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If you’re taking walks for the sake of health and fitness, that’s a great thing to be doing. But walking the same streets time and again can get tedious, so it’s best to have an interest, or some variation, to keep you going. Here are eight ways you can make your walks more fun, and get fit without even noticing.

1. Plan interesting routes

Seek out new routes that will lead you to streets and outlooks you’ve never come across before. If you know the area inside out, take the car or bus to a point further out and explore that instead. An urban suburb can be as interesting as a rural beauty spot, when you stop to look at the details. Perhaps do a little background research into the area beforehand, to get even more out of the trip.

2. Collect items of interest

Combine your walks with a hobby. If you enjoy art or craftwork, for instance, you could collect natural items like feathers, shells or pinecones, to support your work. If you’re a nature-lover, count the different species of trees or birds along your way. Maybe you’re interested in architecture, in which case, use your phone camera to capture the designs that attract your notice.

3. Take a dog

Many walkers feel happiest when they have a dog to lead. If you share this feeling but don’t own a dog, why not offer to take a neighbor’s instead? You’ll be doing them a favor, which they will probably appreciate on a regular basis. Dog-walking tends to be a sociable business, with owners stopping to chat as their dogs play.

4. Take equipment for fun activities

Children aren’t the only ones who like fun and games. Adults enjoy them, too, so plan some recreation for your walks. Take a ball, kite or small, battery-operated toy, perhaps, and head to an open, public space where you can use them. Next time, you might take a skateboard or a boomerang, or bread for the birds in the park.

5. Meet a friend

A social engagement can provide an excellent incentive to get walking. Perhaps you have a friend who’s also taking daily walks and would welcome a regular meeting point, whether it’s a coffee shop or a park bench. Otherwise, you could call on different acquaintances, selecting those who live a good walk away.

6. Take binoculars

With a pair of binoculars around your neck, you can enjoy extended views during your walks. It can be fascinating to zoom into a far-off scene or follow the movements of a rare bird. Binoculars provide an incentive for climbing hills, with the view from the top in mind, and hill-walking is especially good for your heart, lungs and limbs.

7. Listen to music and more

If you don’t have a personal music system, now is the time to get one. With your favorite tunes in your ears, and a steady rhythm to swing along to, your walks will take on an attractive, new dimension. Remember you can also listen to stories, comedy, language lessons, or whatever else may appeal, as you stride along.

8. Combine your walks with tasks

When you’re running an errand, you have an incentive to get you up and moving. Whether your goal is the grocery store, the library or a friend’s house, your sense of purpose will drive you briskly along. When there’s nothing you need to go out for, perhaps offer to run errands for friends or relatives. If you know anyone with mobility problems, they will be particularly grateful.

Pick a different enhancement for each walk, then think up some more, or allocate one to each weekday. You’ll enjoy your outings so much more, you’ll probably end up doing even more exercise than you were aiming for – and that’s the best way to get fit.

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Enjoy the Summer Sun – But Be Kind to Your Skin

Handy Tips for Summer Skincare

After a long, cold winter, the arrival of warmer weather is a welcome excuse to throw off the layers of clothing and enjoy the feel of sunlight on your skin. However, the summer months pose challenges for skincare, and if you’re not careful you can end up with more than a healthy glow to deal with. Here are five summer skincare tips to keep your skin looking radiant.

Pay Attention to Hydration

Keeping your body properly hydrated is vital for skin health during the summer months. Not only is the temperature outdoors higher, but air conditioning makes for a drier atmosphere indoors. Both of these factors mean you need to keep up your liquid intake if you want to avoid flaking, chapped skin. Get into the habit of taking on small amounts of water throughout the day, but also be careful of overindulging in coffee or alcohol – both of these have a diuretic effect which can quickly leave you dehydrated.

Moisturizer and Face Masks

Although drinking plenty of water is extremely important, moisturizer also plays a vital role in stopping your skin from drying out in the heat. Apply it to your face and hands as part of your morning beauty routine, and also before bed to stop overnight dehydration. It’s also a good idea to top up your moisturizer levels if you feel thirsty at any point during the day, as your skin will suffer the effects of dehydration before you’re consciously aware of it through thirst.

Your daily moisturizer regimen can also be reinforced by treating yourself to a weekly facial treatment. A good choice is a mask formulation including natural yogurt, which has strong hydrating properties to promote smooth, supple skin that better withstands the summer sun.

Use Exfoliating Scrubs

Hot weather can play havoc with your skin’s pores. Dust, sweat, grime, and the build-up of pollution can all leave residues behind, no matter how carefully you wash. A regular exfoliation routine, using either a shop-bought scrub or a homemade one using your favorite essential oils, will leave your skin feeling fresher and healthier as well as reducing the risk of pimples and acne.

Take Care in the Sun

Not so long ago a suntan was seen as a sure sign of healthy skin, but today the picture is a little different. The link between sunburn and skin cancer is well established, but even lighter over-exposure to ultraviolet rays can cause the unwanted appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and a leathery texture in your complexion.

Whenever a sunny day is forecast, ensure that you wear protective sun cream as a matter of habit, even if you don’t plan to spend time soaking up the rays. As little as twenty minutes in full sun can cause mild burning, while even ambient or reflected light can be harmful if you don’t take precautions. Ordinary high-factor sun cream is a perfectly good option, but to kill two birds with one stone, why not consider using a moisturizer with built in ultraviolet protection?

Repair Sun Damage Quickly

If you do happen to catch a little too much sun, you should take action as soon as possible to minimize and repair the possible damage. Applying a moisturizer infused with aloe vera will help to soothe inflammation and swelling, while also reducing the chances of your skin flaking and peeling as it heals. It’s important not to wait for visible signs of sunburn such as blistering, but to use the moisturizer as soon as you notice the distinctive tingling feeling that comes from over-exposure to ultraviolet rays.

Your complexion is a vital part of looking healthy and youthful, and it’s the canvas on which all your beauty efforts are painted. Taking good care of it by following these tips will ensure your skin copes with the challenges of the summer weather, leaving it soft, smooth, and with a beautifully vibrant glow.

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