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The 15 Most Liveable Cities in the World and Why You Should Move There

The 15 Most Liveable Cities in the World and Why You Should Move There

What makes a city liveable for you? Things like transport, housing, political stability, health care, climate, crime rate and green areas are probably all on your list. These are more or less the same criteria used by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to come up with their list of the most liveable cities in the world.

It’s no surprise that the liveability rating has sunk for cities where unrest, war, or economic decline have dominated the headlines recently. Cities in this category include Damascus, Cairo, Tripoli, and Athens.

The liveability index notes that cities with low population density in wealthier countries tend to get to the top of the list. The one exception is Tokyo, which occupies 12th place despite being very densely populated (6,000 people per square kilometre).

So, according to the EIU and other sources, the top 15 most liveable cities (taking 30 factors into account) are:

1. Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne

    Melbourne was named the world’s friendliest city by Conde Nast Traveller magazine. Other factors which helped it earn the top spot were:

    • low crime rates
    • prestigious educational institutions
    • world-class healthcare

    2. Vienna, Austria

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    Vienna

      Vienna has world class cultural facilities including beautiful buildings, cultural events, and museums. Vienna’s transport system is cheap, and the city provides housing at reasonable rates. Its coffee houses provide a warm haven when the weather gets very cold.

      3. Vancouver, Canada

      Vancouver

        Vancouver’s infrastructure got very high marks, along with its health facilities. The Metro Vancouver’s Evergreen Line project got particular mention. Once it’s completed, it will be the longest rapid transit system in Canada. In addition, Vancouver is becoming a safer city, reaching a record low homicide rate in 2013.

        4. Toronto, Canada

        Toronto

          Toronto gets fourth place because it is one of the safest cities in the world. In addition, it has beautiful green spaces and attractive neighbourhoods which can be reached either by walking or with the excellent transport system. It has wonderful facilities for hosting sporting and arts events.

          5. Calgary, Canada

          Calgary

            Because of its proximity to mountains and beautiful weather for winter sports, Calgary is an excellent place to live. It is also clean and has an efficient transport system. It is an ideal center for organizing trips to the nearby icefields and glaciers and other spectacular mountain scenery.

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            5. Adelaide, Australia (tied for 5th place)

            Adelaide

              A safe, clean environment, with affordable housing prices plus a high standard of living helped Adelaide to share the fifth position. Its municipal policies regarding the environment and pollution are well known and appreciated by residents.

              7.  Sydney, Australia

              Sydney

                Sydney’s temperate climate is among the most pleasant in the world. Obviously that was a big plus in getting it into seventh place. In addition, there is a very low rate of unemployment and the economy is booming. It is a spacious city with a spectacular harbour setting, and has plus gorgeous beaches and a cultural life next to none. It would have scored even higher except for the infrastructural problems it has faced trying to cope with traffic and the very high cost of living. The photo shows Centennial Park in Sydney.

                8. Helsinki, Finland

                Helsinki

                  Helsinki has a population of 600,000 although that is growing at a fast rate, according to demographers. The capital city of Finland has led the way in energy efficiency and helping to preserve the environment. The city council is committed to building new residential areas and making the excellent transport system even better in the future.

                  9. Perth, Australia

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                  Perth

                    Perth is rather special because it has managed to strike a happy balance between open spaces and housing developments without ruining the environment. Work-life balance is also respected by the citizens of Perth, who value recreation highly. They have a superb natural environment in which to enjoy themselves.

                    10.  Auckland, New Zealand

                    Auckland

                      Space is no problem in New Zealand. The average population density is only 16 people per square kilometre, which is about half of the USA average. Auckland scored top marks for education, not least in caring for Maori educational needs.

                      Brilliant sunsets, a wide variety of ethnic food at reasonable prices and stunning street art make the city a very attractive place. Day trips are easy and there are ferries to Rangitoto Island which will give you a beautiful view of the city.

                      11. Copenhagen, Denmark

                      Copenhagen

                        Danish citizens rank at the top of the UN World Happiness Report. There are many reasons why they are so content. One is that they value their work-life balance and secondly they have one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Copenhagen is a compact, clean, and safe city. It looks after its environment well. Cycling lanes are everywhere and you can easily get to any city district in about 20 minutes. The population of Copenhagen is around half a million.

                        12. Tokyo, Japan

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                        Tokyo2

                          Tokyo would be much higher on the list if it were only measured by efficiency and safety. The transport system will impress you for such a large city. On top of that, there’s the almost universal politeness of the Japanese and the city’s astonishing amount of green space. Although Tokyo did not win their 2016 Olympics bid, their proposal to use the existing buildings as much as possible without adding more buildings was admirable. The photo shows passengers on theTokyo metro.

                          13. Stockholm, Sweden

                          Stockholm

                            Stockholm is a remarkable location simply because of the fact that one third of the city is built on water. Another third consists of 14 islands. It has been compared to Venice. It has an astonishing array of architectural gems and museums which make it a beautiful urban space to experience. Its districts are also colourful and distinctive, which, together with the friendliness of Stockholm residents, makes it a remarkable place to settle down in.

                            14. Frankfurt, Germany

                            Frankfurt

                              Frankfurt is one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. When you live there, you have an astonishing range of ethnic food stores, and eating out can be a real adventure. As regards the other liveability factors, these include:

                              • work hard, play hard mentality
                              • buzzing nightlife
                              • the village atmosphere of some city districts
                              • world-famous universities such as the Goethe

                              15. Dusseldorf, Germany

                              Dusseldorf

                                One of the most attractive things about living in Dusseldorf is the low cost of living. You can rent a one-bedroom flat in the city center for about $760 a month, while a month’s gym membership would only cost about $50. Dusseldorf has a relatively small population of half a million and scores high on the educational rating. It also has some very good international schools, and the city infrastructure is second to none. The atmosphere is also rather cosmopolitan.

                                Most people regard liveability indexes with a great deal of suspicion and I am inclined to agree with them. However, let us say that they are a starting point. Living happily in a city or country really depends on whether you can find a job (or live comfortably while retired), and integrate successfully by learning the language. It really is what you make of it. Just like everything in life!

                                Featured photo credit: “Cars Suck”/Denis Bocquet via flickr.com

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                                Robert Locke

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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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