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Winter Destinations to Include in Your Travels This 2017

Winter Destinations to Include in Your Travels This 2017

Some of us are winter babies who’d rather bask in frosty sunlight and adjust our clothing layers based on our cold toleration. We look forward to Christmas season not because of the gifts, but because of the skiing opportunities, abundance of hot chocolates, rosy cheeks and snow. Lots of it.

Whether you’re looking to avoid summer or just want to experience Christmas in June, here are some places to enjoy winter activities all year long:

1. Japan

From December to March, Japan offers many opportunities that can only be enjoyed during winter time like hot spring baths, hot pots, or a visit to a village made entirely out of ice.

Temperatures during Japanese winters tend to fall below 10℃ (50°F), so keep yourself warm. Looking kawaii isn’t really necessary, but you can try using disposable heating pads to protect your feet from the cold without the need for bulky footwear. There are a handful of ski resorts to choose from that are just a few hours away from Tokyo.

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2. Canada

Picturesque Niagara Falls is even more scenic when its waters are frozen and glazed over. Go skating in Ottawa’s Rideau Canal, which freezes over in the months of January and February. The world-renown 7.8 kilometer-long skate way is equivalent to 90 Olympic-sized rinks.

Your definition of “freezing” will completely melt away (pun intended) once you experience a Canadian winter, since temperatures tend to remain at subzero, even reaching -20°C.  Indoor hockey is the country’s number one sport; treat yourself to tickets to a live game and cheer along with fellow local supporters.

3. Alaska

It typically feels like winter all year long in Alaska, but popular to contrary belief, they get summers WITHOUT snow, too. Since the sun doesn’t set until midnight, your days feel much longer.

If you’re patient enough, you’ll even be able to see an Aurora Borealis without the need to travel to faraway winter wonderlands like Iceland or Russia.  Other typical winter action include ice skating, winter biking (using studded tires or fatbikes), snowmobiling, or snowshoeing.  Try extreme sports like heli-skiing or watch dog sleds slide along in a race if you prefer adrenaline boosting activities.

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4. Iceland

Tourism has increased in Iceland in the past year. Don’t be fooled by its name and presumed temperature – it gets just as cold as New York, sometimes even colder.

Taking a dip in the therapeutically healing waters of the geothermal Blue Lagoon during winter is perfectly normal. Go ice caving, glacier hiking, ride a snowmobile or walk along black sand beaches.

Plan your tours ahead of time, especially if the northern lights is part of your itinerary. This activity requires a rather dark accommodation due to the light pollution in the main cities.

 5. Tahoe

Home to one of the more kid-friendly slopes, Tahoe offers family-packages that include going on a sleigh ride (while pretending you’re part of Disney’s Frozen cast). I know for a fact that my definition of “fun” during winter also included sledding and tubing, which are also a must in Tahoe. This was always followed by a warm cup of hot cocoa indoors, complete with marshmallows on top.

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Adults have the option of going to the winery if they’re in no mood to hit the slopes or gamble at a casino.

 6. New Zealand

There’s snow from the months of June to September for those trying to escape the sweltering American summer. Trek like a hobbit thru their snow-capped mountains and green fields as these were also major filming locations for The Lord of the Rings movies. Go whale watching around their migration period around June or July.  

Like Iceland, New Zealand also offers dips in their geothermal hot springs.

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Winter lovers, rejoice! You finally have year-round destinations to choose from that doesn’t necessarily fall in December. Dressing comfortably will determine how much you’ll enjoy your excursions. Aside from saving money on electricity, living in these cold temperatures means no more excessive sweating, easily adjustable clothing layers (rather than stripping down during summer).

Catching a late sunrise in any of these places is worth it. And anything that includes a fluffy blanket and a warm cup of coffee or tea is always a good idea.

Featured photo credit: Pexels.com via pexels.com

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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