercising outdoors elevates the experience tenfold. It adds an extra layer of relaxation and de-stressing that simply cannot be achieved indoors; not to mention the extra vitamin D you gain from sun exposure!

How to Choose the Best College for You

Selecting a college or university is one of the biggest decisions you will make that will impact your future career and livelihood. So what are all the aspects you need to think of to ensure you make a good choice?

Choosing a college may be the first decision you make for yourself about your education. After all, the choice of schooling you had so far was likely to come from your parents or other caregivers. So what are you supposed to think about when selecting the place you will go onto for further study? In reality, there are many factors that need to align when it comes to making the best choice for you.

Select Your Subject Wisely

Before you even start looking at colleges, you need to know what subject you want to study. This is something that requires some time and careful thought. Don’t get caught up in an idea that a parent or teacher is keen for you to do, if you’re not really sure about it. Enjoy some space to think for yourself about subjects and possible future careers. What are you passionate about, and what are you good at? What could you see yourself being motivated to get out of bed every morning for? You may not have all the answers, but if you think about these points honestly, you’re more likely to find a subject that is right for you to study.

Research Relevant Colleges

Once you’re certain of your subject, look into all the colleges that offer that particular course. You’ll have a longer list of colleges for more popular subjects, but if you have honed in on a more specialist degree program, this will help you identify the colleges that you need to focus on. Look at your list of colleges in terms of their rankings, as a more prestigious institution will help you more when it comes to finding a job later down the line. Look at all the key statistics such as entry requirements, and start to map out which colleges might be a good match for your grades. Looking at acceptance rates will also help you see how realistic your application might be. For example, the Columbia acceptance rate will be proportionately lower compared to less sought-after universities.

Look At The Fees

Creating your list of top colleges that rank the best for your subject is a good start, but it might not be realistic for you to be able to attend all of them. The first thing to consider is fees. Different colleges and universities charge varying fees per semester, so you’ll want to shortlist colleges based on affordability too. You’ll need to calculate a realistic budget and consider how much of a loan you are willing to take on. While more expensive colleges would argue their higher fees translate into a better education and earning potential, crunch the numbers for yourself to see what is feasible for your personal circumstances. You don’t want to make an expensive mistake that cannot be undone.

Consider Geography

Another important aspect is the geographical location of your list of top colleges. While it’s no problem for some people to pack up and move to wherever they need to for their education, this is not an approach everyone can manage. Some people may need to be within a certain travelling distance of home for family reasons; others may simply not want to be too far from friends and loved ones. While it’s often beneficial to push yourself to have new experiences in different places, some people know they will thrive better closer to familiar surroundings. Take a close look at your list of top colleges for your subject and look at the travel times between the college and other places you need to visit. You may gradually start to discount some universities and colleges for these more practical reasons.

Look Into The Course Curriculum

Once you’re starting to hone in on a few colleges and universities that seem promising to you, start to dig into the details a little bit more. This includes the course content and exactly what is covered in the curriculum, how the content is delivered, and how many classroom hours there are per week. If you know you learn best through group projects and smaller sessions, you might be more tempted by a college that offers lots of hands-on workshops. A great way to figure out if a college is really for you is to visit it and meet people. This will give you an opportunity to get a feeling of the place, imagine where you would be learning and potentially living too. Importantly, you should also get a chance to meet both lecturers and students, when you can ask as many questions as you can think of to get an idea of the course and the community.

5 Planning Tips to Deal With Unexpected Expenses

Most people have been caught out by an unexpected cost at some point in time. Instead of letting this happen to you again, here’s how to plan for expenses you didn’t anticipate.

An unexpected expense could come from anywhere, and it usually catches people totally off guard. It might be something that goes wrong with your car or your house. It could be a bill you didn’t know was coming. Or it may be an item of your property that gets lost or damaged, such as a cell phone or laptop, and needs replacing urgently.

Sometimes an unexpected expense is something you forgot was coming. When you have to pay for something once a year, for example, you can forget that this infrequent bill was due. In other situations, an unexpected expense comes from something you rely on, in which case it would pay to have money set aside for ongoing maintenance.

Although unexpected expenses catch you by surprise by their very nature, there are things you can do to be better prepared. Here are five tips that could really help.

1. Identify Finance Sources

One way to plan for unexpected expenses is to know what financial options are available to you, should an extra cost arise. This could be as simple as knowing how much you have in the way of savings, or what your credit card limits are. This way, if something comes up, you already have a rough calculation of numbers in your mind regarding what you can afford. Another way you can plan for extra expenses is to compare personal loan options. Knowing how much you could borrow if something comes up also helps you handle unexpected situations a lot better.

2. List Infrequent But Regular Costs

To deal with the unexpected expenses that are bills you had forgotten were coming, you could make a list of all the costs that don’t occur frequently, but will happen at some point. This could be things like annual home or car insurance policies, your annual car registration costs, or any other insurance premiums you voluntarily pay. Check through your bank and credit card records from the previous year or two and highlight all the infrequent costs you made that you are likely to have to pay again.

3. Consider High Risk Possibilities

Another way to plan for unexpected expenses is to look at the areas of your life that carry higher risks for ad hoc costs. If you own a car, it is likely you will have to pay for repairs and parts replacements every now and again, since all cars suffer from general wear and tear. Everyone also has certain costs that relate to their health sometimes. Think about any check-ups or prescriptions you might need, if you might need new glasses at some point soon, or if your children may need certain check-ups, braces or glasses.

Another thing to factor in is if you rely on any technology for your day to day life. For most people, cell phones and computers are essential, and these will also break down at some point in time. And finally, there are many ‘nice to have’ extras that often catch people by surprise from a financial perspective. This includes Christmas – not only to buy Christmas presents, but also the cost of hosting festive meals. Identifying the highest risk areas in your life for unanticipated costs can help you ensure you have money set aside to deal with them.

4. Set Aside Money

Once you have identified the main areas of your life where extra expenses might arise, you can understand the additional amounts of money you want to have access to in order to pay for them. Knowing what lines of credit you have access to is important and gives you peace of mind if you get an unexpected bill. Setting some money aside is also a good way of feeling more secure financially. If finances are tight, you may have to think creatively about how you can create an extra financial cushion. You may want to consider everything from doing bulk grocery shopping to save money, to selling some unused items from around your home to build up a small amount of emergency funds.

5. Get Insurance

If there are certain areas of your life that carry too much risk for unexpected expenses that you would find difficult to cover, then insurance is another option. For example, if you have a pet who feels like a member of the family, and you couldn’t cover veterinary bills if they got sick, then pet insurance could be a wise move for you. There are also insurance options to cover situations such as critical illness or disability, meaning that you will still be able to cover unexpected expenses even if you come across more difficult times.

5 Ways to Ensure Hybrid Learning Works for Students

The mix between online and in-person learning – known as hybrid learning – is here to stay. Yet many education institutions are still trying to work out how to make this a seamless and engaging experience for students. Here are five ways to ensure hybrid learning has the maximum impact possible.

Although technological advancements have been making hybrid learning a possibility for years, it is the Covid-19 pandemic that has cemented hybrid learning as a permanent fixture in the educational realm. Putting health necessities aside, hybrid learning also opens up education to more people. After all, geographical constraints shouldn’t impact access to education. Furthermore, hybrid learning often goes hand in hand with flexible learning, which means students can balance their other responsibilities with getting an education.

Although the benefits of hybrid learning are clear, educational institutions are still in a process of implementing the right processes to make hybrid learning work well for everyone concerned. From technical glitches to inconsistent access to resources, and everything in between, sometimes the reality of hybrid learning doesn’t match up to the intended plan.

Here are the areas to focus on to make hybrid learning work for students, so that engagement and learning potential is even better than traditional learning methods.

1. Consistent Learning

A key thing to focus on when implementing an effective hybrid learning environment is to be consistent with everything from teaching methods to access to resources. Students need to know where they stand when it comes to their learning, so being as clear about this as possible is absolutely crucial. This means sharing teaching schedules well ahead of time, and sharing them in the same way every week, month or semester. If you use an online platform, use this for as many administrative elements as possible, so students know where to go to find out everything they need. If students can access their schedule, extra reading resources and pre-recorded lectures all in one place, the administrative side of learning won’t be a problem.

2. Build A Community

One issue with hybrid learning is that students don’t feel a connection with their peers or the teaching staff. This is why it’s important to place more importance on building a community than ever before. When you do meet together in-person, include ice-breakers and opportunities for networking, to maximize the connections people can make. This can be replicated using online tools too, for example by creating chatrooms for specific topics within a learning program. Also consider creating a rotating task that enables every student to get to know others, such as taking it in turns to mark short quizzes or host a discussion topic forum.

3. Allow Some Freedom

One of the wonderful things about hybrid learning is that it enables each student to travel their own unique path to learning. Rather than having to stick to regimented teaching processes and assignments, hybrid learning brings an opportunity to let students have a say in the direction their studies take. Since online learning works best in short bursts of activity, teachers can build tasks and challenges into their curriculum, allowing students to explore different topics on their own. This mixture of formally directed and self-directed learning has been proven to be very effective, and students respond well to taking responsibility for parts of their learning. Assignments can also more easily take multimedia forms through hybrid learning, and video presentations can be just as insightful as written essays.

4. Allow Smaller Groups

Hybrid learning technologies enable smaller chatrooms to be set up, so that students can go towards different areas for support depending on the stage of learning they are at. Chatrooms can be set up to discuss specific topics or assignments, or they can be created to break up longer lectures to enable group work. The technology is available to mirror the kind of learning activities teachers may have previously employed in the classroom, it just isn’t currently used very often to its full effect. Mixing up the learning routines and engagement dynamics can really help students learn to their full potential.

5. Regular Assessments And Contact

Another reason student fail to engage with the remote side of hybrid learning is because they feel they have little contact with their teachers. This is why regular assessments are crucial within a hybrid learning environment. In general, assessments need to be more regular for remote learning than they would be for classroom learning. This is to keep students motivated, as they realize their work is being constantly monitored. It is also very important for students to have one-to-one conversations with their supervisors on a regular basis. This human contact shows students the work they are doing is real and is being reviewed by their teachers. It also gives students an opportunity to feel connected to their educational institution, the feeling of which can subside if there is little face to face contact.

How to Know When to Replace Your PC

Computers are remarkable machines. They help us to do work, have fun, and stay in touch with our friends and family. Like people, computers grow old and become outdated as well. No matter how attached you are to your PC, you will have to upgrade or change it after approximately five years. Here are some warning signs that it might be time to replace your PC.

Laggy Gaming

You have been anticipating the release of the latest video game and have installed it immediately. Everything looks amazing. But once you start to play, you notice that your game is stuttering and moving at a lower FPS (frames per second). This serious issue affects not only the visual experience but your performance in the game.

While 30 FPS might have been acceptable for older games, 60 FPS is now the ideal frame rate for gaming. At this frame rate, the gameplay is fluid and responsive. If you are playing multiplayer games, 120 FPS can further enhance responsiveness so that your character can react swiftly and perform the necessary actions in a busy environment.

When your computer is unable to maintain a high enough frame rate for you to game smoothly, chances are that your GPU (graphics card) or CPU (central processor) is to blame (or both). If your CPU is outdated, it can create a bottleneck for your GPU. Similarly, if your GPU is not powerful enough to run the latest games, it can directly result in lower FPS when gaming.

Blue Screens

Oops! You are in the middle of writing an important email when your computer freezes and you are faced with a giant blue screen with a sad face emoticon. The dreaded blue screen of death (BSoD) is an error screen displayed by the Windows operating system (OS) when it runs into a fatal system error.

If you are experiencing BSoDs frequently, this could be due to problematic or overheating hardware, faulty hardware drivers, incompatible software, or issues with the files that run critical Windows processes. Users who are familiar with troubleshooting can check the minidump file from the error to find out more about what caused the error.

Aside from hardware issues, BSoDs can also be caused by viruses that corrupt your system files. Having the newest version of your OS is essential to ensure that your computer has the most stringent security updates. If your computer hardware is too old to support OS patches, then it may be time to consider a replacement.

Long Load Times

Your computer is taking so long to boot up that you usually press the ‘on’ button, then head to the pantry to make yourself a cup of coffee. If your computer needs an exceptionally lengthy amount of time to start up or shut down, this is a sure sign that it is straining to handle its workload.

You may also notice that certain applications, including your OS, are taking longer to load since they were updated to the latest versions. Sometimes, you try to multitask but find that your computer freezes for a short time when you switch between open applications.

This is a common problem that occurs when new software meets old hardware. Your current hardware may meet the minimum requirements to run a program, but other processes may add to your computer’s CPU and memory load and result in an overall clunky operation.

Hardware Compatibility Issues

So, your computer is running badly and you want to give it an upgrade. You have brought home the latest SSD (solid-state storage) drive and a 32GB stick of RAM (primary memory) to boost your computer’s performance. However, you are shocked to find that these components are not compatible with your existing configuration.

Certain CPUs can only be installed with specific motherboards. For example, if you have an AMD socket motherboard, an Intel CPU will not work. Similarly, every motherboard and CPU has compatible types of RAM. Contrary to common belief, mixing RAM sticks of different speeds can create latency and reduce performance. On top of that, your PSU (power supply) needs to produce enough stable power to run the entire rig.

It can be difficult to purchase updated computer components and realize that your PC is not ready for them. You could end up purchasing piece after piece of hardware in an effort to bring your computer up to speed. Before you start on the long road of buying new components for your old computer, consider if a brand new machine will save you money and stress.

The best way to know how to approach your computer quandary is to speak to a professional. Some computer stores have dedicated technicians that can evaluate your PC and give you important suggestions on how you can upgrade it or whether you should simply replace it. They can also recommend the ideal specifications and help you build your dream machine. Find out more info at this link and locate a quality computer store near you.