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5 Hot Trends for Future-Proofing Your Home

5 Hot Trends for Future-Proofing Your Home

There’s no getting around it: technology is changing every aspect of our lives, and as technology continues its rapid advance, our homes run the risk of becoming obsolete—unable to accommodate the latest products and solutions designed to make them more affordable, eco-friendly, and enjoyable to live in. In addition, homes that cannot stand the technological test of time are destined to lose value and become far less desirable to prospective buyers. Although typical renovations may bring your home up-to-date for a few years, the real solution lies in “future-proofing”; looking ahead and making changes that will keep your home technologically relevant for decades to come. Here’s a look at 5 hot trends to consider in future-proofing your home.

1. Make your home “smarter”

A fast-growing trend is home renovation with smart technology. Through smart technology, homeowners can control such things as lighting, heating and AC, locks, home surveillance systems, and even appliances remotely via a smartphone or tablet computer. An Internet search for terms such as “smart home” will yield lots of information about smart products for home automation. The purchase and installation of these gadgets doesn’t have to be  hugely expensive, and it will definitely add value and livability to your home. Automated alarm systems are also a very desirable feature for any home—many companies integrate video, smart technology, and other perks into their systems, and since these technologies are relatively new, providers may offer free equipment and installation in exchange for your monthly commitment to use their service.

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Read More: A List of Smart Products for Home Automation

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2. Make energy-efficient improvements

Replacing outdated appliances with more energy-efficient models may cost more up front, but it will prove to be very cost-effective  in the long term. Aside from the monthly savings, newer high-end appliances are built to last longer. Other ways to future-proof your home would be to replace old toilets with new low-flow models, and swap out outmoded tank-style water heaters with energy-efficient, tank-less versions. Replacing single-paned windows with double-paned, energy-efficient windows is always a good move, since these windows are now mandatory in all new homes. Outdated insulation should be replaced with newer options such as spray insulation, which is less toxic and does a better job at sealing cracks and holes to keep your heating and cooling costs down.

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3. Make your home more eco-friendly

Homes that have undergone eco-friendly renovations to reduce their carbon footprint and overall impact on the environment are rapidly gaining in popularity. When remodeling, you should make use of recycled and reclaimed materials as much as possible, and with rising concerns over the use of formaldehyde in kitchen cabinets, going formaldehyde-free when updating your kitchen would be a smart move. It’s also recommended that you use 100% acrylic, low VOC paints as they are eco-friendly, odorless, and far less toxic to home occupants. The installation of a solar energy system is also one of the best eco-friendly steps you can take to future proof your home (solar is now mandatory for all new homes in Hawaii). Homes that rely less on the “grid” for electricity provide greater peace of mind by being more self-sufficient in an uncertain world.

4. Make room for an aging population 

As the baby boomer generation continues to age, future-proofing homes to accommodate the needs of senior occupants is a super hot trend these days. When remodeling or doing a room addition, it’s important to consider not just how the extra space will be utilized now, but how it might be used a decade or two down the road. Homes that have adaptable living spaces to accommodate changes in lifestyles, and meet the demands of multi-generational occupants, are rapidly gaining in popularity.

5. Make wiring changes for the future

Depending on the age of your home, it probably wasn’t wired to serve as a platform for ever-evolving technologies. As if it wasn’t hard enough to accommodate computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming systems and other technologies found in today’s homes, when you throw in a smart TV, you have the potential for a wiring nightmare. When upgrading wiring, think of where you want to have access to Internet, Ethernet, cable or other wiring in your home and how that may change in the future. Then wire your home accordingly. During the wiring process, it’s a smart idea to run an extra conduit to accommodate future wiring needs as technology evolves—making your home even more future-proof than ever.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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