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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Replacing outdated appliances with more energy-efficient models may cost more up front, but it will prove to be very cost-effective  in the long term.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 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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