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5 Tips For Leading A Plastic-Free Life

5 Tips For Leading A Plastic-Free Life

You’ve probably heard plenty of speeches and slogans about how important it is to take better care of our planet, like: It’s the only one we get. The problem with a lot of these speeches is, no one seems to remember that you’re just one busy person who would love to “save the Earth,” if you knew how.

There are a lot of little things you can do to help, including cutting back on the amount of plastic waste you produce daily. Never thought about it before? Well, now you are. Thinking about it is only the beginning, though: If we don’t change our habits, the amount of plastic we throw away won’t change, either.

Luckily, there are ways you can move toward living a plastic-free life without making huge changes or monetary donations.

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1. Take a garment bag when you pick up your dry cleaning

You probably don’t think about what you carry your clothes home in after they’ve been dry cleaned. Your clothes usually come back wrapped in plastic, which you’re only going to peel off the next time you plan on wearing your favorite outfit. Of course, you can ask that your clothes not be covered. But to make sure they’re protected on your way home, there’s another, environmentally friendly option.

Instead of taking your clothes home from the cleaners covered in plastic you’ll only throw away later, put them in a garment bag and carry them out that way. If you have a habit of picking up your dry cleaning on the way home from work or while running other errands, keep an extra garment bag in the backseat or in the trunk of your car so you won’t forget it before leaving the house.

2. Buy a razor with removable blades

Let’s be real: Shaving is a necessity, regardless of your age or gender. It’s easy to pick up a pack of disposable razors at Target on a whim, but that’s a lot of plastic for just one person.

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You don’t need to stop shaving just because you want to start living a plastic-free life (or as close to it as possible). Instead of cheap, disposable plastic razors, invest in a reusable razor that lets you replace the blade when it gets too dull to use.

Bonus: You’ll end up saving money in the long run, too.

3. Skip the straws

You know the drill: Order your iced mocha latte. Then, wait. Grasp your caffeinated prize and snag a straw on the way out so you can enjoy it while you drive. There are a few things wrong here, but one that stands out: You picked up a straw. A plastic, disposable straw. What were you thinking?

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You were thinking you just needed coffee, obviously. You can still enjoy that coffee and help out the planet by skipping the final step in the process: Leave out the straw. You don’t need it, and neither does the nearest landfill.

4. Bring your own containers to restaurants

Do you cringe when you’re out to dinner with friends and ask for a box to take your leftovers home in? No? Many takeout boxes are not recyclable, and while it’s a good thing you’re taking your food home instead of throwing it away, you’re up scaling your waste production. This is easily avoidable.

Just bring your own storage containers to the restaurant with you. It’s the exact same thing you might do at home when you want to save part of your dinner for tomorrow. When you’re done with them, instead of throwing them away, you can just slide them into your dishwasher and save them for next time.

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5. Shop at your local farmer’s market

There are plenty of reasons why environmental enthusiasts will tell you to shop local. Cutting back on plastic waste just so happens to be one of them.

Not only do local markets often give you reusable bags to carry as you shop (or let you bring your own), but you’re also much less likely to take home fruits and vegetables in plastic containers (as you might at your regular grocery store). If the market is within walking distance, even better!

Remember

Plastic has conveniently found its way into most of the products we use in our normal routines. But with a little practice, you can start to replace it with better, more environmentally friendly habits. You may not be able to make all these changes at once. But with time, you’ll find it’s easier to adapt than you think.

Featured photo credit: NatalieMaynor via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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