Archive for December 2017

The Ancient Language of Christmas

The Ancient Language of Christmas

More than any other holiday, Christmas has spawned a language of its own. Words like yule, noel, and wassail are reserved exclusively for the Christmas season.

Yuletide has been synonymous with Christmas since at least 900 AD, according to the Guinness Book of Christmas (Guinness). The word yule was derived from the Norse word, Jól, a heathen feast which lasted 12 days. The feast was so important that the Anglo-Saxon name for December (aerra-geola) translates to “before yule” and January (aftera-geola)
means “after yule.”

Noel originated as an expression of joy for the birth of Christ. It comes from the Latin word “natalis” or birth. Residents of Gaul (France) dropped the “t” sound and it became “na’al” and evolved as “noel.”

Wassail is the name of a beverage and was also used as a greeting such as “Wassail, my friend, and drink to a happy noel.” Wassail can also be a carol.

Strength Training Improves Quality of Life

Strength Training Improves Quality of Life

There is one good reason to stay active as we age: living better.

According to Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutritional Science and Policy, “it’s way more dangerous not to be active as older adults.” The reason for this warning is that decreasing physical activity over time is likely one of the leading causes of age-related disability and mobility issues.

According to Tufts, strength training increased muscle mass, helps to support the body, maintain balance and promote increased bone mass. These perks directly aid in preventing the falls. Also, research at the University of British Columbia shows that strength training can also boost brainpower. Memory tasks and executive function, higher-level abilities like juggling multiple tasks, both saw improvement with a mix of cardiovascular and strength training.

Despite the benefits, strength training should be approached with caution by seniors that are not used to the level of physical activity. Silver Sneakers highlights the fact that many older people have pre-existing injuries or muscle tightness and imbalance caused by years of inactivity. Work with a personal trainer and avoid leg presses, crunches, running, bench presses, and shoulder presses – at least at first.

Walking encourages better posture and continuously works the connective tissues between joints. Squats are another simple exercise that promotes hip mobility. Starting the movement with a backward push in the hips, keep the chest up, and be sure that the knees don’t travel far past the feet. Pushups can be made easier with knees on the floor, it is the better start for beginners. Rounding out a basic program, try a rowing machine to get the unused back muscles safely in the mix while helping to strengthen spinal support.

What to do when an Investment Performs Poorly

People often think their homes and other possessions are worth more than they are.

According to the Journal of Economic Perspectives, that’s why sellers of cars or homes usually  ask a higher price than buyers are willing to pay for the property. It’s called the ‘endowment effect.’

From an investment standpoint, the tendency to hold on to things too long can cause problems, and the endowment effect is responsible for the poor decisions of many people.

With personal investments, Charles Schwab recommends taking the time to ask a few questions about an investment that is performing poorly.

First, determine if you would repurchase the stock at the current price.

Second, decide if the original rationale for buying the stock, such as a competitive advantage or unique strategy, still exists.

Third, look around for better options and consider reallocating the money to the better prospects. The best advice is just not to get overly attached to a portfolio.

The key is: If it no longer works, let it go.

Maintaining Carpets Keeps Your Family Healthy

Maintaining Carpets Keeps
Your Family Healthy

A United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study revealed that carpet actually helps to clean out air in our homes and offices. The carpet acts as a filter, trapping soils, gasses and pollutants such as pet and human dander, pollen,    and even air pollution. This is great news since nearly every home in America has wall to wall carpet installed in one or  more areas. Despite this study, some people still believe that carpet is bad for indoor air quality and causes health problems like allergies and asthma. The truth is that properly maintained carpets actually improve indoor air quality. The key to keeping the air in your home healthy is to have a maintenance routine for your carpet.

EPA Guidelines for Cleaning

Periodic professional cleaning is a major part of an effective carpet and air quality maintenance routine, eliminating the contaminants that build up over time. Of course, every household has its own unique combination of factors such as environment, number of occupants, children, pets, and smoking or nonsmoking, etc. So how often should you have
your carpets cleaned?

Fortunately, the EPA is there to help with some basic guidelines for a total carpet maintenance plan based on the kind of  use your carpet receives, as follows:

• In a home with two people who do not smoke, the EPA recommends you have your carpets cleaned every 6-12 months, more often if you have a particularly dusty outside environment or an extremely humid or cold environment.

• If you smoke, the carpets should be cleaned at least every four months.

• If you have kids or pets these numbers cut in half. In fact, a home with 2 adults, a child and pets should be cleaned at least
every 3-6 months, but every month if you live in a very contaminated or dusty area.

• Offices and restaurants, nursing homes and daycare centers should be cleaned once a month or even more frequently.
“Wait a minute!” you may say. “It seems a little extreme to clean my carpet that often.” But think about the source of these
recommendations. This is the Environmental Protection Agency, created to help assure the health and safety of living things in a variety of environments, including outdoors and inside homes and buildings. So these recommendations
are based on cleaning for health, not simply appearance.

Looking Dirty vs. Being Dirty

Carpet is designed to hide soil, so it can hold a lot of dirt before it begins to look “dirty.” Unseen contaminants
build up in the carpet over time to the point where they may have a negative effect on the occupants of the structure, especially those with underdeveloped, sensitive or compromised immune systems. The key is to avoid letting the carpet get to the point where this happens.

Maintaining Your Carpet between Cleanings

Are we saying if you don’t get all of your carpets cleaned according to these EPA guidelines that you and your family will get sick? Not necessarily. These guidelines are just that, a guide. There are things you can do to reduce the frequency
of professional cleaning. First, make sure you vacuum often; the more the better. Also, be prompt about cleaning up spots and spills. Use doormats at all entrances. Don’t wear street shoes in the house. Finally, avoid going barefoot because body oils get on the carpet and attract dirt. Regardless of how neat and tidy you are, there comes a time when you need professional carpet cleaning. Call Hansen Steam Way to schedule your next cleaning or to help choose a cleaning program that fits your lifestyle. You and your family will breathe easier; your carpets will look better and last longer.