Monday, February 29, 2016

Swimming Technique - Use Less Energy to Swim Faster and Better

It is amazing how quickly you can be coached out of a bad swimming technique, once you have the right instruction. The advantages to aerobic fitness level, muscle tone and speed and efficiency in the water can be remarkable and can occur in a relatively short period of time.

Benefits of Improving your swimming technique
For most people, all that is needed to improve their techniques are slight tweaks that will break bad habits. Making these small  changes to your technique can have immense benefits. Studies have shown the improvement in swimming technique can result in swimmers using less energy per length but completing distance far more speedily. In other words, the goal is to swimi smarter not harder.

Here are some quick tips to help you improve your technique and start swimming like a professional swimmer:

Body Movement -  Is your body flat to the water or moving from side to side? Think of a large panel of wood in the water. How much momentum does that have? Not much at all, right? Now think of a streamlined kayak. It has a hundred times more momentum because it is not flat to the water. You must always be sure that your body is in motion side to side.

Increasing Speed - How do Olympic swimmer power through the water? You might think it has something to do with strength and stamina. But there is more to it, a secret that you probably would never know unless you had been taught by a coach or friend. To increase your speed, you must be relaxed in the water. Remaining relaxed is one of the most important parts of perfecting your swimming technique.

Pulling - Creating a perfect pulling technique is all in the elbow. Watch a video of any of the Olympic swimmers and you will see that they keep their elbow high and close to their body. Those who have not perfected the pull will pull either too wide, with a straight arm or across their body.
That’s exactly how you can start improving your swim stroke and speed up your swim time.

By utilizing these tips, it will help you become a stronger, quicker, more efficient and faster swimmer….and fast!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Benefits of Practicing Yoga

Yoga has become a popular method of exercise in the united states. The mental and physical health benefits of this practice are numerous. Many athletes work yoga into their regular exercise routine. Here are just a few benefits of practicing yoga.

  • Stress relief - This is probably the most well-known reason to practice yoga. It has a calming effect much like meditation. It involves slowing down and focusing on your body.
  • Flexibility - Yoga involves a lot of stretching and increases your range of motion. It improves flexibility and mobility.
  • Strength - Many of the postures in yoga strengthen the body and relieve muscle tension. This practice is known for working every muscle in the body. Muscles that would not typically get exercised are utilized in yoga.
  • Breathing - Lung function is improved by the slow, deep breathing in yoga.
  • Weight loss - Some people do not realize that yoga aids in weight loss. It reduces cortisol levels and burns calories.
  • Circulation - Yoga poses encourage the body to efficiently transport oxygenated blood to the body’s cells.

Yoga is a great way to maintain and improve your health. It can be a strenuous, tough workout or a more relaxing experience. As with any practice, it takes time to become proficient. However, you can obtain the benefits of yoga by simply starting a regular routine.

Tips to Improve Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is a frequently used term in real estate. A potential buyer or renter gets their first impression of your property based on the exterior appearance. This “curb appeal” sets the tone for future interactions with the property. Therefore, it is crucial to have great curb appeal. There are a number of things you can do to boost curb appeal.

  1. Clean - This may seem obvious, but you must keep the property clean and free of debris. Store trash bins in the back and consider power washing the home, walkways, and driveway.
  2. Front door - The front door should be inviting. This is the focal point and it should welcome people inside. A new door or fresh coat of paint makes a significant impact. Place a wreath or decoration on the door to give it a more inviting feel. A matching mailbox is a great way to add to the overall appearance of the property.
  3. Landscaping - Great landscaping is vital. It should be balanced and visually appealing. Add some vertical interests to keep the property from appearing too flat. Remember, plants are not the only way to improve landscaping. Replacing an old concrete walkway with cobblestone or replacing mulch with interesting rocks are examples of how you can improve landscaping beyond plants.
  4. Think seasonally - Make sure your landscaping works throughout seasonal changes. Plan ahead, planting spring bulbs for example.
  5. Problem areas - Address problem areas directly. If there is an unsightly issue on the property, remove or fix it. If this is not possible, then find an attractive way to cover it. Blemishes will be noticed so do not ignore them.

Do not underestimate the importance of curb appeal. Few people will take the time to look at the interior of a home if the exterior is unattractive. Use the exterior of the home to peak interest and pull people inside.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Choosing the Right Assisted Living Facility for Your Loved One

Assisted living facilities vary greatly in quality. When choosing the best location for your loved one, there are a number of things to evaluate. When considering a facility, visit the property in person. This will give you the most accurate information and allow you to make an educated decision. Here are the primary characteristics to look for when seeking a high-quality assisted living facility.

  • Staff - A friendly, responsive staff is vital. Speak to a variety of employees to get a feel for personalities and overall attitudes of staff members. Check qualifications of the staff. Make sure that management is hiring properly trained individuals. Do not hesitate to ask about licensing and training. If they seem hesitant or unwilling to share this information, this is a red flag and you should move on to evaluate another facility.
  • Activities - You do not want your loved one to become bored and depressed. It is important that a facility have plenty of activities planned for the residents. They should encourage residents to interact with one another and offer a wide variety of activities to suit the personalities of the diverse population living in the facility. Speak with an activities director if possible.
  • Food - Meal preparation is a big part of most assisted living facilities. If your loved one is a picky eater, check to see that the facility offers a reasonable selection of food he or she will enjoy. In general, you want the food to look and taste good. Poor quality food is a sign of a low-quality facility. Take a look around the dining areas and have a sample if you are unsure.
  • Environment - The environment should be safe and clean. Observe both the interior and exterior of the property. Is it clean? are there safety features in place ? how old is the facility? does it appear well-kept or run down?
  • Visitation - Check the rules regarding visitation. A quality facility will allow family and friends to visit any time within reason. A facility with strict, highly regulated visitation is likely one to avoid. You want to be able to drop in at any time to check on your loved one and to ensure they are being cared for properly.

These are just a few tips to help you select a quality assisted living facility. This is often a tough choice for families to make and they want their loved one to be safe, happy, and healthy during their stay. There are plenty of high-quality assisted-living facilities available. It is simply a matter of doing some research and taking the time to find one that fits your needs.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Real Estate Listings-Reading Between the Lines

Cliff’s many years of experience in real estate have given him a keen eye for reading real estate listings. These listings often take negative characteristics and spin them to make them seem positive. It is helpful to understand what is really being stated in these ads. Below are some fun and interesting examples of the true meaning of frequently used terminology in real estate listings.

  • Potential - This means it needs a lot of work. If you are looking for a “fixer-upper” then choosing a home with potential may be right for you. Otherwise, this is a red flag indicating the property is in great need of some TLC.
  • Cozy - Simply put, this means small. Often times tiny is a more appropriate description.
  • One-of-a-kind or original - This is the type of home where you will find a staircase leading nowhere. Sometimes these homes are in fact unique and amazing. But more often than not, they are awkward and nontraditional in a way that makes them dysfunctional.
  • Classic or retro - This means old and outdated. Maybe that is your thing, but if not, you should avoid looking at these homes.
  • Newer - It is the “er” that you should pay attention to. It is similar to “ish.” Newer does not mean new. It means the home is almost old but not quite.

It is true that a picture is worth 1,000 words. Quality photos will tell you much more about the home then the words in the ad. Read the listings and look closely at the photos before taking the time to view the property in person. Understand that real estate listings aim to sell you a home and therefore are not always forthcoming with information.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Difference Between Open and Closed Adoption

A frequent question asked by those interested in adoption is “What is the difference between an open and closed adoption?” As a birth parent or adoptive parent, it is important to understand the differences between these two types of adoption.

Identifying Information
The primary characteristic that sets these two adoption options apart is information and how it is shared. In a closed adoption, identifying information about the birth parents and adoptive parents is sealed. This includes the original birth certificate. While both parties will have plenty of information about the other, it will not be identifying information. Things like last names and addresses are not exchanged. Open adoption on the other hand, allows for identifying information to be exchanged. This provides some level of contact between the adoptive parents and birthparents.

A closed adoption prohibits contact between the birthparents and adoptive family. In some cases, the adoption agency will facilitate updates to the birth parents. However, the birth parent has no direct contact with the adoptive family. An open adoption does allow for direct contact. The level and frequency of contact varies greatly depending on the circumstance. Generally, the terms of contact are worked out before the adoption is finalized. It could be one phone call per year or an in-person weekly visit. The birth parents and adoptive family negotiate the level of contact to make sure everyone is comfortable with terms.

It is crucial that you know which type of adoption you are seeking before you begin the process. Whether you are a birth parent or adoptive parent, take the time to consider the options. Once the terms are set and the papers are signed, there is no turning back. So, make absolutely sure you are comfortable with the terms and type of adoption you have chosen.

If you are interested in adoption, as a birth parent or adoptive family, Cliff recommends Destiny adoption services in St. Petersburg, FL.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tips on Selecting a Triathlon Bike

There is no shortage of triathlon bikes from which to choose. Selecting the right bike is crucial in your success as a cyclist. There are a number of things to consider when seeking a triathlon bicycle. Here, Cliff provides some tips to help you pick a bike that is right for you.

First, it is important that you see the bike in person. While written reviews are helpful, they are not a replacement for first-hand knowledge. Triathlon bikes are often a significant investment. Take the time to go to local shops and look at the bikes. When you find one you like,take it for a ride to test it. Here are a few things you should check.

  • Comfort- Is the bike comfortable? Pay close attention to your upper and lower back. Are you too stretched out? Are you too crunched up?
  • Handling- Test the responsiveness of the bike. Is it overly responsive or not responsive enough?
  • Shocks- Check to see how smooth the bike rides. Take it on the road and see if it is too bumpy of a ride.

Remember to factor in the cost of your gear. In order to stay on budget, include the cost of the accessories you will need. Prices vary greatly, so focus on the highest quality within your budget. The quality of your bike does affect your performance.

The most important consideration when choosing a bike is comfortability. You must be comfortable on your bike and be able to endure long stretches of time riding. Don’t get caught up in the little things like color and looking stylish. Performance and quality are the characteristics you want to seek.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Kenner Facility in New Orleans Update

 The  Kenner facility in New Orleans will be supported by over 1,200 85' structural piles. New Orleans is known for its unique culture. Building in this region is a truly interesting experience. 

Windermere Project Progress

 Updated photo of the progress on the  Windermere nursing home project in Orlando.  it is coming along nicely. We are happy with the progress on this facility.