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14 Cultural Date Ideas In Berkshire That Won’t Cost You A Penny

14 Cultural Date Ideas In Berkshire That Won’t Cost You A Penny

Endless countryside trails and mystical woodlands make it easy to see why the Queen calls Berkshire home. But you don’t need diamonds in your pockets for these 14 cultural date ideas.

1. Picnic by the Thames?

    From its source at the Cotswolds to the bustling City of London, the Thames River winds its way through Berkshire. Part of the 184-mile National Trail, the Thames path hugs the river’s edge and offers countless idyllic settings for a perfect afternoon picnic date.

    2. Sneak a kiss in a gypsy caravan

      Take your date to the Riverside Museum. Home to both the Screen House and the Turbine House, these former industrial buildings depict bygone days on the river, including gypsy life.

      3. Take the Long Walk to Windsor Castle

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        Get to know your date on the long walk through Windsor Great Park. Take in the royal grandeur of the world’s oldest inhabited castle from afar without paying to look inside. End your day with a stroll around a stunning lake at nearby Virginia Water.

        4. “Grandma flew Spitfires.”

          What a great conversation starter on a first date. Maidenhead Heritage Centre is the permanent home to the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) exhibition, Grandma Flew Spitfires. On the doorstep, arched bridges criss-cross a river, providing a portrait setting for a cultural trip down memory lane. Local history and aviation talks are on offer throughout the year.

          5. Woo your date with poetry

            Stoke Poges churchyard was made famous by Poet, Thomas Grey’s Elegy, Written in a Country Churchyard.[1] Ironically, it also became his final resting place, alongside his mother and sister in an unmarked, unglamorous grave. Gray’s Elegy went on to be recited by adults and children alike, encompassing British culture; it’s a beautifully written memorandum to the rural working classes. You’ll surely impress your date by reciting a few lines and telling Grey’s story.

            6. Profess your love from an Iron Age hill fort

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              If you can’t decide between a hill walk or a woodland walk, why not head to quaint Bradenham Village where there’s a choice of pathways leading through beech woods, picturesque gardens and farmland. After the scenery warms your heart, when you reach the Iron Age fort where King Alfred fought off the Danes, if you’re feeling brave, ask for a second date.

              7. If you ruled the world…

                Stroll through the pretty riverside meadows at Runnymede and debate the cultural significance of the birthplace of democracy. In 1215, it was here that King John sealed the Magna Carta. Show off your best qualities and tell your date how life might be if you ruled the world.

                8. Follow in the footsteps of royalty

                  Just like Cromwell did, explore Donnington Castle and the surrounding downs and you’ll be walking in the footsteps of royalty. Built in the 14th century, the castle’s defences were key to keeping its residents safe during the English Civil War. They were built so well they are still intact today. Among its long list of notable visitors are thought to be Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.

                  9. Connect over modern art

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                    After a romantic walk in the countryside, The Modern Artists Gallery near Pangbourne sets the perfect scene for connecting with your date over the talents of established and emerging artists. There’ll be no uncomfortable silences here.

                    10. Midsomer Murders trail

                      Okay, murder doesn’t usually go hand-in-hand with romance, however, fans of ITV’s Midsomer Murders will tell you that the Chilterns offer some of the prettiest rural walks in the UK. Crossing into Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, check out the locations used to shoot the series. There’s something about murder which will bring out the protector in one of you; a warm embrace is guaranteed.

                      11. Go Greek in Reading

                        Belonging to the University of Reading, The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology features the UK’s fourth largest collection of Greek ceramics. Also, it includes collections of Egyption and Pre-dynastic Roman artefacts.

                        12. Find giants in a tiny village church

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                          If you go on a date to the pint-sized village of Aldworth, you’ll discover St Mary’s Church, the resting place of the Aldworth Giants. The 7-foot stone effigies are thought to be life-sized replicas of nine members of the de la Beche family. Also in the grounds is a thousand-year-old yew tree and a pagan burial ground.

                          13. Embrace your animal instincts

                            The University of Reading is home to a fascinating collection of specimens from the animal kingdom. The Cole Museum of Zoology gives you and your date a chance to walk through evolution; you might get clucky over a dinosaur egg, get deep and meaningful about life, and without thought, grab an arm for reassurance when you spot a fossil of the world’s largest ever spider. If you’re worried about awkward silences, this quirky date idea should give you both lots to talk about. Donations of £1 are encouraged.

                            14. Get back in the saddle

                              Show your fun side and hit the bike trails at Swinley Forest. Designated a special protection area, this enchanting location will get your heart beating and bring out the child in you both. Get a real glimpse into your date’s personality: will they shy away from the challenge or show off? If you tumble, will they run to your rescue?

                              Image Source: 1. via nationaltrail.co.uk; 2. via picturesofengland.com; 3. via eventbrite.co.uk; 4. via shropshirestar.com; 5. via meticulousmick.wordpress.com; 6. via nationaltrust.org.uk; 7. via nationaltrust.org.uk; 8. via english-heritage.org.uk; 9. via stocksnap.io; 10. via isitmidsomer.com; 11. via museummutterings.wordpress.com; 12. via howardwilliamsblog.wordpress.com; 13. via notcot.com; 14. via pinkbike.com.

                              Featured photo credit: Unknown via pinkbike.com

                              Reference

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                              Last Updated on August 15, 2018

                              7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                              7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                              Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

                              Video Summary

                              Why is it important to train up our core strength?

                              There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

                              This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

                              Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

                              In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

                              One Exercise, multiple benefits

                              There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

                              By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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                              When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

                              Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

                              In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

                              What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

                              What will happen when you start doing planks every day

                                1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

                                Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

                                • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
                                • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
                                • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
                                • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

                                2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                                  Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                                  Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                                  3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                                    Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                                    4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                                      Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                                      A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                                      A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                                      On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                                      5. You’ll improve overall balance

                                        Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                                        6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                                          Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                                          7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                                            Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                                            How to hold a plank position

                                            1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                                            2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                                            3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                                            4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                                            5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                                            6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                                            7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                                            Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                                            Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                                              How to improve your plank time gradually

                                              1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                                              2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                                              3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                                              Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                                              Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                                              You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                                              • Prolapse
                                              • After prolapse surgery
                                              • Pelvic pain conditions
                                              • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                                              • Previous childbirth
                                              • Overweight

                                              Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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