Everything you should know for World Cancer Day

It is estimated that 1 in 2 people will get some form of cancer during their lifetime, which means that all of us are likely to, in some way, be affected by the disease. Thankfully, breakthroughs in medicine are happening everyday, improving survival rates across the world. These, from medical travel specialists Medigo, are the key things you should bear in mind:

Minimising risks
Everyday, doctors and scientists around the world are discovering more about the human body and the diseases that affect it. For example, we now know that there are certain lifestyle choices that can increase our risks of developing cancer. While genes also play a significant role, not smoking, leading an active lifestyle and eating a well-balanced diet have all been found to decrease our risks of developing the disease.

Improvements in survival rates
Cancer survival rates have been improving steadily for about thirty years, albeit unevenly among different forms of cancer. In the UK, for example, cancer survival rates have doubled since the 70s, largely because of wider access to screening tests, new treatments, and better awareness of a range of health risks such as smoking and obesity.

Some examples of screening tests include widespread breast screening for women, catching breast cancer in its early stages. Cancer Research UK states that 78% of those who experience breast cancer survive for 10 or more years after treatment, and the overall survival rates for the disease has doubled in the past forty years. Colonoscopies have a dual-benefit of also identifying early-stage colorectal cancer and even avoiding cancer altogether by identifying pre-cancerous growths called polyps.

Preventive measures include the HPV vaccine, which has been revolutionary for cervical cancer, and even proper food preparation, which has been shown to remove bacteria that can increase the likelihood of stomach cancer.

Treatment methods available
There are over 200 forms of cancer, and each patient has different circumstances, so treatments methods are always tailored to a patient’s individual needs. The most common cancer treatments are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. And these well-known methods are now joined by newer treatments like immunotherapy and targeted therapies.

As scientists continue to make progress against cancer, side effects from treatments become more manageable. And when a patient doesn’t react positively to one course of treatment treatment, there are now many other treatment options available for patients to keep cancer at bay.


Dr Jan Schaefer is Chief Medical Officer at Medigo, the leading booking platform for safe medical travel.

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Seven essential tips for landing your dream job in 2018

Have you decided to make 2018 the year when you finally land a new job; that dream job?

The current job hunting landscape is more complicated that ever and it can be stressful to figure out how to stand out from the pack. That is why Skillshare, the online learning community of over three million students, has partnered with us at Glassdoor to create a new step by step guide on job hunting in the digital age. Whether you are looking to make a big change or just starting to consider your next step, here are some tips on how to manage every aspect of your search, from updating your resume, to navigating negotiation.

Narrow down
Starting the job search can feel overwhelming. You know what you want, but are not exactly sure how to get there, or which one of the hundreds available job ads is the right fit for you. A good starting point is to consider these three steps:

  1. Start by thinking about your skillset – what are your strengths and weaknesses, and do they correlate with what you enjoy doing or not?
  2. Work-life balance – how do you see your job fitting into your life and what are the factors that you need to take into consideration, i.e. a partner, children, commute, hobbies, etc.?
  3. The next five years  – do you know what job you would like but realize that you do not have the experience to get you there yet? Don’t worry. Instead, write up a five year plan and think about what jobs you will need to do to get to that final dream job.

Build new skills
If you realize that there is a quality or skill you need in order to get that dream job, don’t rule it out. Today, it is fairly easy to learn or brush up on a skill without having to go back to school full-time or it costing you a fortune. Instead, you can turn online and look for a platform that offers online classes such as  Skillshare, which has classes in everything from business to design and beyond.

Customize your resume
Even if you are looking for different positions that are all within the same industry, it is still important to tailor your resume to the specific job that you are applying for. Read through the job description carefully and make sure to include the key words and requirements they are looking for in your resume. By doing so, you are showing the hiring managers that you have done your research and are qualified for  the  position. It is also good to keep the resume concise and to the point. Standard is to keep it to a page or a page and a half, especially when applying to an entry-level position. If you are in a creative field, you might consider creating an infographic resume to showcase your talents and help you stand out from other applicants. For a guide on creating a visual resume, check out this Skillshare class from graphic designer, Catherine Madden.

Prepare for your interview
Congratulations, you have made it to the next stage! This is your chance to show how brilliant you are. The best way to counteract the pre-interview jitters is to make sure you are prepared. A good way to boost your confidence and get inspired is to watch TED talks. Two good ones are; Five Ways To Kill Your Dreams by Bel Pesce or How To Find Work You Love by Scott Dinsmore. 

Before going on an interview, consider doing these four steps:

Research the company you are interviewing with and the work they do.

  1. Practice answering common interview questions beforehand.
  2. Depending on what job you are applying for, bring along materials and examples of previous work you have done.
  3. If you know who will be interviewing you, look up background information about them.
  4. In addition to preparing for how to properly answer an interview question, you should also prep what information you want to know from the interviewer.

Start somewhere
According to the most recent numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, today’s average worker stays at a job for 4.4 years, but the expected tenure of the workforce’s youngest employees is about half that.

With that in mind, you are not bound to stay in one job for the rest of your life, so do not stress too much. Perhaps you need to kiss a couple of frogs before you meet the right match, or you need to do one job to be ready for the dream position.

Start your own
If is worth considering that perhaps your dream job is not at an established company, but rather a project or product that you want to develop. It is easy to be intimidated by all the reasons not to do it: it is risky, you could go into debt, you won’t have a social life – the list goes on. But there are just as many, if not more, reasons to take the leap and start your own. You don’t need to jump into the deep end straight away, though. Instead, establish the project as a side hustle and watch it grow into your dream. Start here, and be inspired by these nine companies that started out this way.

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How to mute Autoplay on the Chrome browser

I’m not the only one who thinks Autoplay sucks. It’s bad for accessibility, it clashes with your browsing. And its annoying…

Let me explain. Autoplay is when you open a site and a video automatically starts playing. It’s annoying!

This just happened to me: I was in a meeting, looking for an article on CNN and I opened a page and all of a sudden a reporter’s voice starts flowing from my laptop speakers. It was embarrassing and I silently cursed CNN’s autoplay videos…

Starting today Google has unveiled Chrome 64. This version allows you to mute (not stop) the autoplay. The downside side is you have to do it site by site, it is not a global feature . . . yet.

Here’s what you do. First check that your Chrome has updated to version 64. It does this automatically so don’t worry about having to go anywhere or do anything to achieve this.

To check click on Chrome (at the top) and select About Google Chrome.

It will then tell you what version you are on. If you are not on version 64 it will automatically start updating.

If it updated, quite Chrome and then reopen it. If it is up to date, then go ahead and go to one of those annoying sites that autoplay like CNN or CNET.

Click on the word Secure in the address line.

A dropdown menu will appear and from here you can select Always block on this site.

There is another way that is easier, but it does not seem to remember from one session to the next.

Go to the site and in the tab right click it and this menu will open.

Then select Mute Site and voila!

Death to Autoplay…


More from Tony DePrato here.

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The five best productivity tools to achieve your business goals

You can find an infinite number of tips online on how to be improve your productivity, but often not all of them apply. That’s mainly because the reasons for striving to become more efficient differ from person to person.

However, the ultimate goal of streamlining workflows can be summed up in these 3 intertwined categories:

  • Earn money
  • Save time
  • Preserve energy

In order to achieve these goals, you first need to have the right mindset. Define your priorities, focus on them, and don’t let anything distract you from the tasks you need to accomplish. A job that should take only an hour of your precious time can become a full-day nightmare if you don’t resist the urge to check your social media accounts in a browser tab or play games on your smartphone before you’re done.

The development of technology has brought us compelling innovations that can easily draw our attention away. Yet, at the same time it has provided us with numerous tools to fight procrastination and get high-quality results faster.

That’s why we’ve decided to present you with 5 best productivity tools that can help you organize your assignments better, automate boring and time-consuming tasks, and ultimately achieve your business goals more efficiently.

Able2Extract Pro 12
When you need to deal with PDFs, there’s not much Able2Extract Pro 12 can’t do.

This cross-platform desktop software (Windows, Mac, Linux) can create PDFs from more than a dozen of popular file formats and password protect them, accurately convert PDFs to editable formats, edit them without conversion, and much more. This new version comes with the ability to insert Bates numbering, fill, create, and edit PDF forms, and even batch convert entire folders in just a few clicks.

The most powerful and useful feature of Able2Extract is its PDF to Excel conversion. You can extract tables from PDF files even if they are surrounded by text. The Custom PDF to Excel option lets you manually control conversion options (rows, columns, headers, footers, and more) and preview results before you hit that convert button.

Asana is a powerful project management tool. You can use it on the web, as well as on the go by installing the Android or iOS application on your smartphone or tablet.

Projects inside Asana consist of main tasks and subtasks to which you can assign a person, deadline, and other details. Chats are available on every level of a project and the calendar feature can give you a clear overview of due dates. You can also integrate 100+ services with Asana such as email, communication, development, file storage services, and more.

Asana’s developers have made sure that the app is user friendly, easy to use, and highly visual in order to make teamwork hassle-free and projects run smoothly. With Asana you can keep track of each piece of work in one place and consequently drive better results.

Freshbooks is an online accounting and invoicing tool developed with freelancers and small-business owners in mind. iOS and Android applications are also available when you need to track expenses, send invoices, and manage payments on the go.

Overall, the design of the software is superb, making Freshbooks simple, intuitive, and easy to use. You can automate various tasks, schedule reminders, reuse invoice templates, and thus save even more time for the actual work that will make your business grow and prosper.

You can define projects in Freshbooks as well–set a project name, assign people to work on it, set due dates, and define a budget for it. Ideas and comments can also be shared within the project, which makes Freshbooks a great tool for team collaboration.

Microsoft Office 365
Besides its best-known Office suite apps such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Microsoft Office 365 also features tools for email, calendar, collaboration, business intelligence, project management, and more.

You can use Microsoft Office 365 applications online (browser, cloud-based apps) or offline (desktop software). They give you the ability to work on smartphones and tablets as well. Applications are automatically updated to protect users from security risks and to provide you with the latest features available.

Microsoft Office 365 is probably the most comprehensive productivity-boosting solution. Whether you’re student or large company CEO, you’ll find a perfect fit for your needs among various monthly and yearly subscription plans.

Nebo is an application that can turn your tablet into a smart piece of paper. If you prefer to take handwritten notes instead of typing them with a keyboard, this tool can help you get the best of both worlds by recognizing the words you write and turning them into searchable and editable digital text. Furthermore, it can convert hand-drawn objects into vector shapes and solve equations.

The app supports handwriting recognition for 59 languages and runs on iOS, Windows, Android, and Chrome OS. Its user interface is localized in 11 languages. Keep in mind that in order to use it, you’ll need a touchscreen and an active pen.

These 5 tools can help you with almost every aspect of your productivity chase. It may sound counterintuitive, but we suggest you spend some time learning how to use them instead of just sticking with the same old workflows that hamper your productivity.

We promise–it’ll pay off big time.

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Five reasons why you need language learning, not muscles, if you want to find love

There may be more to language learning than you first realised…

2018 brings the opportunity to make new resolutions and set personal goals and for many of us, finding romance is high on the list. However, if you have been trying to hit the gym in an effort to improve your appearance, get ready for some good news – making yourself attractive might be easier than you think. A new global study by language learning app Babbel and dating site EliteSingles, has found that 93% of Americans surveyed, would prefer to date a partner who has foreign language skills, than one who has a six pack.

With 61% of Americans willing to learn a language in order to improve their love lives, let’s see just why language skills can make you more attractive than muscles, when it comes to finding love:

Demonstrates intelligence
A reason given by 23% of those who were surveyed, as to why they would prefer a partner with language skills rather than a six-pack, is intelligence. Put simply, learning a language is sexy because it indicates to a potential partner that you are smart. The great thing about this is that they aren’t wrong; speaking a foreign language can actually improve your intelligence! Not only does it improve the functionality of your brain, but research from Northwestern University found that learning a new language can make you better at tuning out distractions, while research from Lund University, suggests that learning a language can actually lead to brain growth, as well as helping keep it in great condition.

Makes you better at decision-making
Speaking more than one language may also make you far more adept at decision-making, a quality valued by many when it comes to relationships. Couples often complain about their partner’s lack of decision-making skills and their indecisiveness over every day issues. According to a study by the University of Chicago, bilinguals tend be better decision makers than the rest of us. Not only is this a great skill to have for yourself, but it can be a positive one when it comes to dating, because you will be more likely to appear self-assured and confident in your own skin, much more impressive than possessing muscles!

Makes you a great communicator
As Julie Hansen, CEO US of Babbel says, “being able to communicate is fundamental to human interaction”. Speaking a second language not only opens up the opportunity for you to communicate with people you may not otherwise have been able to talk to, it can also make you a better communicator in your mother tongue. Learning the grammar and mechanics behind a second language can make you more aware of your first language and more skilled when it comes to using it. Your use of your first language can become more advanced and you might become more aware of the nuances of the language that you may not otherwise have noticed. This will likely provide you with the skills to be a better communicator, as you are equipped with a good understanding and use of vocabulary, which can be used to better express emotions and thoughts to your partner. This can be very important when it comes to dating, as Sophie Watson, spokesperson for EliteSingles, points out; “connection and great communication are vital parts of a first date – especially if you want to land a second one”.

It sets you apart from others
While many people possess muscles, the majority of the population in the US only speaks one language; English. This means that if you take the decision to learn a second language this year, you will be setting yourself apart from a large majority of your competition when it comes to finding love. It also provides you with the opportunity to land many jobs which are not accessible to others, such as a flight attendant, journalist, an English teacher abroad and many more. Not only could these jobs make you seem seriously impressive, but who knows who you might meet as a result of these opportunities.

Makes you more interesting
In an age where the majority of us have serious aspirations to travel and learn about other cultures, speaking more than one language makes you far more interesting than someone who has a six-pack. Whether you have lived in another country, or simply learnt another language out of curiosity, it adds a new layer to your personality, which is bound to be of interest to a potential partner. Of the 93% who said they would prefer to date a partner who has language skills rather than a six pack, 42% said this was because they find other cultures interesting, meaning that your language skills will likely provide you with a great topic of conversation, whether that is talking about the country you have lived in or visited, or the reasons why you decided to learn a certain language.

Christian Hillemeyer is director of communications at Babbel.

Seven reasons why you should learn a second language

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Four skills to ace your career in 2018

It’s the time when New Year’s resolutions start to get broken. .But as your diet, your exercise regime and your devotion to reading difficult novels start to falter, you can still look at ways to build the skills to move your career on to another level. After all, the rewards for that sort of commitment will last way beyond this year.

Skillshare, the online learning community of over three million students, have some ideas about the the skills that will help you take your career to the next level in 2018:

Champion Attention Management
Technology  has changed the way we communicate, build relationships, and work. We are less limited and constantly accessible, meaning we are prone to work longer hours and take on more than one project at a time. As such, it’s increasingly important that modern workers have tools to optimize their time and improve their productivity. 

The latest popular concept in the field of Productivity is attention management. This concept suggests that instead of trying to create efficiency through time management, you can focus on the attention you allocate to each project or person in order to  give each project the time it deserves without distraction. Being able to pay better attention to individual projects will consequently improve your productivity.

Attention management is a two-part concept; it’s your ability to deliberately dial in your focus when needed, and to choose wisely when deciding which tasks deserve that focus. There are several ways you can improve your attention management, for instance with the help of apps like Todoist, or classes, such as the recently launched class on attention management by Mark Siskar, the Managing Director of Founder Institute.

Master Mindfulness
The main purpose of mindfulness is to allow you to become more present in everyday life and be aware of your thinking, thus helping you improve your focus and boost your productivity. People might associate slowing down with being less effective, but it has the opposite effect.

In fact, many companies are offering mindfulness sessions during work hours in order to improve the employees’ productivity. A study by the insurance company Aetna, found that offering mindfulness-based training to team members added almost 60 minutes of productivity each week.

You can practice mindfulness on your own, or with help, through a variety of sources – apps like Headspace and Remente have guided meditation programs and tips on how to practice mindfulness and to improve it.

Become a Storyteller
Good storytelling is one of the most effective ways to get your point across and inspire action. Whether you’re talking to end consumers or your colleagues, the art of storytelling can help you cut through the nose and capture your audience’s attention. Improving your storytelling skills can touch almost every part of your professional life —  from executing productive meetings, writing concise emails, or simply expressing your feelings to a co-worker, friend, or family member.

Learn how to use the practice of storytelling to connect with your audience from broadcast journalist, Soledad O’Brien, who launched a course on Skillshare just a couple of months ago ().

Become a Data Visualization Pro
In this era of big data, the area of data analytics is more in-demand than ever. Even if you’re in a field that doesn’t require you to crunch numbers on daily basis, have some basic dana analytics skills on your resume can help you stand out from the pack.

One particular skill that’s gained alot of traction in recent years is data visualization, the art of transforming sets of data into digestible, impactful visuals. Understand the journey from data to design, and become a data visualization pro, through classes taught by analytics professionals on the Skillshare platform. 


Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes in design, business, technology and more. The Skillshare community is comprised of over 3 million students and thousands of teachers, from 100+ countries, who come to the platform to learn cutting-edge skills, network with peers and discover new opportunities. Students can enroll in hundreds of free classes, or unlock unlimited access to the full class catalog by upgrading to Premium for a low, monthly rate.

Skillshare teachers include both industry leaders (such as entrepreneur Simon Sinek and notable designer Aaron Draplin) and talented practitioners who have built a following and a significant passive income stream through the site.

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Health, Lifestyle, Diet, Health and Fitness Trend Predictions for 2018

We all get excited about health, diet, food and fitness at this time of the year, but what are the trends we can look forward to?


Steel cut oats comeback
Whilst avocado toast seems to be here to stay, a new breakfast contestant has entered the game. Experiencing a similar comeback, steel cut oats and its versatility is becoming a more frequent sighting on Instagram. Oats is filling and energy-boosting, offering an ideal blank breakfast canvas to be mixed with all your favourite delicious and nutritious toppings, including pear, raw dark chocolate, chia seeds, and (hold on to your seat) avocado. It is also a healthy way to start the day as it contains soluble fibre in much higher quantities than other grains, which helps reduce the absorption of cholesterol. Studies have shown that a 70g bowl of organic oats is enough to reduce your levels of harmful cholesterol by around 7%, similar to the results of doctor-prescribed statins.

Blue is the new green
Blue lattes and smoothies is the new hottest trend in Australia and it is only a matter of time until London’s coffee shops follow the craze. Made famous by vegan-friendly coffeehouse, Matcha Mylkcafe in Melbourne, the drink includes E3 live blue algae, making it an icy-blue hue. This superfood is packing a surprisingly high dose of protein and is great for blending into nutritious smoothies or making an Instagram friendly latte.     

Korean cuisine
So far Korean food has stayed in the shadow as other Asian foods have hit the top, but it will be taking the spotlight in 2018 as a result of the growing interest in fermented foods such as kombucha. Restaurants will be reinventing old classics with a Korean-inspired twist and will be perfect for anyone looking to upgrade from the weekly pad thai takeout.

Estonian cuisine
This is the new Nordic cuisine, a food trend emphasising the earthly flavours, made famous by chef Rene Redzepi at Noma in Copenhagen. The Estonian cuisine comprises the fresh and local, making the most of its season. Whether it’s spruce shoots or pickled ramsons, blackcurrant leaves or grated green pine cones, Estonian chefs are returning to the forest.



The sober scene
An increased interest in improving our health has meant that a growing number of people, particularly those aged 16 to 24, are shunning alcohol, according to National Statistics (2017). As a result, mixologists are starting to provide as much consideration and complexity into their ‘mocktails’ as they do to their theatre like cocktails. We are expected to see a rise in alcohol-free bars across the country as well as wider offerings in shops, with alcohol-free spirits such as Seedlip which is making an entrance into the market. 

Carbs are back to stay
The trend in recent years for creating carb-free diet and dishes seems to be over (hurrah!). Interest and innovation in bread and pasta making are bringing them back to the table, and we are bound to see an increase in dishes made on artisan pasta or accompanied by a homemade slice of bread on the side again. Supermarkets are starting to stock healthier versions of carbs alternatives such as buckwheat pasta or cauliflower rice. 

Time is of the essence
A combination of busy lives and a growing want for home cooked meals has resulted in a need for quick and (very important) healthy 15 minute or less meals. Meal plans and monthly deliveries, such as HelloFresh and Blue Apron are becoming increasingly popular and health apps, such as Lifesum and Wholesome, are offering quick healthy recipes specific to your dietary needs.

Zero waste eating
There has been a growing awareness on recycling and waste reduction for some time now. You might think that you are already doing your bit by visiting the local farmers market and using reusable shopping bags, but the latest figures show that Britons are still binning 4.4m tonnes of household food waste. The new challenge is zero waste eating; the practice of eating without producing waste, avoiding packaging and food waste by eating all parts of the food that we buy. Cutting out packaging waste is also a healthy choice, as canned and processed foods will be the first thing to go. What do you say, have you found your new year resolution?

Accepting the vegans
No longer the ‘weird’ dinner mate, vegans and vegetarians have been fully accepted into the food scene, as chefs known for their meat dishes are looking for a new challenge and diving into the world of plant-based dishes and meat alternatives. Menus are even being reorganised, less by the meat and pasta section and more by the tapas, entrees, and mains. The most recent restaurant to join the hype is Wagamama. The chain has around 120 restaurants in the UK and has introduced a new, expanded vegan and vegetarian menu including 15-items.



Technology will enhance your workouts
As technology continues to advance, we will see further evidence of the impact technology can have on our health and the advancement of fitness. In 2018, we can expect to see increasing numbers of fitness classes which you are able to livestream and join in from the comfort of your own home. In recent years we have seen the focus change from individual fitness to group training, which creates a motivating and encouraging environment for individual progress. The increasing accessibility of live streamed workouts, will enable you to still enjoy the notion of group workouts, while having the added benefit of not having to leave your house to participate. We can also expect to see virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) becoming increasingly involved in our workouts. From gyms integrating VR headsets into their workout options, to the ability to be visually transported to a fitness studio from the comfort of your own home, technological advancements such as these will ensure that our fitness is becoming a totally immersive experience.

Alternative barre workouts
Barre classes, known for their ability to effectively target and work key muscle groups, have taken both the US and the UK by storm over the last year and 2018 will be no different. As barre continues to grow in popularity, we will start to see classes evolving to incorporate other types of training such as boxing and cardio, into the repertoire. This will be a great workout, ensuring that you are still effectively targeting muscles whilst also significantly increasing your heart rate. The popularity of hot yoga, will also extend to barre this year, with many classes being held in heated rooms, in order to maximise the effects of the workout upon your muscles.

Aqua workouts
We can expect to see fitness taking to the water this year, with water workouts becoming increasingly popular. Working while in water is a great way to workout as the water provides continuous resistance, which allows you to work your muscles through a larger range of motion. Exercising in water is also great for those with injuries as it is low impact while still being a great workout for the body. Expect to see classes such as HIIT (high intensity interval training) and cycle classes taking in place in water.

Scandi ideas such as ‘hygge’ and ‘lagom’, key trends over the past few years, have increasing influence over our culture and the new buzzword to replace them, will influence us to spend more time this year in the great outdoors. ‘Friluftsliv’, is the concept loosely understood as the importance of connecting with nature and spending time outdoors. This year we can expect to see more people connecting with this notion, forgoing the traditional gym workouts, in favour of getting outside and running, or taking a walk with friends. While hiking has always been popular, we can expect to see increasing numbers of people turn towards walking and exploring the outdoors as great way to get a moderate intensity workout, while also relieving the mind of stress and concerns and allowing it to reconnect with nature.


Frida Harju-Westman is the in-house nutritionist at the health app Lifesum, a Stockholm-based digital health company with over 20 million users. Using tech and psychology, it creates a tailored plan to help people live happier, more balanced lives. Whether the goal is to lose weight, build muscle, or just live a healthier life, Lifesum shows how changing small, everyday habits can transform your life. The app is available on iOS and Android.

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5 exercises you can do without leaving your office desk

For many of us, five days of our week are spent sitting in offices, hunched over computers, with no real opportunity to leave the office to get any exercise. The health risks associated with this lifestyle are widely known and spending our days like this can leave us feeling frustrated and unhealthy.

While there isn’t much you can do about the nature of your office job, there are some exercise you can do which will help strengthen and tone your body without even leaving the office:

Magic Carpet ride
If you spend the day sitting on a sturdy chair, then this this is a good exercise you can do for strengthening your core and arms. Lift your feet onto the chair and sit cross legged (so that your feet are on the seat), suck in your stomach, place your hands on the arm rests and putting your weight on your arms, lift yourself a few inches off the seat. Using your hands, arms and core, hold the position for ten-fifteen seconds before lowering yourself back onto the seat. Rest and repeat five times.

Wrist stretch
Typing away all day can be hard on our wrists, so this is a great stretch to relax them. Simply stretch out one arm at a time, (palm facing down) and use your other hand to pull the fingers of the outstretched arm down for three seconds and then up for three seconds. Then alternate to the other arm.

Leg lifts and curls
If you are standing by the printer waiting for it to finish churning out documents, then this is an ideal opportunity for some leg toning exercises. Lift one leg behind you, or to you side, making sure to keep it straight, hold it for a second and then slowly lower it down before repeating with the other leg. Another leg toning exercise you can do if you are sitting, is to stretch your legs out in front of you and cross them over. Using your core lift them off the floor, press your top leg down against your bottom leg and resist the pressure with your bottom leg. Hold this until your leg muscles feel tired and then repeat placing the other leg on top.

Steady heel raise
This is one you can do either standing or sitting and is great for strengthening calf muscles. Stand or sit up as tall as you can and slowly lift your heels off the floor until you are resting on just the balls of your feet. Hold and then slowly lower, repeat twenty times on each foot and then do a set of 10 on each foot. (You can add more reps as you get stronger)

Neck and shoulder shaper
Aching necks and shoulders are a well-known feature of office life, but there are stretches you can do that not only help relieve this, but also help tone your neck and shoulders! Beginning with your neck –  place your head into your hands and press your palms into your forehead as if to push your head backwards, resist using your neck muscles. Then clasp your hands together behind your head and push your head backwards, using your hands to resist. After you have toned your neck, it’s time to move onto the shoulders. Roll back your shoulders until your shoulder blades are touching, imagining you are holding an object such as a pencil between your shoulder blades, hold for 10 seconds before relaxing and repeating.


Frida Harju-Westman is the in-house nutritionist at the health app Lifesum, a Stockholm-based digital health company with over 20 million users. Using tech and psychology, it creates a tailored plan to help people live happier, more balanced lives. Whether the goal is to lose weight, build muscle, or just live a healthier life, Lifesum shows how changing small, everyday habits can transform your life. The app is available on iOS and Android.

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Healthy eating micro-resolutions for the New Year

Once the New Year starts, many people get caught up in trying to make drastic changes to their lifestyle and end up giving up on their resolutions altogether. But the advise from the company that brought us the health app Lifesum believes that it is better to make micro-resolutions, based around healthy eating and lifestyle, taking steps to change small things which can often lead to better success in the long term.

Sugar detox
When we’re feeling sluggish, we often reach for sugar to give us quick energy boost. However, sugar isn’t good for our health and not only is it addictive, but the quick pick-me-up will only leave you more exhausted once it wears off. 

  • Start with a complete sugar detox for the first couple of days, before reintroducing natural sugars and unrefined carbohydrates for the remainder of the month.
  • After detoxing, be sure to reintroduce the right kinds of sugar, such as those from honey and fruit. However, don’t forget that these are still sugar and the amount that you consume should be monitored.

Drink more water
Keeping hydrated is important in helping organs and cells to function, reducing hunger and helping flush out toxins, so make sure you drink enough.

  • Of course, apps such as Lifesum help you track your water intake and stay hydrated.

Eat more vegetables
Vegetables are an essential part of our diet and are integral to a healthy lifestyle, so make sure you get all the nutrients and vitamins.

  • Instead of snacking on sweet things, try substituting in vegetables. You could have carrot sticks and red pepper with hummus, or try slicing sweet potato and roasting it to make sweet potato toast.

Have a good breakfast
Research shows that missing breakfast results in low blood sugar and slower metabolism. Your breakfast doesn’t have to be elaborate, just make sure you have one – it’s a key part of healthy eating.

  • Eggs are a great breakfast food as they are low in calories but packed with protein, or fruit salad which provides a boost of vitamins and antioxidants.

Clean Eating
Clean eating is a great micro-resolution to make which will dramatically improve your health in the long term. It’s easier to eat clean if you put thought into your food.

  • For lunch, follow the basic equation of protein + carbohydrate + fat. Chicken or salmon are a good choice as they are low in fat but high in protein. Vegetables such as broccoli and asparagus are a good carbohydrate high in vitamins, and an olive oil based sauce easily fulfils your fat requirement.

Frida Harju-Westman is the in-house nutritionist at the health app Lifesum, a Stockholm-based digital health company with over 20 million users. Using tech and psychology, it creates a tailored plan to help people live happier, more balanced lives. Whether the goal is to lose weight, build muscle, or just live a healthier life, Lifesum shows how changing small, everyday habits can transform your life. The app is available on iOS and Android.

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Education Work

All you really need to know to make your own podcasts

Podcasts are an incredibly flexible tool for students to plan, produce and publish projects that demonstrate their knowledge. This post is going to be a crash course, why and how to do a podcast, whether its to educate of entertain.

By the way, myself and my colleagues at IT Babble have a podcast of our own that you should check out on iTunes.


Pheww – why not?! OK, OK I can see you don’t have time for that. Podcasts are great for students of all ages. It can be as simple a an third grader talking about a country they have researched or as advanced as senior talking about the real reasons that World War II started and debating those theories. Students get to talk (not write, not posterize, not PowerPoint) about a subject they know about. It is fluid and a discussion. When you get a group project it can often be done by one or two people and the others are along for the ride. On a podcast, there is no place to hide. Now that can seem intimidating for some and that is certainly a valid point, so having an alternative in the wings would be a good choice. Also, if a member of a team is just being a pain, maybe that special student so go it on their own as well.


The biggest concerns for teacher not doing podcasts (or not doing them well) is the technology side of things. I get you, sometimes it is hard to know where to start. I’ll talk about that a little later in the post. Another concern is that teachers get too focused on the technical (not the technology) side of things. They get more focused with jingles, time length and transition sounds. Don’t worry about that. If you have an eager and technologically gifted kid, you can have him make a jingle for everyone or you can simply have no jingle or transition sounds at all. It’ll be fine as long as the students focus on the topics at hand. This goes for you IT teachers out there. Don’t focus on the technical side. Forget that! Focus on the content. If you focus on other areas, the podcast will suck. It will sound boring, the students will know it sounds boring and no one will care.

Another big concern is where and how to publish them. To make it short you can use Soundcloud (while it is still around) or my go to Podomatic. You get 500mb free of storage (that equates to about 15, 30 minute podcasts) and it helps you with getting the podcast on the iTunes directory, thus making it pretty universal and accessible from just about anywhere. If you don’t like either of those try Completely free, will let you store as much as you want but no RSS feed (I could be wrong about that). Either way, one of those three free solutions will probably be enough for you and your students.

Technology – You have space and some money

If you have nothing else and no budget, then have one or squeeze three kids around a laptop and have them record using its internal microphone. It will sound bad but it is doable. I wouldn’t do more than three, four means the laptop probably needs to be pushed back a little and even inches can severely diminish the quality of the recording.

If you have the room and the means set up a podcasting studio with an inexpensive mixing board. You don’t need a huge one, just one that can support up to 6 channels will probably be enough. You can often find those under $100 USD. Now You need microphones and microphone stands (desktop stands). Since you’re not recording a full orchestra, jazz ensemble or auditions for The Voice, you can get away with some pretty inexpensive microphones. I picked up a 3 pack of Behringer Ultravoice XM1800S for $50. At the time of this writing it is down to $40 (IT Babble receives no money from Amazon or any other advertiser). Now pick up some mic cables (whatever will plug into your mixing board).

Desktop microphone stands are pretty inexpensive as well. You can find a pretty high quality stand for $15. I would check and BH Photo (if you’re in the States. I do not know if they ship internationally). Don’t worry if you don’t know what you’re doing with the mixing board. You will figure it out. Just know those things are hard to break so fiddle away and try new things. You’ll pretty quickly realize how to increase the volume for a track.

Now have the whole thing plug into a computer. If it is an Apple, you’ve got GarageBand preinstalled which will work for capturing the recording. Just plug the mixing board into the computer, fire them both up and you’re ready to start recording.

If you have a Windows machine (or don’t like GarageBand) then try Audacity. It is open source, free, pretty refined and for basic recordings it should serve you well.

Technology – No extra space and some money

This is probably most teachers I can think of. They will probably be recording in their room or a study room (if your school has those) and so your recording rig must be light weight, portable and probably the cheaper the better. If you have money then go with a Zoom Handy recorder You don’t need a computer, they have a built in mic but some cheap mics and mic stands would be the way to go. Yes, this is a little pricey but these devices are built very well, will last a long time and just don’t fail. That is what we record with on the IT Babble podcast and in more than two years has never failed me once.

Now if you don’t have that type of scratch to throw around, then a laptop and a USB microphone is what I would suggest. You may not be able to get as many people around as possible. USB microphones vary in price. You can find some as cheap as $13 USD and some that are $300 USD or more! The bottom line here and I’ll write in caps and bold is …


It is the truth. You are able to get closer to the mic and it will be more directional cutting out more background noise and if it sounds better if will feel more professional – simple as that. If you’re looking for some good options then the Blue line of USB mics are great. You can almost find them cheaper than their website elsewhere so shop around. They are very sturdy sound pretty darn good, you won’t be disappointed. Their most popular mics (by far) is the Yeti and the Snowball.

Recording the podcast

For younger kids a script may be a good place to start. Definitely have them write it for themselves. It won’t sound as interesting to listen to, but it will get them (and you) time to get more comfortable with the equipment.

For older students (5th grade and up) I’d have them write talking points on an index card and make sure there is someone to moderate and keep the podcast on task. The moderator could be you the teacher or someone who is good at knowing when to listen and when to jump in and redirect a conversation. It takes practice.

One thing to have them keep in mind is not to stop if they make a mistake. Big mistakes (like someone farting or cursing) can be edited out after the recording. No stopping! Sometimes those mistakes allow others to point out the mistake and that little moment is someone learning captured right there and that is pretty cool.

Wrapping it up

You’ve got your gear and software now play around with it. Ideally all the kids should have to do is sit down, hit the record button and start talking. Don’t focus on the gear and technology too much with the kids. Let them focus on their content and you’ll often get honest, informative and entertaining podcasts. That is what will make or break the unit of podcasting initiative if you’re starting one in your school.

If you have a student who is really keen to learn the behind the scenes, then that is great! You know have an assistant (as long as you can teach them how to commit). There is a good chance they may be able to teach you a few things about your equipment that you didn’t know.

The last thing to keep in mind is that this is a process. Don’t expect perfection on your first recording. Take it as it is and as you listen to it, try and find ways to improve it. Maybe it needs better topics, maybe it needs one more or one less voice. As for feedback from your listening community and keep at it! This type of commitment sounds easy but it’s not. It is hard. Take it from someone who has fallen down more than once podcasting.

Six podcasts to make you better people in 2017

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