Christmas review and a happy new year!

I hope every one of you had a wonderful Christmas and spent as much time as you could with those that you love.

I had an amazing and relaxed Christmas this year, and received one of the best gifts ever. My older brother asked me to be the best man at his wedding. The question came with the tie that I will have to wear while carrying out my duties. This is now safely stored away in my wardrobe so as not to get damaged before the day.

Christmas day itself was a bit different to most years, this is because this is the first year that I have lived alone. My parents have recently moved into the house my grandfather left to them, so we had Christmas dinner there. I live in the house that I grew up in. This means that I had no decorations at my own house this year; something that I must remedy in 2019. The feeling of Christmas was a little bit missing because of this, right up until the big day at least.

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Having my older brother down for Christmas day was a nice change as well, he lives in the Midlands so I don’t see him that often.

On Boxing day my parents and I went to visit my younger sister in Chepstow, this is something that we all enjoyed; my mum in particular. We see her relatively often as it is only about a 45 minute drive from my house. The removal of the Severn crossing tolls has made this an even easier thing.

A couple of friends came around to mine on the 27th so that we could write some music; this is something I am really hoping to get back into in 2019.

I am about to pop out to see in the new year so I wish you all a happy new year and look forward to joining you in 2019.

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Green tea. Is it better than water?

Green tea has many of the same benefits as water, which you can read about here: The benefits of water according to science. But, it also has many other benefits.

Many of the plant compounds found in the tea leaves make it into the final drink, these compounds contain many important nutrients.

There are large amounts of catechins, which are natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage as well as providing other benefits.
EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) is found in green tea, and has been found to treat a number of diseases.

Green tea, like all teas, contains caffeine; this is known to increase brain function. Where caffeine has been shown to increase conditions such as anxiety in some, the amino acid L-theanine is known to reduce it. Green tea contains large amounts of this important amino acid, which negates this potential downside of caffeine.

The combination of caffeine and L-theanine has been proven to have synergistic effects. The combination of the two being particularly potent at improving brain function.

Much like water, green tea is known to aid in fat reduction. It has the added benefit of the physical performance improvement gained by the caffeine.

So, if you are after a healthy drink that is not just plain old water. Give green tea a try.

Improve your walking.

As little as half an hour of walking per day has been proven to improve mood, reduce stress, increase bone density and more. Turning your daily walks into a workout, however, requires a bit more effort than just going for a gentle stroll.

One of the easiest ways you can increase the calorie burning effect of your walks is by playing with the pace. Add some intervals to your walks to see some serious belly fat burning. 2 minutes of low intensity walking, followed by 2 minutes of high intensity, then 30 seconds of jogging will really get the heart racing. This sort of workout forces the body to constantly adjust, using more energy and blasting that fat in the process.

As well as varying the pace, why not try a new route? Pick one with plenty of variation in altitude and terrain. Walking both up and down hill uses different muscles than walking on the flat, try to include some inclines for the best muscle boosting walks. Similarly, diffent terrains have differing effects on your muscles, add some sand or gravel segments to give that added boost to your regime.

It is quite obvious that the more muscle groups you use while exercising, the more energy expenditure there will be. Therefore, try doing something with your arms while walking. Just adding an active bend to them while they naturally swing will help, or you could carry some small hand weights with you to supercharge the exercise.