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Top 10 Most Affordable Cities in Southern California

Top 10 Most Affordable Cities in Southern California

California Dreamin’ wasn’t #89 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time for nothing. Aside from its popularity as a song and being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the song epitomizes the desire and longing that so many have felt to be in California — not just during the winter months or for Tinseltown, but for those California Girls.

With 38.8 million people living in California, and 22.68 million of them in Southern California alone, just knowing that the state has over 12% of the US population makes one wonder what the big draw is.

California Sound and the Beach Boys aside, Southern California is actually a great place for raising a family, has nearly-perfect weather year round, and well, you’ll be living the California Dream. Below, we’ve listed the top Southern California cities to live in.

Irvine

As #1 on the NerdWallet’s list for best cities for young families in Southern California, and in the top 100 on Livability’s list of best places to live, Irvine is at the top of our list for a reason. Set just a little inland, Irvine has consistently ranked as one of the best places to live. Its livability score on AreaVibes is 86, and it received A’s all across the board (aside from cost of living). With 10 higher education campuses and continually generous support for public schools, Irvine is one of the best places for families. Irvine has a medium income rate of $92,663 and only a 7.64 unemployment percentage, far less than the nation’s average.

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    Fullerton

    Fullerton is a quaint, picturesque city set in Orange County. With one of the top Public Schools and a rating of 8 out of 10 for Capistrano Unified School District, Fullerton has been ranked as an “Exceptionally Livable” city. With a lower median housing value than most Orange County cities, nine different parks within one mile of each other, and at least a dozen libraries and book shops, Fullerton offers families a wonderful living experience. With better scores for education, weather, employment, and even better housing, Fullerton ranks higher than Provo, UT — which ranked higher than it on Top 100 Best Places to Live.

    fullerton

      Costa Mesa

      With the Orange County Fair, Pacific Amphitheatre, and South Coast Plaza all close by, Costa Mesa is another top city in Southern California to live in. Also considered “exceptionally livable,” Costa Mesa has high graduation rates and an extremely stable housing market. Between Huntington Beach and Newport, Costa Mesa is a short drive to the beach and surpasses the supposed #1 place to live in the US, Madison, WI, with a higher median household income and a lower crime rate — Costa Mesa should really be #1 on that list.

      sealbeach

        Seal Beach

        With a Greatschools rating of 10 on NerdWallet, Seal Beach, California is not just one of the best, but one of the cheaper choices for families in Southern California. With top company Boeing calling Seal Beach home, it has one of the lowest housing values in California. At $286,400, Seal Beach also competes with another top US city to live in — Arlington, Virginia. As #3 on the Top 100 Best Places to Live, Arlington’s median housing value rockets to $577,300. Seal Beach also has a higher high school graduation rate than Arlington, at 93%. Seal Beach boasts a tight-knit community — when the pier needed major rebuilding, the community came together to save the pier and raised $2.3 million.

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          Rancho Santa Margarita

          As #2 on NerdWallet’s top Southern California cities, Rancho Santa Margarita definitely is on our list! With a small-town feel, Rancho Santa Margarita has a high-quality education background with a 94% graduation rate. With an exceptionally high median household income of $102,975, Rancho Santa Margarita’s small and local businesses have played a huge role in the city’s growth since 1999. (According to NerdWallet, there was a 31.22% income increase from 1999 to 2012!)

          cypress

            Cypress

            The quaint suburb town of Cypress, California is a great place for new families. With great neighborhoods and a Greatshools rating of 9 from NerdWallet, Cypress ranks high on the AreaVibes livability scale. Cypress battles the #2 best place to live, Rochester, MN, with a lower crime rate and higher median household income. Oh, and don’t forget the better weather! Cypress ranks an A+ on local.niche.com

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            placentia

              Placentia

              With a 46% lower crime rate than anywhere else in California, Placentia is a great and safe place to raise a family. Placentia also has a higher average household income ($75,693) than even San Diego ($63,990). It also has a high graduation rate, like most other California cities, and was named the “second-best place to live” in California according to The Orange County Register. Among this, Placentia also has a low unemployment rate, sits next to some beautiful lakes, and has great weather!

              Citrus_groves,_Golden_Ave.,_Placentia,_June_1961

                Murrieta

                Nestled between Temecula and Corona, Murrieta, California is a booming town in Riverside County. With a 133.7% population increase from the years 2000 to 2010, Murrieta definitely ranks on our top 10 cities. With an extremely low average housing value, at $286,600, Murrieta competes with our other top cities to live in. It also ranks 48% lower in crime rate compared to other California cities, and even Boulder, CO — which hits #4 for livability. Murrieta also has a much lower cost of living than Boulder and a higher household income, at $75,485.

                anaheim

                  Anaheim

                  Home of the Anaheim Angels and Disneyland, Anaheim California is the epitome of California Dreamin’. With a lower housing value than most other Orange County cities, at $415,900, Anaheim’s beautiful summer temperatures and great sightseeing make it a fun and adventurous place to live.

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                    Westminster

                    As another top city with a lower housing value ($462,100) than most California cities, Westminster has a wonderfully stable housing market. It’s even ranked as “extremely livable!” It has a great high income per capita and tons of great local amenities. With its close proximity to the LA metropolitan area and Little Saigon, Westminster offers great fun for families. It also scores an A+ on local.niche.com, and even though you may run into some notorious LA traffic, you can be sure to find great a personal injury attorney close by.

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                      Featured photo credit: Cypress at Lover’s Point Park, Monterey Bay/Ed Suominen via flic.kr

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                      Last Updated on June 18, 2018

                      What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

                      What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

                      Eight out of ten adults experience lower back pain once in their lifetime. I am one of those people and I’m definitely not looking forward to my participation award. I know how it feels like to step out of bed and barely being able to put on your socks. Having lower back pain sucks. But 9 out of 10 patients that suffer from lower back pain don’t even know the primary cause of it.

                      Video Summary

                      Back Pain? Blame Our Evolution

                      Once upon a time in our fairly recent past, our ancestors felt the urgency to stand up and leave our quadruped neighbors behind. Habitual bipedalism, fancy word for regularly walking on two legs, came with a lot of advantages. With two rear limbs instead of four, we were able to more efficiently use our hands and create tools with them.

                      Sadly, life on two legs also brought along its disadvantages. Our spine had four supporting pillars previously, but now it only got two. The back is therefore naturally one of the weak links of our human anatomy. Our spine needs constant support from its supporting muscles to minimize the load on the spine. With no muscle support (tested on dead bodies) the back can only bear loads up to 5 pounds without collapsing [reference Panjabi 1989]. With well-developed torso muscles, the spine can take loads up to 2000 pounds. That’s a 400-fold increase.

                      Most people that come to me with a history of a herniated disc (that’s when the discs between the vertebral bodies are fully collapsed, really severe incident), tell me the ‘story of the pencil’. The injury with the following severe pain usually gets triggered by picking up a small, everyday object. Such as a pencil. Not as you may think by trying to lift 100 pounds – no, but by a simple thing – such as a pencil.

                      This tells us that damage in your back adds up over time, it’s a so called cumulative trauma disorder. Meaning back pain is a result of your daily habits.

                      Sitting Is the New Smoking

                      Whenever I sit for too long, my back hurts. In fact, 54% of Americans who experience lower back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting. But isn’t sitting something that should reduce the stress of your back? No, just the opposite.

                      The joints between the bones of the spine are not directly linked to the blood supply. These joints instead get nourished through a process called diffusion. Diffusion works because molecules (such as oxygen, important for cells) are constantly moving and try to get as much space for themselves as they can. A key element for diffusion therefore is a pressure difference. In the image below the left room contains more moving molecules than the right, that’s why the molecules from the left are moving to the right. This way nutrition gets transformed into the joints, whereas toxins are transported out of the joints.

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                      Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spinal chord. The diffusion process therefore can’t function as efficiently. Nutrition and toxins can’t be properly transported, the joints get damaged.

                        Sit Properly

                        If sitting can play such a huge part in the creation of your lower back pain, how do you sit properly then?

                        Is it better to sit with a straight back or should you rather lay back in your chair? Can I cross my legs when I’m sitting or should I have a symmetrical position with my feet? These are questions that I hear on a daily basis. The answer might shock you – according to recent science – all of them are right. The best sitting position is an ever-changing one. An ever-changing position minimizes the pressure on certain points of your spine and spreads it on the whole part.

                          Credit: StayWow

                          Stand Up More

                          Even better than a sitting position is a stand up position. Standing dramatically reduces the pressure on your spine. If you’re forced to work on a desk the whole day though, you have two options.

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                          Take breaks every hour of about 2-3 minutes.

                          Set an alarm on your phone that goes off every hour! In that time you stand up and reach to the ceiling, on your toe tips with fully extended arms. You’re inhaling during the whole process. You do this activity for 20 seconds. Afterwards you’re walking through the office for the next 2 minutes. You might grab a healthy snack or some water in that time. The exercise relieves the pressure on your spine, while the walking makes sure that the joints on your spine are properly used.

                          Or get a standing desk.

                          One of the best companies on the market for Standing Desks, according to my research, is Autonomous. Autonomous offers a rather cheap Standing Desk, with the ability to change the height. Which means you can start the day standing and switch to sitting if you’re tired.

                          Exercise for Lower Back Pain

                          Sitting is an immobile position. Your joints are made for movement and therefore need movement to function properly. If humans are moving, all moving parts: e.g. the joints, bones and muscles get strengthened. If you’re in a rested position for too long, your tissues start to deteriorate. You have to get the right amount of activity in.

                          But not too much activity. There’s a chance that going to the gym may even increase your risk of lower back pain. I know plenty of friends with chiseled bodies that suffer from pain in the spine regularly. Huge muscles do not prevent you from back pain. In your training you should focus on building up the muscles that are stabilizing your back and relieve pressure. Squats with 400 pounds don’t do the trick.

                          The more weight you carry around, the more weight your spinal chord has to bear on a regular basis. That’s one of the reasons why huge, muscular guys can suffer from back pain too. One of the most important goals of your exercise regimen should therefore be weight loss.

                          Here are some important tips for you to consider when starting an exercise regimen:

                          Make sure you implement cardiovascular training in your workout routine.

                          This will not only help you lose weight, it will also make sure that your arteries, which flow to the tissue next to your spinal discs, are free of placque and can therefore transport nutrients properly.

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                          Important: If you have rather strong back pain, maybe even an herniated disc, don’t start running on a threadmill. Running is an high-impact exercise. Which means there are continuous, reocurring high pressure points on your spine. Your endurance training should therefore either be fast-paced walking or a training on the elliptical trainer for the beginning, because both have little to no stressful impact on your backbone.

                          Focus on developing your whole core if you want to minimize your pain.

                          There are some people that do hundreds of sit ups a day. While sit ups are a good exercise for your abdomen, it also puts pressure on your spine due to the bending movement. A sixpack workout routine is one-sided. Your abs may become overdeveloped in comparison to your back muscles. You’ve created an imbalance. A great way to train your abdominal muscles and back muscles simultaneously, is holding the plank position.

                          Stretch only if you have tight muscles.

                          I remember stretching every morning after I woke up. I took 10 minutes out of my day to just work on my flexibility and prevent injuries. Little did I know that I was actually promoting an injury, by doing so.

                          Contrary to common belief, stretching is only partially beneficial to treating lower back pain. Stretching makes sense if tight muscles (such as the hamstrings) are forcing you to constantly bend your back. Stretching to treat pain doesn’t make sense if you’re already on a good level of flexibility. Hyper-mobility may even enforce back pain.

                          If you found out that you had tight muscles that you need to stretch, try to stretch them at least three times a week. Don’t stretch your muscles right after you wake up in the morning. This is because your spinal discs soak themselves up in fluid over the nighttime. Every bending and excessive loads on your spine is much worse in that soaked-up state. Postpone your stretching regime to two-to three hours after you’ve woken up.

                          Where to Start

                          The key to improving your habits is awareness. Try to get aware of your back while you’re sitting down, laying down or lifting an object next time. This awareness of your body is called proprioception. For example, you have to be aware whether your back is bended or straight in this very second. Trust me, it is harder than you might think. You may need to ask a friend for the first few tries. But the change that this awareness can make in your back pain is absolutely fascinating. This consciousness of your body is one of the most important things in your recovery or prevention.

                          Here are a few behavioural tactics that you need to be considering:

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                          If you’re leaning forward more than 30 degrees with your upper body, support your spine with your arms.

                          Ever tried to show a colleague of yours a complex issue and found yourself awkwardly leaning forward on their desk, pointing with your fingers to his paper? If that ever happens again, make sure you’re using the not-pointing arm to support yourself on the desk.

                          Keep a straight back.

                          Be it while exercising, stretching or standing. If you’re bending your back you’re putting stress on small areas of your spinal chord. A straight back redistributes the force to a bigger area. You’re minimizing the pressure. Remember this whenever you’re at the gym and reracking your weights, focus on having a neutral spine.

                          Put symmetrical loads on your spine.

                          I used to play the trumpet when I was a child. The instrument is pretty heavy. The trumpet gets transported in a big, metallic suitcase – with no wheels. Being the nature of suitcases, you only carry it with one arm, on one side of your body. This forced me to constantly lean on the other side with my upper body, while transporting the instrument from A to B. Not really the healthiest activity for your spine as you can imagine.

                          If you have to carry heavy objects, carry them with both arms. Put the object in the middle of your body and keep it as close to your mass of gravity as you can. If this is not possible, try to carry the same amount on the left side than you do on the right side. This puts the stress vertically on a fully extended spine. The load is much better bearable for your spine.

                          Stay Away From the Back Pain League

                          Our world is getting more sedentary. We will continue to develop faster transportation, more comfortable houses and easier lives. While our technological progress definitely has its amazing benefits, it sadly has its downsides too. The danger for back pain will continue to rise on our ever-increasing motionless planet. It’s time to raise awareness.

                          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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