Ergonomics for the Road Warrior

By Travelers Risk Control

The modern office for the road warrior could find you working anywhere at any time, from early mornings at the corner coffee shop to red-eye flights at your airplane’s seatback tray table. You may even work virtually, without a traditional corporate office, moving your laptop from the kitchen counter to your home office without setting up an ergonomically-correct workplace. Over time, these work situations can take their toll on the body.

Although laptops and tablets allow for greater mobility and compactness, they lack the adjustability of traditional desktop workstations. With the on-the-go workforce here to stay, it is important to avoid the discomfort, strains and sprains that can accompany poor ergonomics. Following are some tips to help road warriors improve their comfort, wherever their travels may take them.

Trading Adjustability for Mobility

The standard desktop computer consists of three basic and traditionally separate elements: the monitor, the keyboard and a pointing device, such as a mouse. These three are integrated into the laptop in a design that typically trades adjustability for compactness. According to Travelers Risk Control ergonomics professionals, adjustability is a major factor in user comfort.

That lack of adjustability in a laptop may either mean that having the laptop keyboard in an optimal position results in a difficult-to-read screen, or that positioning the laptop screen for better eye comfort places the laptop keyboard in an uncomfortable position. Fortunately, there are ways to compensate for this lack of adjustability.

Pointing Device (aka Mouse) Tips

  • Consider using an external mouse (either a full size or travel size) or pointing device, which you can connect to your laptop.
  • To help maximize comfort for your arm, hand and fingers, use your whole hand and arm when moving the pointing device.
  • Do not tensely hold your fingers and thumb or squeeze them together when keying or using the pointing device.

Keyboard Tips

  • Continue to float your hands and lightly touch the keys while typing.
  • Check for any special key commands (e.g., isolated cursor control, function keys and hot keys) that can provide shortcuts and reduce the use of your pointing device.
  • Take short breaks to relax your wrists, hands, fingers and arms.
  • Wherever your main workstation is located, such as an office or home setting, use an external keyboard that you can connect to your laptop. Ideally, the keys should be at elbow height.

Laptop Monitor Tips

  • Angle the laptop screen so that you can see the font with the least amount of neck deviation.
  • Work to position the top of the screen at or slightly below eye level. You may need to elevate the laptop using books or a monitor riser, and then have a separate attachment for the keyboard and mouse.
  • In the office or at home, attach a full-sized monitor to your laptop.
  • For easier connection for your laptop, a docking station quickly connects a full-sized monitor and keyboard. This allows the user the ability to adjust for comfort.

Tablet Monitor Tips

  • Connect an external keyboard if you have to frequently type into a tablet. This is typically available via Bluetooth.
  • When typing directly onto a touch screen, vary your postures by frequently alternating your typing styles, such as typing with the tablet on a table or holding it in a vertical orientation and typing with your thumbs. This can help reduce neck discomfort caused by constantly looking down while typing on the screen when the tablet is on the table.
  • Limit your typing directly on the touch screen to the least amount necessary.
  • When reading only, prop the tablet at a comfortable position with the least amount of neck deviation.

What your remote-work resume needs

Written by: Carson Kohler
Published on: Jan 9, 2023

Remote work comes with a number of perks, including no commute, more flexibility, fewer distractions, and heightened productivity. Like anything, however, working outside an office comes with its challenges, too. Think: loneliness, difficulty collaborating, and the dilemma one can face when trying to set healthy work-life boundaries.

In fact, many employers and remote employees might consider remote work a skill in itself. It takes a lot of focus, discipline, and strong communication to be an efficient and effective remote worker, and not everyone is cut out for it. If you’re seeking a remote job opportunity, it’s important to showcase your remote skills during the application process. 

Employers want to know you’re equipped to work from home, and there are several ways you can highlight this on your resume.

1. Make it known you’re in the market for a remote job.

Although some job listings are obviously for remote roles, that won’t always be the case. Sometimes companies will list their headquarters as the location and note that remote work is allowed. In other instances, companies might not mention remote work at all but will consider it as an option if you’re qualified for the role.

Whatever the case, it’s your job to make it clear in your application, cover letter, and resume that you’re seeking a remote opportunity.

For example, resumes traditionally include at least the city and state of your address. It ups your legitimacy, and it sets employers’ expectations – will they need to fly you in for an interview or offer a relocation stipend if you land the job? However, if you’re applying for a remote position that doesn’t have any specific location requirements, your physical address isn’t as important. 

Therefore, you have a few options: You can still list your physical address, you can leave it off, or you can simply state “remote” or “location independent” in the space instead.

Another area where you can highlight your desire to work remotely includes your professional summary. This is where you set your intent as a job applicant – and it’s the perfect spot to mention your desire and ability to work remotely. 

Also, if you’ve previously held remote positions, call those out in your work experience section by listing “remote” in place of the company’s location.

2. Showcase the skills needed to work remotely.

Remote work takes a special set of skills, so you’ll want to highlight those. An obvious place to do this is in the skills section on your resume. Think about both the technical and soft skills that make you a strong remote employee. 

For example, as a remote team member, you’ll need to be comfortable with video conferencing, messaging, and using team and project management tools. You can even list the specific programs you have experience using, like Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Asana, or Wrike. If the company you’re interviewing with uses the same tools, it’ll likely put the employer at ease.

You’ll also want to list important soft skills remote workers need to succeed. Use this general list to spark some inspiration:

·       Time management

·       Collaboration

·       Digital communication

·       Strong work ethic

·       Adaptability

·       Organization

·       Self-starter

·       Proactive

·       Flexibility

·       Tech-savvy

·       Independent problem solver

·       Reliable

3. Use your work experience to show off your relevant skills.

Updating your skills section is a more obvious way to highlight your remote work skills, but don’t forget to sprinkle these into descriptions of your previous jobs – even if you haven’t held a remote position yet.

If you’ve already worked as a remote employee, make this clear in your job descriptions. For example, if you are a remote account manager, you might write, “Managed partnerships with more than 25 clients through Salesforce from a dedicated home office.” If you’re a remote writer, you might showcase your productivity by stating: “Exceeded company’s annual quotas by producing more than 200 pieces of content, and was recognized as a top remote employee.”

If you haven’t held a remote position yet, don’t fret. You can still lean into the skills you have to prove you’ll be an effective remote employee. For example, if you work for a bi-coastal company and frequently collaborate with your other location’s office, make that clear. Perhaps you work with a roster of out-of-state clients; this is another opportunity to show you have strong digital communication skills.

You should also return to that list of soft skills and think about ways you’ve demonstrated them in your current or past positions. Show these off with quantitative examples (numbers, percentages, and dollar amounts) within your work experience if you want to stand out.



For more help

Not sure how to make your remote intentions clear or showcase your ability to operate remotely? You may want to consult a professional resume writer: From making sure your resume tells your best career story to guiding you during a career transition, resume writers are here to share their expertise so you can succeed.  

How Thinking About the Future You Can Build a Better Life

By David Robson
1st February 2022

We should think more about whom we’ll be in the future – because doing so has profound consequences for our health, happiness and financial security.

Take a moment to imagine yourself in 10 years. Depending on your age, you might have a few more grey hairs and wrinkles, and you might hope for some changes to your material circumstances, too. But does the person you imagine feel, fundamentally, very close to the person you are today? Or do they feel like a stranger?

According to a wealth of psychological studies from the past decade, people’s responses often vary widely – and their answers reveal surprising things about their behavioural tendencies.

Some people have a vivid sense of their future self, which feels very close to their current identity. These people tend to be more responsible with their money and more ethical in their treatment of others; they are keen to act in a way that will make life easier in the years ahead.

Many other people struggle to imagine their future self as a continuation of the person that they are today, and they tend to be far less responsible in their behaviours. It’s almost as if they see their future self as a separate person that has little connection to their present identity – and, as a result, they are far less worried about the long-term consequences of their actions.

You could almost think about your future self as a relationship that needs to be nurtured and cultivated. Fortunately, there are some simple strategies to strengthen your empathy and compassion for the person you will become – with some profound consequences for your health, happiness and financial security. 

Philosophical origins

The inspiration for the recent psychological research on the future self can be found in the writings of philosophers such as Joseph Butler, in the 18th Century. “If the self or person of today, and that of tomorrow, are not the same, but only like persons, the person of today is really no more interested in what will befall the person of tomorrow, than in what will befall any other person,” Butler wrote in 1736.

The theory was later expanded and championed by the British philosopher Derek Parfit, whose work caught the attention of a young researcher called Hal Hershfield. “It was just such a compelling idea,” says Hershfield, who is an associate professor of marketing, behavioural decision making and psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He suspected that a disconnection from our future selves might explain many irrational elements of human behaviour – including our reluctance to set aside savings for our retirement.

To find out, Hershfield first had to find a way to measure someone’s “future self-continuity”. He settled on a simple graphic that presented pairs of circles representing the current self, and a future self (see below). The circles overlapped to varying degrees, and the participants had to identify which pair best described how similar and how connected they felt to a future self 10 years from now.Hershfield's diagram of pairs of circles representing the current self and future self (Credit: Hal Hershfield, published in Judgement and Decision Making, 2009)

Hershfield’s diagram of pairs of circles representing the current self and future self (Credit: Hal Hershfield, published in Judgement and Decision Making, 2009)

He then compared these responses to various measures of financial planning. In one experiment, the participants were presented with various scenarios in which they could either receive a smaller reward soon or a larger reward later. As expected, participants who felt a greater connection to the future were much more willing to delay their gratification and wait for the bigger sum.

To check whether this tendency for sound financial planning corresponded with real-life behaviour, Hershfield next looked at his participants’ real-life savings. Sure enough, he found that the more the participant felt connected to their future self, the more money they had already squirrelled away.

Back to the future

Hershfield’s later research has examined the phenomenon in many other areas of life. In 2018, for instance, he found that people’s future self-continuity could predict their exercise behaviours and overall fitness. It seems if you identify strongly with your future self, you are more willing to look after your body to make sure that it experiences better health in the years ahead.

Other experiments suggest that people who score highly on the future self-continuity measure have higher moral standards than the people who struggle to identify with their future selves. They were less likely to cheat in tests, for example. “If people are better connected to their future selves, then they’re going to have an enhanced ability to recognise the consequences of their present-day decisions on their future selves,” says Hershfield. “And that’s going help them put the brakes on these behaviours.” 

In 2020, Hershfield confirmed that someone’s (in)ability to identify with their future self can have long-term consequences for their overall wellbeing. The longitudinal study, which tracked more than 4,000 participants for a decade, found someone’s future self-continuity at the beginning of the study could predict their life satisfaction 10 years later.

Importantly, this was true even when he controlled for their initial wellbeing. This helped to eliminate the possibility that the people who felt connected with their future selves had simply started the study with higher life satisfaction, and then remained that way. Instead, it seems likely that the greater satisfaction at the end of the study was the result of all those positive behaviours – like financial saving and increased exercise – that together resulted in a more comfortable life.

Future vision

On the back of these results, neuroscientists have started to take a closer look at the brain processing behind these phenomena – and the reason that so many people find it hard to identify with their future selves.

Meghan Meyer, an assistant professor at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, US, recently asked participants to estimate the future-self continuity overlap at various time points. In one of these tests, participants had to estimate the similarity in their current and future selves by controlling the overlap of two circles – much like Hershfield’s experiments.  They repeated the task multiple times, while imagining themselves in three months, six months, nine months and a year into the future.

If you identify strongly with your future self, you are more willing to look after your body to make sure that it experiences better health in the years ahead

In line with Hershfield’s results, Meyer found that the average participant’s concept of their future self diverged from their concept of the current self fairly rapidly – with a large sense of disconnection already appearing at the three-month point. Interestingly, however, this change started to plateau as they considered the later time points. As such, there was little difference between the nine-month and year time points – and we can guess that the same would have been true if they’d considered even later dates. Meyer suggests that their vision of their future self was becoming “blurrier” and less nuanced. 

This was also reflected in results from functional MRI scans, which offered some intriguing evidence that, at the neural level, we really do start to think of our future selves as a different person. Besides considering themselves at various points in the future, the participants were also asked to think about a stranger, such as the politician Angela Merkel. As the participants moved further along the timeline – imagining themselves from around six months onwards – the brain activity concerning themselves started to resemble the response to thoughts of the politician. 

“As you move farther out into the future, the way you represent yourself isn’t so different from the way you represent Angela Merkel,” says Meyer. “It’s consistent with this philosophical idea that you treat your distant future self like a stranger.”We struggle to imagine ourselves old, but if we could, it would be to our advantage (Credit: Getty Images)

We struggle to imagine ourselves old, but if we could, it would be to our advantage (Credit: Getty Images)

The things I wish I’d known

Given the many benefits for our financial security, health and overall happiness, it’s natural to wonder whether we can strengthen our sense of connection to our future selves.

Hershfield’s research offers a couple of suggestions. In one series of experiments, his participants entered a virtual reality environment with personalised avatars that simulated how they may look aged 70. As hoped, they reported feeling a greater connection to their future self, and in subsequent measures of decision making, they showed more financial responsibility. They reported being more likely to set aside money for retirement, for example. Many photo editing apps already allow you to prematurely age your selfies, and this kind of technology could be incorporated into educational programs that encourage people to think more carefully about their future wellbeing. 

For a low-tech intervention, you might consider a simple imaginative exercise – in which you write a letter to yourself 20 years from now, describing what is most important for you now and your plans for the coming decades. Like the sight of the aged avatars, this encourages people to feel a greater sense of connection with their future self – and, as a result, primes them for positive behavioural change. Hershfield’s studies have shown that the task increased the amount of time that people spent exercising over the following week – a sign that they had started to take their long-term health seriously. (If you are keen to try this out, he suggests that you could amplify the effects by writing a reply from the future, since that will force you to adopt a long-term perspective.)

As you might expect, Hershfield applies his research to his own life. When dealing with the stresses and frustration of parenting, for example, he tries to put himself in the shoes of his future self to imagine how he might look back on his own behaviour. “I try to think whether he would be proud of the way that I handled myself,” he says.

It might seem eccentric to start a “conversation” with an imagined entity – but once your future self becomes alive in your mind, you may find it much easier to make the small personal sacrifices that are essential to preserve your wellbeing. And in the years ahead, you’ll thank yourself for that forethought.   

David Robson is a science writer and author based in London, UK. His latest book, The Expectation Effect: How Your Mindset Can Transform Your Life, is published on 6 January 2022 in the UK and 15 February 2022 in the US. He is @d_a_robson on Twitter.

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20220201-how-thinking-about-future-you-can-build-a-happier-life

What you can learn about sleep from truckers

If you’re waking up tired every day, you might need to take a lesson from truck drivers who maximize their sleep schedules.

BY STEPHANIE VOZZA

If you got eight hours of sleep last night and woke up feeling tired, there’s a reason for that. Minutes matter more than hours when it comes to sleep quality. In fact, if you had slept for 30 minutes less, you’d likely feel more refreshed, says Dean Croke, principal analyst at DAT Freight & Analytics, an on-demand freight marketplace.

For more than two decades, Croke has taught sleep science classes for truckers and shift workers, helping them get better quality sleep with fewer hours in bed. As you can imagine, truckers’ sleep schedules must be purposeful.

“We build biocompatible schedules, which are schedules designed around human sleep, as opposed to when the loads got to be there,” says Croke. “When you engineer sleep into a driver’s day, all sorts of good things happen. Well-rested drivers make about 10% more miles per week if they’re taught how to sleep.”

Croke was a truck driver in Australia, logging in about two million miles on the road. “When I was in management, we lost a couple of drivers who fell asleep at the wheel and died,” he says. “I’ve seen the dark side of the trucking industry from a sleep deprivation perspective. It’s a fairly tough world if your sleep quality is not very good.”

The same principles that help truckers improve their sleep, can help anyone feel better rested.

SLEEP IN CYCLES

The first thing to understand is that minutes matter. Croke says we’ve all been tricked into thinking that more sleep is better sleep, but that’s incorrect. Our brains sleep in cycles of about an hour and a half, and sleep quality comes from sleep architecture.

“If we were to wire our brains with scalp electrodes, like they do in sleep studies, you would see different electrical pulses between the between the neurons in the brain,” says Croke. “They translate to different levels of sleep.”

About 30 minutes after you drift off to sleep, the brain enters a phase of deep restorative sleep. During this stage, the body goes through a repair cycle and the immune system is bolstered. Deep sleep lasts between 30 and 75 minutes, after which your brain starts to wake up. You finish off that sleep cycle with a dream and rapid eye movement (REM).

“Your whole body goes into a state of paralysis, but your brain is buzzing with electricity,” says Croke. “Deep sleep deals with the fatigue. REM sleep deals with memory and mood, archiving the memories and flushing out the brain of the things it doesn’t need.”

If your alarm wakes you from a cycle of deep sleep, you will have sleep inertia. “It takes about 20 minutes for the sleep inertia to kick out of the brain and then you can get going with the day,” says Croke. “The timing of sleep is absolutely critical.”

CREATE A SLEEP SCHEDULE

While five 90-minute sleep cycles would be ideal, Croke says you can break them up, sleeping two cycles in a row and three cycles later in the day.

“I teach people about the behavioral therapy aspects of sleep, which is, don’t stress about this,” he says. “You can also nap strategically.”

Croke says the body is programmed to sleep twice a day, at night and again eight hours after you wake. The second sleep should be a 30-minute or a 90-minute nap to take advantage of the sleep cycles and avoid waking during deep sleep.

Having a bedtime is important. Croke recommends to trucking companies that they have drivers start work at the same time every day.

“In trucking, that’s the opposite of what really goes on,” he says. “But if you have a same start time every day, by default you have you have the same sleep time. It creates an anchor sleep at the same time every day that helps you get good consistent sleep back-to-back.”

CATCH UP ON THE WEEKENDS

If you have a week that wears you down, Croke says you can make up for it on the weekend.

“The brain is incredibly resilient,” he says. “You’ll bounce back quickly if you’ve got two periods of good sleep at the end of the week. I call it the ‘two and seven rule.’ Get two periods of consecutive sleep each week to get rid of the sleep debt from the previous week.”

After two periods of good sleep, the brain washes away that sleep debt, and you can start Monday morning fresh.

“What happens to most people is they don’t get the two periods; they might get one,” says Croke. “There’s a residual sleep that Monday morning. And that adds to the sleep debt by the end of next week. And it gradually builds and builds and builds over time.”

For trucker, sleep debt and sleep inertia can be dangerous. In fact, Croke says accidents often happen within the first hour of rest break if it wasn’t properly timed. “It’s because they woke from deep sleep, and the brain was still in the sleeper berth,” he says. “I teach drivers to sleep in blocks of an hour and a half. Seven hours of sleep is worse than six hours sleep because seven is not a multiple of an hour and a half.”

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Authors Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Robert Segal, M.A.

What are your nightly sleep needs? What does sleep do for your health? By understanding your body’s needs, you can improve your sleep schedule and the quality of your waking life.

The importance of sleep

The quality of your sleep at night directly affects your mental and physical health and how well you feel during the day. Sleep impacts your productivity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, immune function, creativity, vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort!

When you’re scrambling to meet the demands of a busy schedule, though, or just finding it hard to sleep at night, getting by on less hours may seem like a good solution. But even minimal sleep loss can take a substantial toll on your mood, energy, mental sharpness, and ability to handle stress. And over the long-term, chronic sleep loss can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health.

Sleep isn’t merely a time when your body shuts off. While you rest, your brain stays busy, overseeing biological maintenance that keeps your body running in top condition, preparing you for the day ahead. Without enough hours of restorative sleep, you won’t be able to work, learn, create, and communicate at a level even close to your true potential. Regularly skimp on “service” and you’re headed for a major mental and physical breakdown.

The good news is that you don’t have to choose between health and productivity. By addressing any sleep problems and making time to get the sleep you need each night, your energy, efficiency, and overall health will go up. In fact, you’ll likely get much more done during the day than if you were skimping on shuteye and trying to work longer.

Myths and Facts about Sleep

Myth: Getting just one hour less sleep per night won’t affect your daytime functioning.

Fact: You may not be noticeably sleepy during the day, but losing even one hour of sleep can affect your ability to think properly and respond quickly. It also compromises your cardiovascular health, energy, and ability to fight infections.

Myth: Your body adjusts quickly to different sleep schedules.

Fact: Most people can reset their biological clock, but only by appropriately timed cues—and even then, by one or two hours per day at best. Consequently, it can take more than a week to adjust after traveling across several time zones or switching to the night shift at work.

Myth: Extra sleep at night can cure you of problems with excessive daytime fatigue.

Fact: The quantity of sleep you get is important, sure, but it’s the quality of your sleep that you really have to pay attention to. Some people sleep eight or nine hours a night but don’t feel well rested when they wake up because the quality of their sleep is poor.

Myth: You can make up for lost sleep during the week by sleeping more on the weekends.

Fact: Although this sleeping pattern will help relieve part of a sleep debt, it will not completely make up for the lack of sleep. Furthermore, sleeping later on the weekends can affect your sleep-wake cycle so that it is much harder to go to sleep at the right time on Sunday nights and get up early on Monday mornings.
Source: Your Guide to Healthy Sleep, The National Institutes of Health

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Sleep needs

There is a big difference between the amount of sleep you can get by on and the amount you need to function optimally. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average adult sleeps less than seven hours per night. In today’s fast-paced society, six or seven hours of sleep may sound pretty good. In reality, though, it’s a recipe for chronic sleep deprivation.

Just because you’re able to operate on six or seven hours of sleep doesn’t mean you wouldn’t feel a lot better and get more done if you spent an extra hour or two in bed.

While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens need even more. And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, most older people still need at least seven hours of sleep. Since older adults often have trouble sleeping this long at night, daytime naps can help fill in the gap.

Average Sleep Needs by Age
AgeHours NeededMay be appropriate
Newborn to 3 months old14 – 17 hrs11 – 19 hrs
4 to 11 months old12 – 15 hrs10 – 18 hrs
1 to 2 years old11 – 14 hrs9 – 16 hrs
3 to 5 years old10 – 13 hrs8 – 14 hrs
6 to 13 years old9 – 11 hrs7 – 12 hrs
14 to 17 years old8 – 10 hrs7 – 11 hrs
Young adults (18 to 25 years old)7 – 9 hrs6 – 11 hrs
Adults (26 to 64 years old)7 – 9 hrs6 – 10 hrs
Older adults (65+)7 – 8 hrs5 – 9 hrs
Source: National Sleep Foundation

The best way to figure out if you’re meeting your sleep needs is to evaluate how you feel as you go about your day. If you’re logging enough sleep hours, you’ll feel energetic and alert all day long, from the moment you wake up until your regular bedtime.

Think six hours of sleep is enough?

Think again. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, discovered that some people have a gene that enables them to function well on six hours of sleep a night. This gene, however, is very rare, appearing in less than 3% of the population. For the other 97% of us, six hours doesn’t come close to cutting it.

The importance of deep sleep and REM sleep

It’s not just the number of hours you spend asleep that’s important—it’s the quality of those hours. If you give yourself plenty of time for sleep but still have trouble waking up in the morning or staying alert all day, you may not be spending enough time in the different stages of sleep.

Each stage of sleep in your sleep cycle offers different benefits. However, deep sleep (the time when the body repairs itself and builds up energy for the day ahead) and mind and mood-boosting REM sleep are particularly important. You can ensure you get more deep sleep by avoiding alcohol, nicotine, and being woken during the night by noise or light. While improving your overall sleep will increase REM sleep, you can also try sleeping an extra 30 minutes to an hour in the morning, when REM sleep stages are longer.

Signs that you’re not getting enough sleep

If you’re getting less than eight hours of sleep each night, chances are you’re sleep deprived. What’s more, you probably have no idea just how much lack of sleep is affecting you.

How is it possible to be sleep deprived without knowing it? Most of the signs of sleep deprivation are much more subtle than falling face first into your dinner plate.

[Read: Sleep Deprivation: Symptoms, Causes, and Effects]

Furthermore, if you’ve made a habit of skimping on sleep, you may not even remember what it feels like to be truly wide-awake, fully alert, and firing on all cylinders. Maybe it feels normal to get sleepy when you’re in a boring meeting, struggling through the afternoon slump, or dozing off after dinner, but the truth is that it’s only “normal” if you’re sleep deprived.

You may be sleep deprived if you…

  • Need an alarm clock in order to wake up on time.
  • Rely on the snooze button.
  • Have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning.
  • Feel sluggish in the afternoon.
  • Get sleepy in meetings, lectures, or warm rooms.
  • Get drowsy after heavy meals or when driving.
  • Need to nap to get through the day.
  • Fall asleep while watching TV or relaxing in the evening.
  • Feel the need to sleep in on weekends.
  • Fall asleep within five minutes of going to bed.

How to get the sleep that you need

Whether you’re looking to resolve a specific sleep problem, or just want to feel more productive, mentally sharp, and emotionally balanced during the day, experiment with the following sleep tips to see which work best for you:

Rule out medical causes for your sleep problems. A sleep disturbance may be a symptom of a physical or mental health issue, or a side-effect of certain medications.

Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Support your biological clock by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, including weekends.

Get regular exercise. Regular exercise can improve the symptoms of many sleep disorders and problems. Aim for 30 minutes or more of activity on most days—but not too close to bedtime.

Be smart about what you eat and drink. Caffeine, alcohol, and sugary foods can all disrupt your sleep, as can eating heavy meals or drinking lots of fluids too close to bedtime.

Get help with stress management. If the stress of managing work, family, or school is keeping you awake at night, learning how to handle stress in a productive way can help you sleep better at night.

Improve your sleep environment. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool, and reserve your bed for just sleeping and sex.

Develop a relaxing bedtime routine. Avoid screens, work, and stressful conversations late at night. Instead, wind down and calm your mind by taking a warm bath, reading by a dim light, or practicing a relaxation technique to prepare for sleep.

Postpone worrying. If you wake during the night feeling anxious about something, make a brief note of it on paper and postpone worrying about it until the next day when it will be easier to resolve.

Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Robert Segal, M.A.

Last updated: December 5, 2022

Use these tips to unlock and embrace the power to schmooze

NPR Guest Andee Tagle, Byline

To listen to the program:
https://www.npr.org/2022/10/15/1129319104/use-these-tips-to-unlock-and-embrace-the-power-to-schmooze

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: Switching gears now. You know that old saying – it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know? Now, that seems decent advice as we all try to navigate yet another moment of economic uncertainty. But professional networking is a chore for a lot of people. It can feel inauthentic or opportunistic if you have a job or intimidating and inaccessible if you don’t. And that’s true for a lot of people, whether it’s in-person or online. So, what’s the key to embracing and unlocking the power to schmooze, perhaps more give and less take? Life Kit’s Andee Tagle has more.

ANDEE TAGLE, BYLINE: Robbie Samuels says networking is like giving people rides to the airport. Stay with me. Samuels is a Philadelphia-based virtual design event consultant and a recognized networking expert by the likes of Forbes and the Harvard Business Review. He says the key to networking is to approach it not with that familiar mindset of what you need, but rather what you can offer.

ROBBIE SAMUELS: If you become known as a person who’s always giving rides to the airport, the day you need one, you’re going to get a ride. So I think for me, it’s like I want to be seen as that giver. And I’m most likely to want to give to others who give as well. That’s how I’m thinking about networking. It’s like really broadening the pot of what we all can tap into.

TAGLE: Giving begets giving. And like your monthly insurance premium, Samuels says investing a little time into your professional network on a regular basis can ensure you’re covered when you need it the most. Simply put, networking is relationship building.

SAMUELS: Relationships are the answer to any business or life challenge. So any time we need something, I don’t think, who am I going to pay? I think, who do I know that would know something about this?

TAGLE: We put a lot of pressure on our career-based connections, but think about the ease with which you grow the other relationships in your life – asking after your neighbor’s banana nut bread recipe, attending your nephew’s school play or sending that check-in text to make sure your girlfriend got home OK. Professional networks are built this same way, just time and care.

SAMUELS: Repeat exposure is what builds the relationship.

TAGLE: OK. But how do you even build a network to begin with? First, follow your interests.

SAMUELS: Looking for organizations that host weekly and monthly activities that attract the kind of people you enjoy being around.

TAGLE: When you’ve found that posse and you’re angling to go to your first mixer, make sure you have goals in mind first. Are you looking for a job right this second, or do you just want to know what potential is out there for the future? Could you use a collaborator on your new project?

SAMUELS: The effort up front before you leave the house of doing that kind of planning and strategy work is what will make it more successful.

TAGLE: Then, when you get there, resist the urge to just collect as many business cards as you can.

SAMUELS: It’s not about volume, and it’s not about extrovert versus introvert. It’s about being thoughtful about what you’re trying to achieve in that moment.

TAGLE: And don’t forget to be authentic in your approach.

SAMUELS: Because if they hire you and you were playing acting as somebody else, it’s not going to be the job for you.

TAGLE: Samuels’ mantra for networking success is to show up and add value in every space you enter, whether you’re brand new to the job market or the seniorest (ph) of senior supervisors.

SAMUELS: You get to think really broadly about what that looks like. One of my favorite things do online to stand out is to be a person who shares resources in the chat. If a speaker mentions a book or a website or a TEDx, I will go and find the link and put a thoughtful comment into chat with the name of the book and the link to the book, super simple and a great way to, again, offer value and sort of rise up from the crowd in a really nice way.

TAGLE: And this practice of openness and generosity can be applied in lots of social situations, says Samuels, not just professional spaces.

SAMUELS: So if you’re at the DMV, and you had an interesting conversation with someone while you’re sitting there for 3 hours, that’s networking.

TAGLE: The DMV, really?

SAMUELS: Why not? You know, like, if you mind your own business all the time and have blinders on, you’ll miss opportunities when they are right in front of you.

TAGLE: For NPR’s Life Kit, I’m Andee Tagle.

MARTIN: This is NPR News.

5 Ways To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Pop In 2022

Written by Ashley Stahl

It’s a new year…and already whizzing by as we’re moving through the shortest month on the calendar! 

Now is a great time to give your LinkedIn profile a facelift. In fact, more than 95% of recruiters search LinkedIn to find candidates to present to their clients. LinkedIn is also the largest professional network in the world with nearly 800 million members. 

At a minimum, your profile should include a quality photograph, LinkedIn summary, work history, and education. But there are definitely some tricks to getting noticed on LinkedIn. Here are some LinkedIn hacks to put your best foot forward. 

1. The photograph. In a survey by Passport-Photo Online, over 80% of recruiters said a LinkedIn photo was an important ranking factor and 8 out of 10 agreed a candidate’s LinkedIn profile picture was used as a way to get to know the person better.  Even though respondents agreed 82% of the time that you should not judge a book by its cover, it happens. Job seekers can get rejected for their LinkedIn profile pic – as much as 70% of the time. 

Your photograph is your first impression online. It needs to be professional yet show your personality. If you work from home in your pjs, that’s not going to be a good look. But if a power suit is not your bag, don’t wear one in your LinkedIn photo. Here’s some quick tips: 

  • You need to appear approachable. 
  • Make sure your face is clearly visible. 
  • Wear your usual attire (not the pjs or the power suit).
  • And, under no circumstances should you have someone else in your photo!

Pro tip: Using your mobile device, create a 30-second video to add to your profile pic. Use this to show off your personality – in a professional way. You can shoot the video outside or in your office. Just be sure you mitigate distractions.

2. The LinkedIn headline. This is arguably one of the MOST important parts of your LinkedIn profile. It’s that 120-character description directly under your name. The summary shows up on your profile page, but it also appears every time you engage on LinkedIn. Be specific. List hard skills and job titles. Use keywords for the position you want. 

Pro tip: You can now add a short audio introduction. You need to use your mobile device to add the audio intro. Select the pencil to edit your profile. Where it asks you for your name pronunciation, record your intro. You have 10 seconds. Say hi, tell people what you do, and ask them to connect. 

3. The LinkedIn summary (about). Don’t skip this section. If you need help, hire a writer but include a summary. The summary section offers a lot of freedom but here’s a surefire 8 paragraph formula to standout according to LinkedIn expert Mindi Rosser. 

  1. Ask a question based or make a bold statement that entices the reader to continue. 
  2. Show your target you have the solution to fix their problem. 
  3. Showcase the depth of your experience. 
  4. Elaborate on your areas of expertise by providing tangible examples. 
  5. Talk about your superpower. 
  6. Publicize your accomplishments and accolades. 
  7. Tell them why you’re passionate about your work. 
  8. Give them a call to action. 

Pro tip: Write this section for the position you want. Show career progression. Use keywords commonly found in job descriptions of the jobs you want to have. 

4. Your work experience and education. This part is your LinkedIn “resume.” If the company is not well known, include a brief summary of what the company does, list your job title and bullet points highlighting your responsibilities. This is a great place to add keywords. Since LinkedIn doesn’t have a robust “keyboard,” use this hack: type one hyphen followed by the greater than sign on your keyboard to form an arrow to use as a bullet. Show career progression but keep it to 3 or 4 main points. 

Unfortunately, ageism is real. When listing your education, you’re not required to put dates. So, if you graduated from college in the 1990s, skip the dates! Include position-relevant certification courses in your education section.

Pro tip: Use company and school names. When you do, a thumbnail image will appear on your profile. Not a biggie but aesthetically it looks nicer – and, unfortunately, books are judged by their covers.

5. Once you have your profile up, go through it once more to add the right keywords. Recruiters begin with a keyword search to find viable candidates. Do a quick job search for positions you want. Identify keywords by reading the job requirements. Include hard skills and soft skills – only if you have those in your repertoire. This is also a great way to see if you need to upskill to make yourself more marketable. 

Be honest and authentic. If you have the skills, don’t be timid – show off but do so authentically, not in a hot-headed manner. Always include the basics including the best way to reach you. Customize your URL to your name: http://www.linkedin.com/in/YourName. Finally, engage on LinkedIn.

HOW TO BUILD A STRONG ONLINE PRESENCE IN 2022

By Narendra Edara in Marketing, SEO

In the last few years, improving online presence has become a required component of every business. The corona pandemic crisis has proved the strength of online presence, with most sectors such as medical, educational, apparel, food, and so on shifting to online sales. As a result, the owners of businesses are the most profitable.

An excellent internet presence will result in more business leads, sales, and branding for a small cost and no time commitment. As a result, both startups and established companies are looking to hire digital marketing experts to help them grow their online presence.

The goal is to establish a presence on the internet. We need many strategic initiatives and a lot of attention and energy to move forward. This article will look at 9 Ways to Improve Your Online Presence.

9 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE 

1. Maintain A Well-Optimized Website

A website serves as a home for your company and brand in terms of marketing. Whatever promotions we run across numerous platforms will eventually take consumers to your website. They may buy your products, tools, and apps or use your services for their enterprises or where we divert users to buy your products, tools, and apps or use your services for their businesses.

We need to design websites with an excellent user-friendly architecture in which users can easily understand and feel more interactive with relevant information and infographics. A good SEO analyst will help your website improve the page relevance and loading times and ensure that the website is more compatible for use on all devices like desktops, mobiles, and tablets. The main goal of SEO specialists is to optimize your website and get a listing at the top of search engines, which will facilitate more visitors to your website when users search for relevant services.

2. Have A Listing On Google My Business

GMB (Google My Business) is a place where we can list your business locally, which triggers showing your website on top of search engines when people in your location search for terms using “services near me,” “services in Madhapur,” etc.,

GMB will also provide you with features to showcase a Google road map for reaching your business location, service timings, images of your company or shops, a description of your business, and a call to action. More than that, GMB is also a place where customers can give their reviews regarding your business.

3. Use Strategic SEO For Your Website

A company’s online presence will be lacking without SEO optimization. Because it gets your website at the top of search engines by utilizing all strategic SEO variables, SEO plays a significant part in producing organic traffic that lasts for a more extended period. This is how SEO helps your business grow.

4. List Your Business In Local Directories

Local business directory listings are a unique platform where your targeted audiences are already looking for your services. It’s also a place for your customers to leave feedback about your business, which will boost trust and credibility in your services. Listing your business across multiple platforms will enhance your brand’s value.

Note: We have to list our business according to the niche directories available.

For example 

  • Software companies should have a listing under sites like Glassdoor, which was a niche directory.
  • Travel services should have a listing under sites like TripAdvisor, a niche directory.

5. Make Good Use Of Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms are one of the most effective ways to reach and engage your target audiences. Regular social media posting boosts your online visibility and the value of your brand. Post only high-quality information and photographs, and stay attentive to your visitors and consumers on these social media platforms. It’s also good to hire someone to frequently watch your social media outlets.

6. Create A Strategy For Building A Qualified Email List And Automate The Emails

Email marketing has the potential to build a quality pipeline for sales. When you have quality data/subscribers, your job is to regularly communicate your brand to inject your brand into the customers’ minds. Brand communication plays a vital role in attracting new subscribers and existing customers. Many automation tools make this job easy, but choosing the right email marketing tool is essential. We can customize individual email or account-based emails for customers. We can also get the right customer by sending/scheduling your email at the right time and place.

Note: The problematic issue with these emails is that users leave a negative impression by sending mass emails, calling for the need to increase our subscriber base.

7. Encourage Clients To Post Reviews Online

Have you ever noticed that when you need to buy something online, you will look at two or more platforms and buy the product with the most reviews? Even if the product is the same across multiple online platforms, we choose the most reviews. Customer reviews have attracted this degree of attention.

Here are a few tips for encouraging customers to write reviews

  • Create profiles on a variety of review sites.
  • Ask your customers politely.
  • Make it simple for users to submit feedback.
  • Give a reply to those who have given reviews and engage
  • Generate review request emails to your customers

8) Monitor And Evaluate Your Online Presence Regularly

Monitor your online presence periodically and spot the demerits like negative reviews, nasty comments, and copyright issues before they become a problem for your online reputation.

Also, check the insights of social channels, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console and plan the ways to improve their maximum reachability.

9) Keep An Eye On Your Competitors

Last but not least, we may not implement the right strategy all the time. If our approach doesn’t work, we have to keep a look at our top competitors and change our game plan. Doing this practice does not mean we are implementing or copying their strategy; we are making ideas for a better reach where we may cross those competitors.

We must evaluate a few factors from our competitors like

  • Presence on Social Media
  • Positioning of Keywords
  • Popular business listings
  • Paid Promotion

FUN WAYS TO EXERCISE: 23 UNCONVENTIONAL WORKOUT IDEAS

By Sarah Kuta
Reviewed by Emily Gonzalez, ND for Scientific Accuracy

Exercising can sometimes feel like an exclusive club, accessible only to people who are already super fit. But no matter where you are on your fitness journey, you too can experience joy while moving your body, getting your heart rate up and working toward your health and wellness goals.

If the thought of working out conjures up images of a muscled Arnold Schwarzenegger lifting ultra-heavy weights in a spartan-style gym, think again. Working out can be whatever you want it to be—it doesn’t have to be restricted to the weight room or a boring treadmill. In fact, you can work out anywhere, at any time. (Yes, the park, your office stairwell and your kitchen all count.)

So, what are some fun ways to exercise that don’t involve a gym membership? If you’re in need of a little inspiration for your next calorie-burning routine, we’ve got a challenging (but enjoyable) list of exercise activities that just might tempt you to jump off the couch—before you get to No. 23!

WHY SHOULD YOU EXERCISE?

We all know we should exercise—along with drinking plenty of water, getting a full night’s sleep, eating fresh, whole foods and using a nutritional supplement for extra support. But how exactly does exercise impact us?

Researchers have spent a lot of time studying this question. Exercise has numerous science-backed benefits—and some of them might even surprise you:

  • Working out can extend your lifespan, help stave off cardiovascular diseases and lower your risk of diabetes.[1]
  • Physical activity can help fight the effects of aging, while keeping your immune system vibrant and healthy, too.[2][3]
  • Regular movement can help strengthen your bones and help you feel more energized and less fatigued.[4][5] (And who doesn’t want that?)
  • Exercise can provide positive benefits to your mental health and sharpness, as it can help lower your risk of depression and work to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.[6][7]

There may be tons of different ways to exercise, but it’s helpful to keep in mind that they all add up to the same physical and mental health benefits. As long as you’re moving your body, you’re on the right track.

HOW TO MAKE EXERCISE FUN

Exercise can be intimidating, especially if you’re just starting out or you’re jumping back in after a long break. Your brain can conjure up so many reasons why you shouldn’t exercise—it’s hard, you’re stressed out from work, you’ll get sweaty, you’ll get tired too quickly, people will laugh at you if you do it wrong, you don’t have time, the gym is only for bodybuilders and extreme athletes, it’s boring, the gym is expensive, you don’t have the right shoes or clothing…the list goes on and on.

Sure, some of these reasons are totally valid—exercise is challenging, which is why it helps you get stronger. But, on the flip side, you can learn how to make working out fun, so long as you find the activity that’s right for you.

23 FUN WAYS TO EXERCISE

So, how do you find fun exercises or activities that actually make you excited about working out? You have to be willing to think outside the box a bit.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite fun ways to exercise for inspiration. Be sure to bookmark this list of exercise activities for the next time you’re feeling unmotivated or bored with your current routine!

1. ROLLERBLADING OR ROLLERSKATING

As you cruise along the sidewalk in your rollerblades or roller skates—with the wind in your hair and a smile on your face—you won’t even notice that you’re technically exercising. Stop by a local thrift shop or used sporting goods retailer to find a pair in your size, then… Just. Start. Skating. Grab a helmet and some elbow and knee pads while you’re at it, too. Better to be safe than sorry, right?

2. HIKING

Hiking can be whatever you want—a super steep and rocky climb, or a mellow saunter along a mostly flat trail. The important thing is: You’re outside, enjoying nature and moving your body. Download apps like AllTrails or TrailLink to find scenic hiking trails in your area.

3. GO TO THE BATTING CAGES

Swinging a baseball bat is no easy feat. But, spending a whole 30 minutes or an hour at a batting cage is a seriously good workout—and tons of fun!

4. CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

When winter rolls around, it can totally zap your motivation to work out. But instead of grumbling about the cold, snowy weather, why not enjoy it with fun exercises like cross-country skiing? If you’re not quite sold on the investment, rent a pair of skis or find some at your local used sporting goods store, then enjoy the simplicity of gliding across the snow. Many local parks allow residents to cross-country ski after big snowstorms in the winter, or you can research designated local cross-country areas.

Pro tip: This low-impact activity can actually help you boost your endurance and strength—without doing a number on your joints.

5. KAYAKING

Even on a calm lake, paddling a kayak is a great workout. You’ll engage your core, your arms and your legs as you propel yourself through the water and stabilize the vessel while you move. Plus, you’ll get a chance to enjoy nature, which also benefits your physical and mental health.

6. SNOWSHOEING

When the snow is too deep for hiking boots, strap on a pair of snowshoes and hit the trail. This peaceful activity is just like walking through the woods, except you’re able to stay on top of the snow—rather than sinking into it. Go at your own pace, and be sure to stop to enjoy the sparkling winter scenery every now and then.

7. STANDUP PADDLEBOARD YOGA

Standup paddleboarding is at the top of the fun workouts list in its own right. But throw in a few yoga poses, and it becomes a full-blown physical challenge. You can research a few poses online before you hit the water, or consider signing up for a local paddleboard yoga class. You’ll be surprised at how much you use your core and all those little stabilizer muscles throughout your body to stay upright as you move through your flow!

8. ROCK CLIMBING

Even if you live in a region with a super-flat landscape, you can still get vertical—and work up a serious sweat—by visiting a local climbing gym. Choose between top-rope climbing, which allows you to climb higher on the wall since you’re secured with ropes and a harness, and bouldering, which is done closer to the padded flooring and doesn’t involve ropes. If you’re up for the challenge, consider booking a rock climbing lesson or tour outdoors, too.

9. TAKE A DANCE CLASS (OR JUST DANCE!)

Even if you’re not the most coordinated person on the planet, signing up for a dance class or a dance lesson will help you move your body without realizing that you’re exercising. Whether you’re into hip-hop, tango, two-step, shuffling or some other style of dance altogether, you’re sure to find tons of studios, clubs and ballrooms offering lessons and classes near you.

Pro tip: Too nervous to dance in public? Crank up your favorite playlist at home and dance your heart out in the kitchen!

10. JUMP ROPE

Remember those days in gym class when everyone tried to master double-unders? You can bring back some of that childhood nostalgia and get your heart pumping by jumping rope. Head to your backyard or set up in a room in your house with a tall ceiling, then crank some upbeat music and jump away. It’s harder than it looks, but it’s seriously fun.

11. TEAM SPORTS

Check out the website of your city or county recreation department to find team sports leagues near you. Whether you’ve always wanted to try playing kickball or you hope to dust off your old volleyball from high school, there are tons of options when it comes to rec league sports. With games regularly held on weeknights, you’ll be able to exercise and meet new people from your community—while still keeping your Saturdays and Sundays free.

Here’s a list of sports to consider if you want to make exercise fun:

  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Soccer
  • Rugby
  • Volleyball
  • Pickleball
  • Softball
  • Kickball

12. RIDE A BIKE

You don’t have to be Lance Armstrong to have fun—and get in a good workout—while riding your bike. And don’t worry about buying a special cycling kit or shoes. Simply lace up your sneakers, put on your helmet (safety first!), grab a water bottle and start riding. Pedal at a leisurely pace for as long as you feel like riding, or challenge yourself with a few mini-sprints or uphill climbs. If riding outside doesn’t work for you, consider trying out an indoor cycling class.

13. TRAMPOLINING

Trampoline fitness, also known as rebounding, is a fun and unique workout trend that involves hopping on your own mini trampoline while following the movements shown by an instructor. Don’t be fooled: These classes are tough! They’re high-energy, paired with fun music and lots of other people around having a good time. You can find these classes at gyms and workout studios near you. In fact, trampolining has been shown to ensure positive effects on overall health.[8]

Pro tip: Have a bit of extra space at home? Purchase your own personal rebounder, learn a few basic moves and let your body take the lead—no gym necessary. Plus, there are tons of virtual trampoline fitness classes you can stream from home or your backyard.

14. PLAY ON THE PLAYGROUND

When was the last time you played like a kid? Head to your local park, then go wild on the playground—swing from the monkey bars, go down the slide, play tag with a friend, run up and down the stairs. You won’t even notice that you’re working out while smiling from ear to ear.

15. BIRDING

Does hiking or walking feel unengaging to you? As far as different workout ideas go, birding is definitely one to consider. This low-impact activity will help you get moving on a mission while searching for birds. Simply keep your eyes and ears open as you walk, looking up at the sky and down into bushes and shrubs. If you see or hear a bird, stop for a few moments to observe and listen to it. Enhance your engagement by downloading apps like Merlin Bird ID on your phone, or bring along a notebook for writing down or drawing pictures of the birds you see.

16. POWER WALKING

If jogging isn’t your thing, consider power walking, instead. This fun exercise strikes the perfect balance between taking a leisurely stroll and going for a run. Simply walk quickly, pumping your arms naturally as you go. Power walking can be a great activity to do with a friend or while listening to an audiobook!

17. GROUP FITNESS IN THE PARK

Working out alone can be boring and unmotivating. However, joining a group of people can make exercising feel more like a party than an actual workout. The outdoor setting also feels more fun and lively—and presents some unique challenges—compared to working out in a gym. Search for free or low-cost group fitness classes held at your local park.

Pro tip: Staying hydrated is critical! Be sure to bring plenty of water, as well as bug spray and sunscreen so you can set yourself up for outdoor fitness success!

18. DOWNHILL SKIING

Though downhill skiing may seem like something you can only do while visiting the mountains, there are actually ski areas all over the country in some pretty surprising places. Some are outdoor, but others are actually indoor ski and snowboard facilities that use manmade snow. (What a time to be alive!) Skiing and snowboarding are great physical activities that test your endurance while helping you build strength in your legs, core and even your arms. If you’ve never gone skiing before, consider taking a lesson to help you feel more confident on the slopes—wherever you are!

Pro tip: Vibration training is a progressive recovery tool that can support your whole body following rigorous exercise like downhill skiing. No matter if you’re a first-time skier or a seasoned pro, it’s never a bad idea to think about recovery.

19. MARTIAL ARTS

There’s a reason why experienced martial artists are in incredibly good shape. Martial arts like karate or jiu-jitsu are full-body workouts that engage both your body and your mind. Sign up for a fitness-focused martial arts class at your local rec center or join a special martial arts gym to get started with this discipline-dependent physical activity.

20. POLE FITNESS

Try something totally different and sign up for a pole fitness class, which is a unique workout that combines pole dancing with exercise. You’ll strengthen your core, arms and legs as you try to balance on a metal pole connected to the ground and the ceiling. These fun exercise classes are great for inviting friends along, too.

21. TRAPEZE, CIRCUS OR AERIAL SILKS

Looking for a fresh and fun way to stay fit? Learn how to fly through the air or stabilize yourself in the folds of silk fabric by signing up for a trapeze, circus or aerial silks class. Ever tried tightrope-style slacklining? Not only is it a blast, but it can strengthen your core and lower body. These low-impact skills are challenging, yet engaging, and you’ll be sweating in no time—without really feeling like you’re exercising.

22. SWIMMING

Whether you’re treading water in the deep end of your apartment pool while your kids play or you’re crushing a round of freestyle laps at your local recreation center, swimming is an awesome full-body workout that’s easy on your joints. Plus, it’s enjoyable exercise you can do year-round, thanks to indoor and outdoor pools. So, no using the weather as an excuse to get out of this one!

23. PLAY GOLF (OR VISIT THE DRIVING RANGE)

Book a tee time, grab a buddy and hit the green. Commit to getting those steps in by skipping out on the cart and walking the course. Don’t have time to play 18 holes? Buy a bucket of balls and spend an hour at the driving range. Lucky for you, these days, you can also incorporate fun physical activities like golf into your social life by visiting popular facilities like TopGolf.

HOW TO CHOOSE A FUN WORKOUT

As you can see, there are tons of unique fun exercise ideas to choose from. But, where to begin? Start with either fun physical activities you feel passionate about or unique workouts that immediately intrigue you. Consider renting equipment and taking a lesson before investing in your own gear and trying to learn on your own. An experienced instructor can help you understand how to use the equipment, as well as how to participate in the activity. You’ll likely have more fun if you take the time to learn about what you’re doing first!

DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR DIET

Even if you’re doing fun workouts at home and trying new forms of exercise, it’ll be difficult to unlock your limitless potential if you don’t take care of your nutrition. Combining a well-rounded workout routine with a well-formulated diet will help you stay disciplined and push you closer toward achieving your fitness goals. Whether you follow the ketogenic diet or another popular eating approach, you want to feel energized when it’s time to break a sweat.

And remember: If one unique workout doesn’t inspire you, you can always move on to the next. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to how to make exercise fun, so if at first you don’t succeed, try again… and again… and again!

Your mind and body will thank you later.

Want to challenge yourself to spend more time in nature, instead of staring at a screen? Try these fun outdoor activities that anyone can do!