Archive for December, 2013

The example of Madiba

Nelson Mandela achieved something unique: he was all things to all people. To the oppressed people under Apartheid he was a major figure in the struggle for liberation. For white South Africans he provided leadership which brought a peaceful transition to democracy, when many expected civil war. In the world outside South Africa he was a symbol of a fight for freedom that almost everyone could identify with. Though some people try to be possessive about him and claim him for one group or another, more than anyone else in our time, Mandela belongs to everyone, in South Africa and throughout the world.

From my viewpoint, what has placed Mandela in this unique position and makes him such a profound example for the rest of us was his adherence to principles. He held the principles on which he based his life as more important to him than his own life, which he not only claimed he was willing to sacrifice, but said so in a situation, his trial, where the claim itself could have cost him his life.

Politics is a game in which pragmatism, ideology and personal gain can easily overcome principles, and very often do. Mandela did not let his own personal interests corrupt the work of his principles. His role was to help bring about the liberation of South Africa in such a way that there was a possibility for all its citizens to fulfil their dreams. He achieved this, and then stepped down. But the work has only just begun. The vision of a non-racial democracy could hardly be further away than it is now.

Following his example, our duty to ourselves, as I see it, is to develop principles that express and articulate our own unique selves, and live according to them. By doing this, we can begin to repair the ruptured integrity of the country, and begin to build the non-racial democracy that was at the heart of the vision of those who struggled for liberation. •

ROBUST OUTLOOK FOR 2014 AS THE HOUSING MARKET GAINS MOMENTUM

With 2014 set to be a milestone year as we celebrate 20 years of democracy and hold elections, there is much to be upbeat about. After five years of inhibited growth, activity in the primary urban areas has strengthened notably with conditions at the healthiest levels since the economic down-turn. Next year, we may well see the first signs of real growth and double-digit price growth is a real possibility in the primary urban areas. Based on our turnover that is up by 20% year-on-year and agent feedback, activity has improved significantly with more buyers at show houses, multiple offers and better prices for sellers. This, along with growing stock shortages point to greater normalcy and balance and, while still too early to talk about a major recovery in view of the wider economic landscape, we anticipate a more robust 2014.

Price gains though will remain conservative, but sellers can look forward to shorter selling times and good offers provided the pent up demand persist. The protracted low demand in the coastal and second home markets is likely to continue with buyers discerning and particular about what they are looking for and how much they are prepared to pay. The historically low interest rate will continue to boost home affordability and while some areas are moving towards a sellers’ market, conditions will continue to favour buyers. For those that can and want to buy, the time is now. Sellers too can look forward to better selling prices and in turn take advantage of the favourable buying conditions.

Recovery of the market will be slow with the primary sector picking up the bulk of the momentum as we have seen. The key macro-economic indicators, most notably economic and job growth will continue to drive the market and only once the economy picks up are we likely to see a significant uptick in sales volumes and prices. For now though, we are optimistic about the outlook for 2014. Visit www.seeff.com for more information or contact us on 044 533 0311 or email plett@seeff.com<mailto:plett@seeff.com> . •

Charting a Course

As a young adult I laughed off the advice that it was essential to create a plan or “road map” for my life, I was actively encouraged to set some goals. With my limited life experience at that stage I had some general ideas of what I wanted to achieve – complete my degrees and articles, maybe have a family one day.

It was only with the perfect 20:20 vision of hindsight and observing the rising and falling fortunes of companies that I worked for or consulted to that I began to understand the fundamental wisdom in having a plan, whether personal or business.

There are no guarantees that you will achieve what you plan to, but if you aim for the stars and end up with the moon, you are still better off than having no, or a low aim.

I don’t know if anyone would be happy to buy a ticket, or brave enough to board a flight if the itinerary stated “we are aiming in the general direction of North America, departing in sometime in April 2013”. Yet that is how many direct their lives and businesses!
With a plan in place you are able to focus your resources on a daily basis to achieve incremental, sustainable progress towards your vision. This may be your business funds, your human resource complement, or simply your own time and creative energy.
I have finally understood what I was taught many years ago – if you fail to plan then you plan to fail. •

 

Choosing the Right Aquarium For You

If you’ve decided that you want to keep fish, one of the most important decisions is which tank to buy. It is a crucial decision and could determine your success in the hobby.

Tanks come in all manners of shapes and sizes at differing costs. As well as matching your tank to your needs and tastes you also, and more importantly, need to match the tank to your fishes needs. If you have decided on what type of fish you would like to keep, tropical, cold water goldfish, temperate fish, large fish, make sure that the tank you choose is suitable for your fish to live in for their entire lives. Research the fish that you are interested in and be sure you know their fully grown adult size and the size aquarium that they require. The aquarium that you choose should also have all the necessary equipment need to keep your fish healthy and alive like filter systems, heaters and lighting.

Tips For Buying Your Aquarium
Think carefully about where you are going to position your tank. Avoid any where near doors or loud areas such as near televisions or stereos. Also avoid placing your aquarium near radiators as this may cause your aquarium to over heat.

Old fashioned rectangular, long aquariums are the most suitable tanks for fish. This gives them more swimming space and a larger surface area helps your fish tank maitain a higher oxygen level.

Try to buy as larger tank as is possible. This always makes keeping fish a lot easier as larger volumes of water are more stable and less likely to develop water quality problems.

Remember that larger tanks will cost more to run and make sure that you are able to support your new hobby financially before taking the plunge!•

Why You Should Be Foam Rolling Part 1

If you have been to health clubs in recent years, you may have noticed a few people rolling and writhing around on cylindrical pieces of foam. The technique is called foam rolling and probably doesn’t look all that inviting given the grimaces on the faces of some who practice it. Despite its appearance, however, foam rolling can actually help you feel better and perform better in your workouts.

Foam rolling is also called myofascial release and is designed to work out the “knots” in your muscles. You could compare the practice to self-massage. The technical terms for “knots” are trigger points or myofascial adhesions. Fascia is a form of connective tissue that wraps and bundles muscles (myo) together. Myofascial adhesions can develop through stress, training, overuse, underuse, movement imbalances and injuries. They are essentially points of constant tension and addressing them can have a positive effect on your workouts. Ignoring them can lead to further dysfunction and may perpetuate and/or cause injury.

As you might imagine, muscles and fascia do not literally tie themselves into knots. However, the analogy isn’t too much of a stretch (no pun intended). Take an elastic band and tie a knot in the center and stretch the band. The elastic around the knot can stretch, but the knot itself will stay put and get tighter. This will result in a “speed bump” of sorts, affecting the shortening and lengthening of the affected area. This is not unlike the functionality of muscles. The area around the adhesion gets worked, but the area affected by the adhesion will not reap the same benefits. In other words, the rich part of the muscle gets richer, while the poor part stays poor.

The Bad News and the Good News
The bad news is that foam rolling is not noted for its comfort. The good news, however, is that you can and should control the amount of pressure applied and steer clear of pain. Learning how to control the amount of pressure to a mild and tolerable discomfort is important. The objective of rolling is to help the area relax, and applying too much pressure can reflexively invite the opposite response. When introducing pressure to a sensitive area, you may experience a slight knee-jerk type reflex. But if you do not go in too hard, you should experience what feels like air being slowly let out of a tire.

In highly sensitive areas, eliminating tension completely is not likely to happen following one application. However, some improvement can be noticed immediately. With consistent and diligent application applied to the peskiest areas, elimination of chronic adhesions may be possible.

Application: Ease in, Search and Eliminate

As with all things exercise related, you should ease yourself in gradually. Start with a softer roller (if available) and prioritize how to control your body on the roller and the amount of pressure you apply. It is better to be too soft than too hard, especially in the beginning. Once you feel a comfortable level of control, administer pressure to the most sensitive areas for roughly 20 to 30 seconds. As you get to know your body and how it responds to foam rolling, you may go shorter or longer as needed.

Prioritizing
It is very possible to find several trigger points throughout your body. Spending time on each one may take a while and won’t be much fun. Therefore, you can prioritize what to focus on in two ways: 1) address the muscles you are working that day; and/or 2) address the areas that are most sensitive.
When starting out, take inventory over a couple of workouts to determine your areas of greatest need. A great way of identifying needs is to compare left and right sides. Most of the muscles rolled will be the extremities and can be rated on a sensitivity scale of 1-10 on each side. It is very common for one side to be more sensitive than the other. The more sensitive side deserves more attention and should become the higher priority. But keep comparing sides. If done well and consistently, sensitivity should decrease and left and right differences will balance out.

When to Perform
Foam rolling can be performed prior to and after your workouts. When applying prior to your workout, only focus on problematic areas. Remember, foam rolling is designed to reduce tension and relax a muscle. Doing this to a healthy muscle may relax it to the point of being less effective during your workout. But for muscles that carry excessive tension, spending time on the front end of training can help reduce poor and imbalanced movements during your workout. Post-workout rolling can focus on all of major muscles worked, with an extra emphasis on the areas that appear problematic.

Foam rolling is one strategy that can help improve symmetry in the body. By taking a few minutes during each workout (and each day if necessary) to work out adhesions, you can help prepare for, and recover from, exercise more effectively. Tension can be released from the area, while blood flow and nutrients can increase, leading to healthier muscle tissue and a more effective fitness program.

Instructions: Search the entire muscle to find one or two of the most sensitive spots. Once there, apply pressure on the spot until some tension is released. Either stay on the spot longer, or generate small movements back and forth.

The exercises below target several common areas that can benefit from foam rolling, including the calves, glutes, inner thighs, outer thighs (IT band) and lats.

Researched By :
Kátia C. Rowlands – PLETT PILATES ; SPINNING & FITNESS STUDIO – 082 513 4256 •

All systems go for Plett Rage

CAPE TOWN – As matriculants near the end of the 2013 final exam season, organisers of the annual Plett Rage are getting Plettenberg Bay ready ahead of the event.
Revellers at Plett Rage 2012. Picture: Plett Rage.

Thousands of learners from across the country are expected to attend the Plett Rage event, which will take place from Friday until 8 December.

The event is in its 14th year.

Organiser Ronen Klugman says, “We are catering for students from across the country. We have artists from across the board from Micasa Music to Goldfish to Jack Parow to DJ Fresh. We are catering for all genres of music.”
– See more at: http://thegremlin.co.za/plettenberg-bay-news/wordpress/2013/11/26/all-systems-go-for-plett-rage/#sthash.wZaXxf40.dpuf •

Fruttare brings coastal towns the best of summer in first ever “Street Beats” campaign

Made with real fruit, Fruttare fruit ice for fruit lovers will bring a burst of colour and flavour to the coastal towns of Cape Town, Plettenberg Bay and Port Elizabeth. In true Fruttare style, the brand will merge the best qualities of summer – fruit, refreshment, music and dance – in the first ever seen “Street Beats” campaign.

Together with some of South Africa’s award winning bands and solo artists, the Fruttare “Street Beats” campaign will bring consumers an authentic and vibrant experience served naturally with a burst of positive energy and an ice cold Fruttare fruit ice.

Visual 1

Between the 22nd and 28th December Fruttare and celebrated artists will add a fresh meaning to the word “roadshow” as a customised truck cruises the streets delivering the hottest pop-up performances in city centres. “The roadshow will be South Africa’s first moving gig,” says Justine Brett, Ola Brand Manager. “Artists will be performing live shows in motion, an element that speaks to the vivacity of Fruttare. The Fruttare spirit is a young and vibrant one and we’re a brand that bats for making awesome memories, experiencing new adventures and staying connected – what better way to do this than an impromptu roadshow,” says Brett.

Encompassing the natural essence of summer, Fruttare is made from real fruit pulp, which you can see, smell and taste. “Fruttare aims to inspire in people the freedom to indulge by providing both pleasure and health through the natural goodness of fruit without the guilt of too many calories,” ends Brett.

Look out for the Fruttare “Street Beats” truck at the following venues: Saturday 22nd December at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, Friday 27th December Central Beach in Plettenberg Bay and last but not least, Saturday 28th December Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth.

– See more at: http://thegremlin.co.za/plettenberg-bay-news/wordpress/2013/11/28/fruttare-brings-coastal-towns-the-best-of-summer-in-first-ever-street-beats-campaign/#sthash.TTk9W3OO.dpuf •

Rich or Poor, Is it a Choice?

“The philosophy of the rich and the poor is this: the rich invest their money and spend what is left. The poor spend their money and invest what is left.” Robert Kiyosaki

While the initial reaction of most people may be to take offence at a statement as broad as this consider that it is possible to earn a fantastic salary and be in debt each month and equally possible to earn very little but have no debt.
Neither of these scenarios happens by chance, they are the result of choices. One of the most valuable investment or wealth building strategies is to “pay yourself first”. From your first pay cheque if you immediately set aside a fixed amount – whether five percent or twenty percent, there is always a buffer that can give one a sense of well-being regardless of what life may bring.
Wealth is also relative, for a person earning a salary of R2,800 per month after two years of consistently saving ten percent, with no interest taken into account a total of R6,720 has built up. After ten years R33,600. To the person earning R2,800 that feels like real wealth.
The philosophy of the poor results in a nil saving as the maxim seems to apply that no matter how much we may earn, expenses expand to the level of income available for spending. The result is that all that is left to save after spending is nil.
The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Unless a change in philosophy is made the outcome will not change.
It is difficult to make the shift from a philosophy of spending first and investing second to investing first and spending what is left, but small steps can make all the difference. Begin with R50 per month, and then increase it to R100, then a percentage of what you earn.
The best approach is to make incremental changes over time. To commit to setting aside twenty percent overnight is bound to fail. Gradual changes are the most sustainable.
No matter what your goals in life are, simply having a “nest egg” can give you the security, peace of mind and confidence to envision an entirely different future to the daily grind of the “poor mind-set”.
We are all captains of our own ships and the course we set is our choice. Reducing the “nice to haves” •

The Basic Guidelines On Dogs Life Span

Do you know that your dog is at the complete mercy of all the choices you make for his health and well-being? The options you have and the choices you make will not only affect how long your dog will be with you, but also the comfort and quality of life he has while he is with you. So, if you really want to know how to extend dog life span easily, read the tips given in this article:

1. If you have a male dog, don’t neuter it before his 1 year of age. Male dogs can grow up to 20% bigger than female dogs and therefore, they need extra testosterone for proper muscle development that would help them support their extra large skeleton.

2. Whenever possible, it is good to remember that our dogs have the higher chance to extend their life span by 1 year and 8 months longer when they are fit and healthy. When we say fit, it simply means that they have to be lean. Not in the sense that they no longer have the fats and chubby look whenever we look at them and hug them. Of course, a dog should be a little bit cuddly.

Being lean is being healthy for them. They should not be overweight and at the same time, underweight. When we feed them, we should consider giving them the balanced diet that they need. In that way, we are promoting a healthy approach for our dogs and pets.

3. When looking for the food of your dog, it is always good to check on the label. The first thing that you should check would be the calcium phosphorus ratio. It should be 1.2:1. This ratio is highly recommended because they need this for their growth and bone structure.
4. Not all the vaccines that are posted in the web are helpful. It is always good to act your veterinarian which ones are the most effective.

5. Doing research is one of the many things that can be beneficial when you want to extend the lifespan of your dog. There are a lot of resources online and that would mean finding information for quality nutrition.

6. For the record, corn is not a good source of protein and is considered as a kind of food that is difficult to digest by dogs. For that reason, corn should not be given to dogs because they might develop indigestion that might lead to complications.

7. Know the different cancer-causing agents – Do you know that there are many different dog cancer-causing agents? And believe it or not, some of them are included in many dog foods commercially sold. Thus, it is really necessary that you do your research on this to extend the dog life span of your dog.

Extending the dog life span of your dog is not that hard. You simply have to be aware of the things that can actually decrease their lifespan and of course those that can prolong their lifespan. •

 

Lunges – Are All Created Equal?

If you’re in the market to strengthen and sculpt your lower body, while also functionally preparing to tackle the activities of everyday life—like walking and climbing up stairs— with greater ease, the lunge should be an essential part of your workout routine. This no-equipment required move can be performed in a number of different ways, including moving forward or backwards. And, while stepping in one direction or the other might not seem to make that much of a difference, the truth is there’s more than meets the eye. Top personal trainers weigh in to break down the advantages and disadvantages of both the forward lunge and the reverse lunge so you can determine which option may best suit your current fitness needs.

The Forward Lunge Lowdown
This tried-and-true move has long been a workout staple and for good reason. A  research study by the American Council on Exercise found the forward lunge to be one of the most effective exercises for eliciting a high level of muscle activity in the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and hamstrings—significantly more than other common lower-body exercises like the body-weight squat. In addition to being highly effective the forward lunge is also quite functional, as this movement closely mimics our walking pattern. Because our brains are accustomed to putting one foot in front of the other, the forward lunge helps to reinforce the gait pattern in a way that challenges balance and the muscles of the lower extremities, explains Sabrena Merrill, exercise scientist and ACE Master Trainer based out of Kansas City, Mo.
This added challenge, however, can have implications for the knee joint. Jonathan Ross, award-winning ACE-certified Personal Trainer  and author of Abs Revealed, shares that this version of the movement can be thought of as an acceleration lunge, because the body is moving forward and then backward. This results in a greater challenge, because the body is being propelled forward through space and returning from the bottom of the movement requires enough force to successfully return the body to the starting position. “The increase in challenge can make this lunge a problem for people with any knee pathology, because  a higher amount of force and/or more range of motion is required to perform it properly.”

The Reverse Lunge Lowdown
This twist on the lunge offers the body an opportunity to move in a direction that most of us rarely go. While stepping backwards can offer a new challenge because it is not a normal repetitive movement most of us use, Merrill shares however that it can provide slightly less challenge to balance. This is because the center of gravity always remains between the two feet. “For the forward lunge, the center of gravity moves forward of the body during the forward stepping motion, so the reverse lunge may be an option for people who have problems with balance.” Part of the ease in performing this movement compared to the forward lunge is that the body is moving up and down and not through space, adds Ross. This makes it more of a deceleration lunge because you are moving up and down as one leg steps backward out of the way. “The strictly vertical nature of the movement requires less force than a forward lunge, which allows for an opportunity to train the muscles of the stance leg with less stress on the joints.” International fitness educator and Senior Manager of Training and Development for TRX Dan Mc Donogh adds that this variation on the lunge can be a suitable option for individuals with knee issues, as well as for those lacking hip mobility.

The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, the lunge—however you choose to perform it—should be a staple in your workout routine because of its emphasis on hip mobility and the translation to movement patterns in everyday life. In addition to providing great strengthening benefits for the muscles of the lower body, both the forward and reverse lunge require a significant amount of core control and engagement. “Both types of lunges, when performed correctly, require one hip to flex and the other to extend, while also controlling the pelvis through proper core activation,” says Merrill. “The hip abdominal and lower-back muscles must work in a synchronized fashion to control the tilting of the pelvis.”

Give This Lunge a Try
For a greater focus on technique and comfort when performing the lunge, you should add the bottom-up lunge to your exercise arsenal. This movement allows you to learn proper movement first without the need to pick up and put down a foot during the movement, as required by both the forward and reverse lunge. To perform this static movement, begin with the right foot forward and left foot back, with the left knee resting on a balance pad or BOSU® Balance Trainer directly under the left hip. Keep the spine straight as you create the upward movement by pushing the right foot into the ground and straightening the right leg using the hamstrings and inner-thigh muscles. Reverse the movement by slowly lowering the left knee back down to the pad or BOSU® with control, using the muscles of the right leg. Alternate legs.

Researched By :
Kátia C. Rowlands – PLETT PILATES ; SPINNING & FITNESS STUDIO – 082 513 4256 •

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