Neighborhood Provides Chairs For Exercising Veteran

Some veterans dedicate their retirement to other kinds of service — whether it be therapy or fighting for animal rights. Others, like 95-year-old Harvey Djerf, prefer the quiet. Neighbors surprised the World War II vet by placing chairs in their yards as pit stops on his daily walk.

“It’s kind of snowballed now. I’m up to 12 chairs now,” he said. “They must’ve seen that I was pausing and catching my breath and that’s when they probably took pity on me.”

On occasion, Djerf’s thoughtful neighbors also surprise him with lemonade and cookies. A resident of the Plymouth community for 66 years, Djerf seems to have scored gold with its kind inhabitants.

Because the humble hero dedicates most of his time to his wife in an elderly home, returning to the neighborhood brings him comfort. It may not be Beverly Hills, but I’d say Djerf is living the ideal American Dream.

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Cop Sponsors Gym Membership For Teen In Need

A rise in police violence has left many doubting today’s justice system. Still, some cops — such as the handful from El Segundo who helped replace a teen’s stolen money — are demonstrating kindness. For a Chicago teen, sneaking into XSport Fitness was routine, as he could no longer pay for a membership. When staff phoned the feds, officer Mario Valenti offered to pay for the 15-year-old’s membership, granted he would stay out of trouble.

“After 23 years in this job, you size up people pretty quickly. And I could tell he was a gentle type of kid,” [said] Valenti.

Moved by Valenti’s gesture, the club offered to shoulder the remaining funds for a two-year membership. Teen Vincent Gonzales, an aspiring point guard, expressed his gratitude through a text and on national television. Similarly, Valenti’s good deed lifted a burden off his own shoulders.

“You get satisfaction out of helping people, especially because our job is so negative,” Valenti said.

Good cop, bad cop? In Valenti’s case, just cop, as his actions should be standard for anyone in law enforcement.

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Senior Swimmer Sets Freestyle World Record

World records and the elderly don’t usually ring a bell, unless you’re talking giant casseroles. All the same, some aren’t letting the “old and wretched” stereotype fly, especially not George Corones. The Australian swimmer recently broke the 50-meter long course record by 35 seconds — and he’s 99-years-old!

“It was an exemplary swim for me, well balanced… and I was ready to hit the [wall] at the end very hard with my hand,” he [said].

The superstar senior swam the length in just 56.12 seconds, for the 100 – 104 years men’s category. I didn’t even know people lived that long. Corones’ swimming career was put on hold during World War II and re-commenced at the age of 80.

“I gave it up at the beginning of the war [World War Two], and I don’t think I had a swim of any description until I retired,” he added.

“I started swimming again for exercise.”

Looks like exercise brought this aging man of steel a long, long way! (To the Commonwealth Games trials, to be exact)

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Sustainable Jogging Is Sweden’s Newest Fad

Getting strangers to clean up after themselves almost always involves an incentive. For Starbucks regulars, it’s a 5p charge on single-use cups. For Freiburg Cup users, its a 1 euro tip back for returns. But for the Swedish community, cleaning-as-you-go is simply an everyday habit — and it’s called plogging.

“It’s not that everyone should be running about picking up other people’s litter. It should be put in the bin in the first place. But I believe all of us should make an effort to keep our surroundings clean.” [said jogging group leader Anna Christopherson.]

The exercise, which has now gained traction in Scotland, pays homage to the Swedish word “plocka.” Meaning both to jog and pick up, the play on words is perfect. Mastermind Christopherson has even incorporated stretching into the mix.

“Quite a few joggers already take it on themselves to pick up litter when they see it in their running spots. Having a whole group of joggers doing this regularly could make a real difference to parks, paths and pavements.”

For some, giving back is less of a hassle when it’s convenient. For ploggers, it’s just another tick on the to-do list.

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Make The Most Of A Productive Morning Routine

For workaholics, sleep often becomes a thing of the past. Still, busybodies can find ways to stay healthy and remain alert, even in the early morning. But for night owls, getting up at any hour before 9 is more or less a daily struggle. Not much of a morning person myself, I find that the hours leading up to a long-awaited lunch break are dragging. Nevertheless, I’ve grown into a routine that make 7, 8, or 9 am wake-up calls a lot more bearable, and even productive.

The number one hurdle to a fulfilling morning is lack of sleep. Work may call for the occasional late night but, if you can help it, get enough sleep. Your eight hours are crucial and if it means rescheduling a much needed Netflix binge, Riverdale can wait. Granted, an extra hour or two of sleep may not ease the struggle of getting up, but you’ll thank yourself for the boost of energy later.

While others may indulge in an early-morning jog, let’s face it — not everyone can bear with the wrath of exercise. Instead, try morning stretches. Do a handful of push-ups or jumping jacks immediately after getting out of bed. It may be lazy, but at least it’ll keep you from wanting to jump right back under the covers. That, and you’ll get your blood running.

When rising early, thoughts of reuniting with one’s beloved mattress often trump daydreaming about breakfast. Regardless, remember to eat right. While the first meal of the day doesn’t have to be a gourmet masterpiece, it should at least be good for you. Go with a dish that is both healthy and easy to prepare. Sound options are eggs, oatmeal, fruits, and nuts. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a cup of coffee — but mind your caffeine intake throughout the day!

Overcoming the first workload hump isn’t the easiest task, so leave enough time to shower and hydrate. Starting your morning fresh will, more often than not, keep you energized. But, aside from your body, your mind has to feel good too. Find ways to quickly exercise your brain. Meditate. It’ll relieve the stress of being awake and keep the nerves at bay. Guided meditation may inspire you, as well as prevent any chances of dozing off.

Before getting into the grind, organize your tasks. Naturally, you’ll want to get the hardest ones out of the way — but not when your brain is booting up. Get your simple assignments over with. Not only will they wake you up, but make you feel a sense of accomplishment. Working on the heavier jobs later on will relieve the pressure of having to think about menial errands.

Not all mornings will be easy. Like with anyone else, there are good days and bad. But getting into a healthy routine will alleviate most of the moaning and groaning, and make trivial chores a lot more bearable. Take it from a self-proclaimed nocturnal being — the sun may be a bit blinding, but at least we’re not really vampires.

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Too Much Tech: How To Kick Smartphone Addiction

Being unable to part with your smartphone seems like it belongs on an episode of My Strange Addiction.

However, spending too much time playing Candy Crush is about as real as it gets. In fact, statistics (yes, those exist) show that 11% of people in Western countries suffer from some form of technology addiction.

On average, people spend about 5 hours on their phone a day, which seems reasonable, except it’s not. People sleep 8 to 10 hours a day, which means of the 14 or so hours we spend awake, we dedicate around 35% to our phones.

Kicking your smartphone addiction isn’t as harrowing as it sounds and can actually be gratifying.

What keeps us glued to our screens is an endless stream of notifications. Message? Tweet? FaceBook status? Instagram like? Every few seconds is a tap on the shoulder.

To make things easier, turn off your notifications. While not receiving an alert regarding how many people have reacted to your new profile picture may be stressful, trust me — you’ll live. In fact, it may eventually feel liberating.

If you’re the type of person who needs a constant reality check, keep track of how much time you spend on your phone a day. 

Various apps can monitor your usage and even tell you when you need a break. Use these apps to set goals for yourself. Do you want to reduce an hour of screen time? More? Be realistic but not too lenient.

If you’re a busybody, try out a manual to do list. Sure, iPhones make it a lot easier to figure out what you’re supposed to do and when, but jotting down tasks allows you to focus.

The most effective form of note-taking is handwritten, because muscle memory allows you to more successfully absorb information. With just a pad and pen, you won’t be subjecting yourself to any potential distractions.

After a long day at work or school, catching up on current events may seem like a rewarding and logical activity. While it can be, you can change things up by reading the newspaper. Who knows? Perhaps it may even inspire you to read a book — you know, where real stories are told.

On weekends, being able to spend the entire day alternating between social media and games may seem like a sensible bonus. Not if it’s making you inactive.

Try something new. Start out small. Check out a coffee shop you don’t normally frequent. Go to the library (while they’re still relevant). If you have one, walk your dog at a park on the other end of town. Do something refreshing and, if you must, document it on your phone (but not the whole time!).

Lastly, be more social. You may be outgoing, but spending 3 hours looking at photos of baby goats with your friends isn’t really bonding. Explore the great outdoors or simply go see a movie — yes, with your phone on silent mode.

Tacky as it may sound, life is too short to spend all of it on a 4.7-inch screen. Or 5.5, if you’ve got a Plus.

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Going Vegetarian: What You Need To Know

I am everyone’s go-to person when they decide to stop eating meat. I became vegetarian some four years ago in my early twenties, to which people respond, then it must be easy. If I, a bacon lover for the first two decades of my life, can eliminate meat from my diet, then anyone can. This is partially true — while anyone can transition into vegetarianism, it isn’t easy.

For starters, have good reasons for wanting to go green. Becoming vegetarian can’t just be about “trying something new” or responding irrationally to the Earthlings documentary. Do you want to cut fat or increase your nutrient intake? Is helping the environment on your radar? List everything down and consider your motives carefully. Vegetarianism isn’t only diet-related — it’s a drastic change in lifestyle.

Do research, and I mean a lot of it. Find out what foods can replace the protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins you get from meat. Weigh the financial aspect of having to purchase different ingredients. Understand how the shift will affect you physically and even mentally. And on that note, consult a doctor. If you are anemic or suffer from low levels of blood sugar, perhaps going vegetarian isn’t the most practical choice for you.

Once you are comfortable with your decision and accept the fact that you bidding trips to Burger King adieu, figure out how you want to transition. If you are not a fan of the cold turkey method, consider taking it slow. Gradually wean yourself off meat. Quick jumps could shock your body.

With every diet comes a brand-new pantry. For a segue this major, find good recipes in advance. While the cookbook route is a great path to take, online sources are just as useful. Bookmark easy-to-cook meals that you can familiarize yourself with. Of course, do a lot of planning. While vegetarians aren’t aliens, not every restaurant will have a good variety of meat-free courses. Having a vast selection at home is the safest way to go.

If you can’t seem to let go of the wonderful taste of meat, buy substitutes. Trust me, there are alternatives to almost anything, but they don’t always come cheap. Scour your local supermarket — you’re likely to find a hidden gem. While substitutes may taste exactly like meat, they may not always provide the same amount of nutrients, so stock up on healthy replacements. 

Being mostly herbivorous doesn’t always equate to being healthy. While there are junk foods made with vegetarian ingredients, they can also be detrimental to your body. If you are a heavy snacker, limit your junk food intake. Vegetables might get boring but there are many different ways to spice things up with different preparations.

Most of all, remember to exercise and find time to relax. If your diet is making you feel deprived and triggering mood swings, you’ll hardly last a week. Get good energy circulating by going on an occasional jog and engaging in your favorite activities. And if it makes you feel any better, know that a lot of cows and pigs are grateful.

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These Health Tips For Workaholics Will Keep You Fit

We’ve seen the rise of health-tracking devices such as skin sensors and wearable hydration systems. While they are impressive, busybodies may not find them to be equally as useful. However, there are many ways to stay in shape when you’re constantly on the move. Try out these health tips for workaholics to keep your mind and body sharp!

When it comes to food, pack your snacks. Nothing is more of a time-saver than having meals right at your desk. You may even have room to multi-task. While meal planning seems something of a hassle, making it a habit eases the stress of having to think too hard. To make things even simpler, stick to three-ingredient meals that can be easily stored for at least a few days. Anyway, leftovers — whether you agree or not — can taste absolutely delicious!

If you’re looking to get toned or want to maintain your physical health, exercise in intervals. YouTube hosts an abundance of 15 to 20-minute workouts that can easily be achieved in your home or office. (Now, if only we could get our colleagues to refrain from having a laugh…) Quick, high-intensity exercises are sometimes more effective than prolonged routines. And let’s be honest — morning routines? Not happening.

Being constantly occupied, it’s easy to forget that our bodies actually need a substantial amount of water. When the going gets tough, don’t stress — hydrate! Don’t underestimate how energizing eight glasses of water a day can be. And on that note, don’t forget to shower. A fresh bath is more refreshing than we give it credit for.

For the extra-skittish, meditate. There are no skills required — just an ounce of patience and a dash of focus. Spending 10 minutes breathing may seem futile (and for the hyperactive, boring), but you’ll be surprised how de-stressing it is.

While it may seem impossible, shut off technology at least an hour before bedtime. I won’t lie, I tend to struggle with this in particular, but find that I fall asleep faster when I’m not watching videos of baby goats. The temptation to constantly refresh notifications may be a lingering one, but there’s nothing a little willpower can’t handle. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself in the morning.

Though some workaholics are notorious for being scatter-brained, being organized is a valuable skill to have. Set daily, weekly, or monthly goals. Use a journal or go virtual. A calendar always helps. If you miss a goal, don’t beat yourself up — adjust! Find out what you couldn’t handle and make the appropriate changes. Being neat is also vital, as you don’t want to worry about where you may have misplaced your car keys. Set schedules, but leave room for spontaneity on weekends. You want your life to be systematic, not boring!

Most importantly, while spending your free time being productive is great, take a break. Whether you’re treating yourself to a simple long-weekend getaway or a full-on vacation, set aside time to wind down. After all, if anyone knows what it feels like to fall victim to routine, it’s definitely me.

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Wearable Hydration System Is Great For Runners

When it comes to tracking one’s health, there is a gadget for every fitness buff in the field. There is a technology for monitoring nearly anything, whether as part of one’s clothing or used directly on the skin. What we sometimes forget are the humbler devices that contribute directly to our fitness routines. This slick wearable hydration system called Wetsleeve may not be high-tech, but it’s a great tool for runners.

The deceptively simple concept — a forearm-length wrap that comes in three sizes and encloses a fluid-holding compartment —has several innovative design features.

The reservoir, which holds 12 fluid ounces, fits within the zippered upper portion of the sleeve and is detachable for refills. The silicone mouthpiece of the reservoir sits just above the wrist, making drinking easy.

Even better, the water stays cold for at least 30 minutes — the perfect amount of time for a jog. Additionally, Wetsleeve has compartments to store small items such as house keys. Creator Dave Herring also believes Wetsleeve will have a positive environmental impact, because the device is refillable.

“Every day, I see so many empty plastic water bottles — especially on the beach. Anything we can do to reduce that is a good thing.”

Cheers to that, Dave!

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Medical Algorithm Helps Patients Walk Again

Throughout the years, patients with neurological disorders have relied on prosthetics and animal testing in the hopes of regaining the ability to walk. In the U.S. alone, nearly 5.4 million people suffer from a type of paralysis. Expensive and often difficult to obtain, treatments are hard to come by. But this new medical algorithm can help the nervous system ‘relearn’ movements.

The smart walk assist is an innovative body-weight support system because it manages to resist the force of gravity and push the patient back and forth, to the left and to the right, or in more of these directions at once, which recreates a natural gait and movement that the patients need in their day to day lives.

After just a single hour on the harness and algorithm, all 30 tested patients saw an improvement. The procedure has overcome the obstacle of losing muscle mass and neurological wiring.

This is a smart, discreet, and efficient assistance that will aid rehabilitation of many persons with neurological disorders.”

While patients are literally taking it a step at a time, this is definitely a huge leap for the medical field.

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