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Getting in shape doesn’t have to be complicated. If you incorporate these five simple fitness tips into your routine, you’ll be on your way to looking and feeling great.

Keep Moving

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense exercise per week for the average adult. That works out to about 21 minutes of moderate exercise or 11 minutes of vigorous exercise per day. For the busy person, setting aside time for the gym might prove tricky. Chances are, though, even the busiest person can work in twenty minutes of movement.

Have a few minutes while microwaving lunch? Walk briskly in place. Waiting for water to boil? Try some jumping jacks.Keep your toes tapping and legs moving while working at your desk. For a bonus, take breaks as frequently as possible to stretch — even if it’s just raising your arms and straightening your torso. Need to clean? Turn on some music and make it fun. You’ll get your exercise in and wind up with a tidier home.

The bottom line: wherever you are or whatever you’re doing, keep your muscles moving. Even if you’re just walking in place, every little step counts.

Make It Fun

Some people like going to the gym and sweating on the treadmill or elliptical. If you’re one of those people, great. Renew your gym membership or buy some exercise equipment and knock yourself out. For everyone else, typical workouts can be a drudge.

If the gym isn’t for you, forcing yourself to go isn’t a long-term solution. Eventually, you’ll get tired of it and stop. Why not find some type of physical activity you enjoy instead? For example, dance classes, roller derby, basketball, hiking, rock climbing, or bike riding. The possibilities are endless.

No time for a new hobby? No problem. Fitness can be as simple as flipping on some music and dancing your feet off for as long as you can. Determined to make the whole gym thing work? Try spicing up your workout by listening to an audiobook or podcast while working up a sweat.

Buddy Up

The old adage “there’s strength in numbers” applies doubly to fitness. Finding a partner or group to exercise with makes it easier to meet your fitness goals. Having trouble getting out of bed and going to the gym in the morning? If it’s just you, it’s much easier to hit snooze and go back to dreaming of pizza and ice cream. However, if you’re meeting a friend, you’re more likely to haul yourself out of bed to avoid standing him or her up.

Having a fitness buddy also helps with accountability and motivation. A study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that 95 percent of participants who began a fitness program with friends completed the program. Only 76 percent of solo participants finished the program. Those who participated with friends also lost more weight than those who didn’t.

Treat Yourself

You’re working hard. You exercise and you eat right. Do something nice for yourself! As you meet your goals — or just maintain them — reward yourself for your efforts. It’s okay to have a slice of cheesecake every once in a while; just don’t go overboard.

Food isn’t the only reward to consider. You could also treat yourself with new clothes or a new game, a night out — whatever appeals to you. By giving yourself a reward, you’re reinforcing the idea that you’ve achieved something. When you complete tasks and reach your goals, the reward center in your brain sends out dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes you feel good.

The better getting fit makes you feel, the more likely you are to stick with it.

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Gardener’s Fix-All Hand Cures

It’s planting time, homesteaders! Spring is a time of sunshine and hard work as we take the trowels and plows out of the shed.

But your hands can take a beating from all the springtime festivities. When your hands aren’t feeling their best, it slows you down. Cure these common hand woes on the homestead with some of our favorite remedies.


Shovels have given me more than my fair share of blisters. And boy, does a bad blister ruin your day!

The key is to keep blisters dry and clean. Avoid popping them, since that can lead to an infection.

Follow an easy three-step process to speed up your blister’s healing time.

1. Soak the blister in warm (not hot) green tea.
2. Dab the blister with apple cider vinegar.
3. Coat the blister with a little aloe vera.

Cover with a bandage if necessary before you get back to work, and remember to wear work gloves.

Stained palms

Have you ever worked with beets, only to find they’ve stained your palms red?

Stained hands are a fixture of homestead kitchens and gardens. The best way to conquer dirty palms is with nature’s whitener: lemon. I keep a big jug of lemon juice on hand and it cleans my hands in a jiffy.

If you have stained hands, pour about half a cup of lemon juice over your hands. Let the juice sit for 30 seconds before rinsing your hands with warm water and soap.

Repeat as needed to fade the stain.

Dry skin

Over-washing and harsh chemicals can dry out your skin. When your skin gets too dry, you risk cracking and bleeding, which can lead to pain and infection.

The solution is simple: keep your hands moisturized. Before you get to work, apply warm beeswax to your hands. This will naturally repel dirt and protect your skin during subsequent washes.

You can also treat dry skin with a beeswax-coconut oil lotion. Simply melt beeswax and coconut oil in a double boiler, give them a good stir, add essential oils if you like, and allow to solidify in your favorite jar. Apply every night to heal your hands as you sleep.

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