United EVENTures

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night, sky, stargaze, meteor shower, perseid, stars, perseus
Stargaze This Weekend with the Perseid Meteor Showers
Stargaze This Weekend with the Perseid Meteor Showers 960 639 Emilie

It’s not every day that we have the opportunity to watch a stunning meteor shower passing closely to the earth’s surface. But each year as summer comes, so do the Perseid meteor showers. The Perseid showers (which actually already started on July 17th) will be peaking this coming weekend on August 11th and 12th. This is supposed to be one of the most spectacular Perseid showers in years, with experts expecting about 200 meteors per hour (over 3 meteors per minute). It will be an incredible sight to watch, and if you haven’t stargazed before, this is definitely a good time to start.

What are the Perseid Showers?

It’s easy to think that a meteor shower occurs when meteors circulate closely to the Earth. However, the Perseid Shower is actually the exact opposite. The Perseids are meteors which appear to originate from the constellation Perseus (in reality, the meteors are actually far closer than the stars in the Perseus constellation). The meteors are broken off pieces from Comet Swift Tuttle, which leaves these meteors behind as a trail. The meteors trailing Swift Tuttle are influenced by a gravitational field, just as we are. During the time of the Perseid showers, the Earth is pulled into the stream of the Perseids. Thus, the meteors do not come closer to us during this time, we actually move into the stream of the Perseid meteors.

When the meteors enter the Earth’s atmosphere, this causes them to heat up. Thus, we see a burning meteor and have coined the term “shooting star.” This year, Jupiter’s orbit is forcing more of these meteors to enter Earth’s atmosphere. Therefore, more meteors burn and we see more “shooting stars” during the shower.

The Perseid Showers also have meaning to ancient Greek myth. According to Greek mythology, Zeus and a mortal Danae were the parents of Perseus. When Perseus was born, Zeus had to arrive in a shower of gold to win over Danae: and later, the Perseid showers were named after Perseus. Greek legend follows Perseus’s story as him and Danae are banished from the kingdom, and Perseus is later forced to fight Medusa to appease the king.

When and Where Should I Watch?

There are several factors that can make it easier to view the Perseid Showers. Of course, any time one is viewing meteor showers it is best to find a location that is away from unnatural light (like that found in a city or even busy town). You should also find a location where you can see as much of the sky as possible. This is why camping is such a good activity for meteor shower weekends. However, even going to a local park will be an improvement over watching from the middle of a busy town.

Additionally, another complication for viewing the showers is the brightness of the moon. During the Perseid Showers, the moon will luckily be setting before sunrise. The night of the 11th the moon will be in first quarter (and set a little after midnight), and the night of the 12th it will be in the waxing gibbous phase (setting a bit before 1 AM). That means that as long as the showers are active between midnight/1 AM and sunrise, this will be the easiest time to see as many meteors as possible. However, nature is finicky, so you should still keep an eye out the rest of the night, in case the showers aren’t very active during this ideal viewing window.

If you really want to start watching the showers as early as possible, the Perseus constellation appears in the night sky around 10 PM, and 2 hours later at midnight is when the shower becomes more active. Try taking a nap before it gets dark, and then camp outside for the night with some blankets and lawn chairs. If you can’t stay out for the whole night, try to watch for a minimum of 1-2 hours. Any shorter time span will make it difficult to see the showers well, since the meteors will come in waves.

So head outside, grab some snacks and blankets, and enjoy the beautiful night sky!

Davies, Claire. "August 2013 - Perseus and the Perseid Meteor Shower - Sci@StAnd." Sci @St And. The University of Saint Andrews Science Magazine, 01 Aug. 2013. Web. 03 Aug. 2016.
Lewin, Sarah. "Perseid Meteor Shower 2016: When, Where & How to See It." Space.com. N.p., 1 Aug. 2016. Web. 03 Aug. 2016.
McClure, Bruce, and Deborah Byrd. "Perseid Outburst Expected in 2016 | EarthSky.org." EarthSky. N.p., 31 July 2016. Web. 03 Aug. 2016.
sleep, app, white noise, iphone, healthy living, health, meditation, sleep, alarm clock
Go to Sleep Easier and Wake Up More Energized with This App
Go to Sleep Easier and Wake Up More Energized with This App 960 640 Emilie

If you’re anything like me, it’s not always easy to have a deep, restful sleep. So this past week I decided to try out the Alarm Clock Sleep Sounds App. The app claims to use brainwaves and aural entrainment to improve your sleep experience. For nighttime sleep, the app drifts you more easily to a resting state, allowing you to fall asleep more quickly and deeply. For the morning, the app aims to rise you gently, while keeping you energized. I have to admit, although I was originally skeptical, I ended up being quite impressed by the large number of features and personalization settings that the app allows for.


White Noise Soundscapes. If you’ve ever used a free white noise machine app, you know that you have pretty limited options and a lot of the soundscapes do not sound particularly real. The Alarm Clock Sleep Sounds App offers a huge variety of white noise sounds to choose from. Free sound choices include rain, birds, camp fire, thunderstorm, waves, and more. You design your sleep program to be different than your wake program, which means that you can choose to fall asleep to a completely different sound than the one you will wake up to. Additionally, you can actually combine as many of these soundscapes as you would like. So if you want to listen to the rain with birds, that’s a choice you can absolutely make. The sounds are also as natural sounding as one could hope for with a free app.

Customizable Programs. There are three different types of programs you can create: waking, sleeping, and meditation. Every program has a variety of components that you can customize. You can choose your soundscape(s), the type of wave (monoaural or isochronic without headphones), the balance between waves and soundscape, the duration of the program, and the type of program. For instance, for your morning program you may choose a progressive wake-up, or an “energized mind” wake-up program. You can then save each program (as many as you’d like!) for later use. Name each custom program, so that you can choose each night and morning how you want to sleep and rise, depending on your mood.

It actually works. It’s hard to explain what the “brain wave entrainment” sounds and feels like. It is almost like a soft light hum that radiates from your phone. Although many may not believe an iPhone app can meet these “aural entrainment” claims, it genuinely does feel like waves are being produced by your phone. Regardless of the reason why it works, this light hum combined with the quiet white noise soundscapes proved to wake me gently and smoothly. It’s a far nicer way to wake up than a shrieking alarm clock, and my body never sleeps through it.


Freemium Model. The app is not entirely free, and much of the app’s capabilities have to be unlocked for a price. Because of this, there are only two program types you can use for waking up, and only one for falling asleep. Additionally, there is only one free meditation option- which focuses on rest and relaxation. There are a large number of soundscapes available for free, but far more available if you are paying for an additional upgrade. However, the app does have a large number of options and customization for a free app.

Free Meditation Could be Improved. The meditation portion of the app is a really cool additional feature, and I do feel like the waves that the app emits during meditation. That being said, the free meditation options leave something to be desired. The guided meditation is short and the voice used is not optimal. However, you can choose for it to be guided or unguided, which is definitely a positive. And, if you choose unguided, you can set the meditation to last as long as you like, so you don’t have to worry about time getting away from you. The other major downside to the meditation portion is that the soundscapes are better suited for falling asleep or waking up than they are for meditation sessions. However, you can easily choose to only turn on the aural wave function and not the soundscapes.

brain teaser, puzzle, power of the brain, morning, riddle
Start Your Monday with These 3 Brainteasers
Start Your Monday with These 3 Brainteasers 960 678 Emilie

Last week we brought you 3 brainteasers to fight the Monday blues and get your brain moving. No matter how much coffee we have, sometimes it seems impossible to fully wake up at the beginning of a work week. But with these fun brainteasers, we know you’ll be able to tackle your Monday with ease!

Triangles. Here at United EVENTures, we love our geometric puzzles! This triangle puzzle from Brain Athlete challenges you to calculate the total number of triangles located in the image below. How many can you find?

Blood Donors. Now that we’ve tested your geometric analysis, let’s try a logic puzzle! This riddle, from Brain Bashers asks you to determine the position, age, height, blood type and weight of each blood donor. Brain Bashers has all kinds of riddles and puzzles that you can check out whenever you want!

Five patients, all potential blood donors, are waiting in the doctor’s surgery and are sitting on the bench from left to right. Can you determine the position of each patient along with their blood group, age, height and weight? Their ages are 5, 9, 30, 46 and 60. Their heights are 40, 48, 60, 65 and 74. Their weights are 40, 75, 96, 125 and 165.

  • The person on the far right is 37 years older than Jason, and is 60 inches tall.
  • Jason weighs 56 pounds more than his height.
  • Alan weighs 75 pounds and is 74 inches tall.
  • John is type AB and weighs 56 pounds less than Jason.
  • The person in the centre is 9 years old, is blood type AO and weighs 96 pounds.
  • Adam, who is the first, is 65 inches tall, and weighs 100 pounds more than his height.
  • The person who is blood type O, is 25 years older than the person to the left of them.
  • Kevin is 60 years old.
  • The person who is blood type A, is 55 years younger than Kevin and is not next to the person who is type AO.
  • The person who is next to the 9 year old but not next to the person who is 65 inches tall, is blood type B, and weighs 125 pounds.

Number Trouble. We got this number riddle from SeriousShops.com. To find even more of their brainteasers, click here!

Find a number less than 100 that is increased by one-fifth of its value when its digits are reversed.


Triangles. 41 triangles. For a detailed explanation, check out the description at Jeremy Jones.

Blood Donors.

# Name  Type  Age  Height  Weight
1 Adam     A       5          65        165
2 Alan       O      30        74         75
3 Jason   AO      9         40         96
4 Kevin    B       60        48        125
5 John    AB      46        60        40

Number Trouble. 45, because 1/5 of 45 is 9, and 9 plus 45 is 54 (the reverse of 45).

android, explore, app, himalayas, mt. everest, verne, map, google maps
Explore the Himalayas with this New Android App
Explore the Himalayas with this New Android App 1024 576 Emilie

You may have heard about a new Android app by Google called Verne: The Himalayas. The app is using Google’s 3D technology in a new and inspiring way. They used their 3D imagery of the Himalayas to create an interactive 3D map which allows people to explore the Himalayas from their own home.

In order to make this interactive map more fun, they turned it into an app. Within the app, you get to control a 500 foot tall Yeti named Verne. Verne is friends with a yak, and you can use him to run, fly jetpacks, and hang-glide. Although you can do these fun activities with Verne, the app isn’t designed to be a game: instead, it’s created to be an interactive, educational, and exploratory experience. The app will even teach you some new facts about the Himalayas!

Google also has 3D imaging of other impressive and well known locales- like the Grand Canyon. So this may be the beginning of a new kind of exploration: one that allows people to see places they cannot actually travel to. However, the Himalayas is the perfect choice for launching this new idea, since few people will be able to travel to the mountain range in their lifetime. Furthermore, 3D imaging allows us to explore the range in ways that even visitors cannot easily do (like bounding up Mt. Everest in seconds).

Check out Google’s video about Verne: The Himalayas below-

Although not the same as actually traveling somewhere, this app may be the next best thing! Each bump and ridge that Verne explores is actually an accurate representation of the Himalayas. Go check out this new app and learn more about this vast and beautiful world!

Main article photo courtesy of Google Play at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.withgoogle.verne
new jersey, state fair, sussex county, fair, festival, fairgrounds, things to do, weekend
8 Reasons to Go to The State Fair this Weekend!
8 Reasons to Go to The State Fair this Weekend! 960 640 Emilie

Local fairs and festivals are fun, but there’s nothing like going to a giant state fair. This coming weekend is the first weekend of the New Jersey State Fair, which ranges from August 5th-14th. The fair is located at the Sussex County Fairgrounds, and will be open from 10 AM to 10 PM each day. The fair has so many amazing things to do, with great food and great vendors. But if I haven’t convinced you yet, take a look below at all of the best parts of the fair you’ll want to check out this weekend. For a full list of things to do, check out the schedule here.

Carnival: Open from noon to 10 PM each night, the carnival captures the essence of a great fair. Full of games, a ferris wheel, carnival rides, and tons of festival food: it’s sure to keep you entertained for hours.

Freestyle Motocross Show: 7:30 PM Saturday. Hosted in the Miller Lite Outdoor Entertainment Area, the motocross show is completely free. Grab a beer, and watch the show! Monster Truck rides are also available from 11 AM- 6 PM for $7 a piece.

Ronetco Supermarkets Family Entertainment: The Ronetco Family Entertainment Area has a huge number of fun and exciting things to do all day long. Both Saturday and Sunday you will find a chainsaw artist, racing pigs, and a Butterfly Encounter exhibit. There is also a petting zoo, magician, and pony rides.

Agricultural Shows: Various animal shows- including those for steer, sheep and swine- will occur throughout the day both Saturday and Sunday. The agricultural area also has barns of animals, a milking parlor with daily milkings, an agricultural museum, farmers market, and daily tractor parade at 2 PM. Saturday there will also be a Woodchopper’s competition from 7-10 PM, and a Fiddler’s Competition starting at 3 PM on Sunday.

Oxen Pull: 11 AM Sunday. The pull is completely free, and located in the Miller Lite Outdoor Entertainment Area. Or, see oxen demonstrations in the agricultural area- around 6 PM on Saturday, and around 4:30 PM on Sunday.

Demolition Derby: 7:30 PM Sunday. Also hosted in the Miller Lite Outdoor Area, the Demolition Derby is unfortunately not free (unlike the motocross show the previous night). You can get tickets at the admissions office until 3 PM, and at the Miller Lite Outdoor Area until 4 PM. Tickets cost $11 a piece.

Music and Performing Arts: The performing arts tent has different performers each day. This Saturday, the tent will have a Tribute to the Troops for most of the day, followed by an 8 PM Queen of the Fair pageant. Sunday, bands will be playing from 2:30-10 PM, including Country Cousins, Whiskey Crossing, and The Royal Dumonts.

Art and Food Shows: The Richard Building is a great place to find art and food shows: with photography, art, honey shows, and even a chili contest on Sunday at 1 PM. The Richards Building is also home to 1 PM wine awards and 3 PM beer awards on Saturday. There are also vegetable and forage shows each day in the greenhouse.

Check out the fair this weekend to see everything New Jersey has to offer! You will also find horseback riders at the horse show area of the fair, a crafts tent, 4H exhibits, and more!



fitness, lose weight, exercise, healthy living, breakfast, habits, eating window, circadian rhythm
Get Fit Quick with These Simple Life Changes
Get Fit Quick with These Simple Life Changes 960 639 Emilie

Here at United EVENTures, we highly value an active lifestyle. We believe in getting outside and being active as often as possible. For many of us, however, it is incredibly difficult to lose weight and get as fit as we’d like, despite regular exercise. What happens when you feel like you’ve tried everything, but your exercise doesn’t seem to pay off? Here are three easy and simply changes to lose that weight more easily, without extreme dieting or other major life changes.

Know How to Rev Your Metabolism Early in the Morning

As we all know, one of the most important keys for burning fat is having a fast metabolism. That’s why it’s so important to rev your metabolism early in the morning. By kicking your metabolism into gear early in the AM, this will allow your body to process food better the rest of the day.

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You may also have heard that you should eat breakfast within an hour of waking up. That’s because breakfast is one of the best ways to rev your metabolism, and eating within the first hour of waking allows you to kickstart it quickly. However, certain breakfast foods will rev your metabolism more than others. According to Prevention.com eating a fiber-rich breakfast can boost your metabolism by 30%. Additionally, meals with protein can boost your metabolism by 35%. Thus, if you’re looking for a good metabolism boosting breakfast, try going for that extra dose of fiber and protein.

So what should you have for breakfast? For some extra protein try: high protein cereals, eggs/vegan eggs, yogurt, sausage/veggie sausage, or high protein oatmeals. For fiber try: bran muffins, fruits and veggies, high fiber cereals, or some oatmeal with almonds. Try mixing and matching to get a metabolism boost from both ends! A good sample breakfast includes eggs and a bran muffin, or some yogurt and fruit. And remember not to skimp on your breakfast, or your metabolism will think it needs to conserve energy instead.

Your ideal breakfast doesn’t end with the foods you eat. Luckily enough, our morning tea or coffee does more than give you energy to start your day. In fact, both do a marvelous job of boosting your metabolism. If you’re running out the door late and don’t have time for a breakfast, do your metabolism a favor and at least remember to grab a cup of joe when you first wake up.

Know How to Burn Fat, Not Just the Carbs 

So you may now be convinced to eat your breakfast within the first hour of waking. However it may be better for you to eat breakfast after you exercise. A recent article by Men’s Fitness called attention to a study in Belgium which analyzed this very question. Because many people understand the benefit of eating breakfast early, they were surprised to find that participants were healthier and gained less weight when they exercised on an empty stomach, and then ate breakfast.

So why did these results occur? It may be because both exercise and eating breakfast effectively jump start your metabolism. However, if you start your morning with a workout, your body has not yet received food that it can use as energy. Thus, during your workout your body will pull energy from fat cells instead of carbohydrates, causing you to burn fat more rapidly.

So what’s the takeaway? When should you exercise and when should you eat breakfast? The most important thing is to somehow boost your metabolism within 30 or 60 minutes of waking. Ideally, this means waking up, starting your day with a workout, followed by breakfast and coffee, and then heading off to work. However, if this does not fit into your schedule, make sure you either workout or eat breakfast first thing in the morning. If you choose to workout before leaving the house, grab a coffee and breakfast on your way to work. If you instead opt to eat breakfast first thing, try working out before lunch or dinner.

Narrow Your Eating Window

Most of us know that late night snacking is bad, but few of us have heard of the “12 hour window.” The New York Times and Peak Fitness recently called attention to several studies which demonstrated the impact of restricted eating times. A restricted eating window refers to the number of hours between the first food you consume to the last. So if you eat breakfast at 7 AM and have your last snack around 9 PM, you have a 14 hour eating window.

These studies showed that when mice were given a 9, 12, 15, or 24 hour eating windows, those with the 9 and 12 hour windows were significantly thinner. Some of the mice that were allowed to eat whenever they wanted (in the 24 hour group) were switched midway to these restricted windows, and actively lost weight following the switch.

So why does sticking to a 12 hour eating window help? There are a couple theories, and it is likely a combination of the two. The first is that when your body is constantly consuming food, it never has to dip into fat stores to fuel its energy needs. So instead, it continues to use energy from the foods you are eating. The second is that by restricting yourself to a shorter eating window, it improves your body’s circadian rhythm. The stronger your body’s natural circadian rhythm, the faster your metabolism.

Believe it or not, the 12 hour window begins and ends the second you consume any food product. That means that the second you have coffee with milk in the morning, your clock starts ticking. Even that evening tea with honey impacts your restricted window. In order to narrow your window, stick to water, or black tea and coffee. Take note of the moment your window starts each day, and make sure you are finished with dinner and all evening snacks by the time your 12 hours have elapsed. I.e. if you start breakfast at 7 AM, you should be done eating for the day at 7 PM.

Take-Home Ideas

Overall, remember these three main ideas. Sometimes we can’t lose weight because we don’t even know what habits we need to fix!

  1. Eat a breakfast rich in protein, fiber, and coffee or tea to get an optimal metabolism boost.
  2. Make the first thing you do each morning either exercise or eating breakfast. If you exercise first, make sure to eat breakfast right after. If you don’t have time to exercise in the morning, try exercising before lunch or dinner when you haven’t eaten very recently.
  3. Narrow your eating window to 12 hours, including snacks and cream or sugar in your coffee.

Do you have any other ideas or suggestions? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below!

rio, olympics, opening ceremony, nbc, live, coverage
What to Expect from The Rio Opening Ceremonies: And Why They Won’t Be Covered Live
What to Expect from The Rio Opening Ceremonies: And Why They Won’t Be Covered Live 960 640 Emilie

I love the Olympics. Every time Olympic season rolls around I get excited about the new emerging athletes, my favorite returning athletes, and our best competitive teams. Although there has been a lot of concern about Rio as a host country, it does provide one benefit: the Rio time zone is only one hour ahead of Eastern Time. That means that we should be able to get loads of live coverage- right? Well, kind of.

Why the Opening Ceremonies Won’t Be Shown Live

NBC is marketing their Olympic coverage as “The Most Live Olympics Ever.” What does this mean? As Awful Announcing and Philly.com explain, it means that not all coverage is live, but that there is more live coverage than ever before. Specifically, there is over 6,000 hours worth: some of it available on your TV, and some is available through NBC’s app. The one thing that isn’t live? The Opening Ceremonies.

As you may know, the past two Olympic Opening Ceremonies (London and Sochi) have not been covered live. The last ceremonies we watched live were in 2010 for the Vancouver Olympics. The ceremonies this Friday will be shown on NBC at 8 PM Eastern Time, but would be shown at 7 PM if they were covered live. 7 PM certainly does not seem like a bad time to show the ceremonies, so why are we waiting until 8 PM to actually broadcast them?

NBC is offering three primary reasons for delaying the opening ceremonies:

  1. More people can watch the ceremonies if they are broadcasted during prime time.
  2. Most people like the added commentary and storylines that NBC can edit in if the ceremonies are shown at a delayed time.
  3. NBC has a responsibility to their shareholders to include commercials in the broadcast. If shown live, commercials could not be added without cutting out parts of the ceremonies.

While some understand the viewpoints of NBC, others are still frustrated that NBC has the chance to edit our viewing experience. Perhaps the most frustrating thing for the latter group is that NBC is not providing any way to watch the coverage live- even on your laptops. NBC believes that it is their right to benefit their shareholders to the best of their abilities, especially considering the great cost it will take for them to cover the Olympics.

What to Expect at the Opening Ceremonies

So what should we expect during the ceremonies? According to Chicago Tribune, the ceremony will emphasize the originality of Brazil, going back to the country’s roots. Thousands of dancers will make an appearance, and some speculate that rollerbladers will be present (When The Rio Times called for volunteer auditions, it announced the Olympic organizing committee’s search for dancers, rollerbladers and singers).

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen (wife of Tom Brady) will be a part of the show, and The Daily Mail expects it to be the “Sexiest Opening Ceremonies Ever.” In exceptional Brazilian fashion, tributes will be made to the rainforest and Carnival. Despite a budget that’s only a fraction of London’s Opening Ceremonies, it’s sure to be a show impossible to miss.


power of the brain, brainteaser, riddle, puzzle, brain
Start Your Morning with These 3 Brainteasers
Start Your Morning with These 3 Brainteasers 992 744 Emilie

We know that it can be hard to get your brain moving on a Monday morning. Here at United EVENTures, we’re big fans of brainteasers. They keep you alert and sharp, while also allowing you to think in new, creative ways. Take a look at these brainteasers to jumpstart your brain this morning!

Apples, Bananas and Coconuts. We got this brainteaser from ABC News, and thought it was interesting because although it was meant to be a brainteaser for children (with very basic math!) it has managed to confuse many people! See if you can get it right.

PHOTO: A seemingly simple childrens brainteaser is sweeping the internet as people struggle to find the correct answer.

The Parking Space. We got this question from Wimp.com, and chose it because incoming first graders in China were able to answer this question in only 20 seconds (on average)! But the same question is difficult for adults to solve.

The Swimming Pool. This brainteaser comes from East Coast Radio. They designed the brainteaser so that the majority of people will not answer correctly. See if you can get it!



Apples, Bananas and Coconuts: The answer is 14, not 16! The trick is to count the number of bananas and coconuts in each grouping. Each banana represents “1,” each coconut represents “1,” and each apple represents “10.”

The Parking Space: 87. The lot numbers are simply upside down, and you will see that this space falls between space 86 and 88.

The Swimming Pool: 29 days. The answer is actually right in the question! It says that “every day the amount of water doubles.” The last day the pool is filled up 100%, so that means the day before must be when it is filled 50%.



chocolate, benefits, super food, healthy living, healthy eating
The Secret Benefits of Chocolate
The Secret Benefits of Chocolate 960 640 Emilie

Most of the time when we think about “super foods” we think about clearly healthy fruits and veggies: like kale and goji berries. But believe it or not, chocolate (in moderate consumption) actually has some great health benefits. Take a look at the amazing qualities of your favorite treat!

Improves cognitive functioning. Cognitive functioning refers to any and all brain activities that allow you to gain and manipulate knowledge. This includes problem solving and memory, just to name a couple examples. A recent study analyzing nearly 1,000 participants demonstrated that increased chocolate consumption was correlated with improved cognitive functioning in a large number of areas. Higher cognition was seen in the following domains:

  • Visual-Spatial Memory and Organization
  • Working Memory
  • Scanning and Tracking
  • Abstract Reasoning

Lowered Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Benefits. Because chocolate is made with added sugar, we often don’t notice its benefits: they become over-shadowed by its negative effects. Believe it or not, chocolate is associated with lower blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to higher risk of cardiovascular damage. That means higher risk of heart attacks, congestive heart failure, heart disease and stroke.

Lower Cholesterol Levels. Yet another way that chocolate can help your heart is its association with lowering cholesterol levels. Low cholesterol levels and low blood pressure are both important for reducing risk of heart failure and heart attacks. Chocolate is made with theobromine, which studies have shown are responsible for this cholesterol benefit. Heart benefits are also believed to result from flavanols (otherwise known as flavan-3-ols) which exist in chocolate.

Anti-cancer properties. Some studies provide suggestive evidence that chocolate actually has anti-cancer properties. This may be because of chocolate’s anti-inflamattory effects and ability to reduce oxidative stress, both of which can help fight cancer. Catechin and procyanidin, which are found in cocoa, are particularly related to the reduction of cancer risks. Studies have shown that these anti-cancer properties have been shown with lung cancer, colorectal cancer and stomach cancer.

Improved intestinal health. Even the Aztecs used chocolate medicinally to help fight intestinal pain, and historically Europeans used chocolate to aid intestinal health when they first discovered cocoa. Recent research shows that procyanidins, found in chocolate, actually alters the microbiota in your stomach in a positive way which improves intestinal health.

Kerimi, Asimini, and Gary Williamson. "The Cardiovascular Benefits of Dark Chocolate." Vascular Pharmacology 71 (2015): 11-15. Web.
Ju, Dan. "Chapter 13 – Cocoa—past Medicinal Uses, Current Scientific Evidence, and Advertised Health Benefits." Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs: Bioactive Foods in Health Promotion. By Gertraud Maskarinec. London: Nikki Levy, 2016. 271-92. Print.
Daniells, Stepen. "Is Theobromine Responsible for Cocoa's Cholesterol Benefits?" NutraIngredients-USA.com. N.p., 21 May 2013. Web. 26 July 2016.
Crichton, Georgina E., Merrill F. Elias, and Ala'a Alkerwi. "Chocolate Intake Is Associated with Better Cognitive Function: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study." Appetite 100 (2016): 126-32. Web.
exercise, fitness, healthy living, enough exercise, 30 min a day, cardio, muscle tone
How to Know if You’re Getting Enough Exercise
How to Know if You’re Getting Enough Exercise 960 640 Emilie

We all know that exercise is important, but how much exercise do we actually need? The Department of Health and Human Services suggests that all adults should get 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic exercise, with 2X a week strength training. Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities that get your blood pumping like speed walking, hiking, casual biking or gardening. Vigorous aerobic activity refers to activity that is more demanding such as running, fast paced tennis, dancing, or fast paced swimming. Nearly any exercise can be light or vigorous, depending on how difficult you make it. Even walking can range greatly: anything from a casual stroll to walking on an incline while carrying a heavy load.

Typically it is easy to tell how vigorous your exercise is if you are being honest with yourself. Good indicators of vigorous exercise includes heavy sweating and increased breathing effort. However, a more concrete way of looking at your exercise is by analyzing your heart rate (HR). When exercising, your HR should reach 55%-85% of your maximum HR. The closer to 85% you are, the more vigorous your exercise. An easy way to calculate your maximum HR is by subtracting your age from 220. You can also use Active’s Target Heart Rate Calculator to calculate what 50% and 85% of your maximum HR is. And luckily, there are now many free smartphone apps that will now identify your HR, without the need to pay for a new gadget.

Of course, different exercise goals necessitate different exercise requirements. Prevention.com suggests that if you want to lose weight, your exercise goal should actually be 300 minutes per week. In this scenario, you should still be strength training twice a week. Of course, you can strength train even more frequently if your goal is to improve your muscle tone. So how much is enough exercise? It depends on what you’re working towards! Below are some example exercise plans that you can use, depending on your exercise goal. Please note that all cardio assumes moderate aerobic activity.

To Be Fit and Active:

  • Plan 1: Monday: 30 min cardio, 30 min strength training. Tuesday-Thursday: 30 min cardio. Friday: 30 min strength training. Saturday: 30 min cardio. Sunday: rest day.
  • Plan 2: Monday: 45 min cardio. Tuesday: 30 min strength training. Wednesday: 40 min cardio. Thursday: 30 min strength training. Friday: 45 min cardio. Saturday: 20 min cardio. Sunday: rest day.

Total: 150 min per week aerobic exercise, 60 min per week weight training.

To Lose Weight:

  • Plan 1: Monday: 1 hour cardio, 30 min strength training. Tuesday-Thursday: 1 hour cardio. Friday: 30 min strength training. Saturday: 1 hr cardio. Sunday: rest day.
  • Plan 2: Monday: 1 hour cardio. Tuesday: 30 min strength training. 30 min cardio. Wednesday: 1 hour cardio. Thursday: 30 min. strength training. 30 min cardio. Friday: 1 hour cardio. Saturday: 1 hour cardio. Sunday: rest day.

Total: 300 min per week aerobic exercise, 60 min per week weight training.

To Improve Muscle Tone:

  • Plan 1: Monday: 30 min cardio. Tuesday-Thursday: 30 min cardio and 30 min strength training. Friday: 30 min. strength training. Saturday: 30 min cardio. Sunday: rest day.
  • Plan 2: Monday: 45 hour cardio. Tuesday: 30 min strength training. Wednesday: 1 hour cardio. Thursday and Friday: 45 min strength training. Saturday: 45 min cardio. Sunday: rest day.

Total: 150 min per week aerobic exercise, 120 min per week weight training.

Remember that all of these programs are just examples! Keep in mind how many minutes you should be exercising per week, what your goals are, and how vigorous your exercise is. By tracking your HR, improvement from workout to workout, and overall fitness levels, you will be able to design the perfect program for you.

Digiulio, Sarah. "How Much Exercise Do You Really Need?" Prevention. N.p., 18 Aug. 2015. Web. 26 July 2016.
"Target Heart Rate Calculator." ACTIVE.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2016.
Laskowski, Edward R., M.D. "Exercise: How Much Do I Need Every Day?" MayoClinic.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2016.