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Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.

Archive for November, 2009

Young woman and man doing sit-ups

If you’re like me, and you’re trying desperately to get back that perfect flat stomach you had all through high school. Or quite frankly, you’re just tired of people teasing you about your “Buddha” belly or asking when the baby’s due and you’re not even pregnant, take heart. Here are five ways you can avoid the potbelly blah blahs.

Don’t eat a lot of calories at once, especially in the evening.

Too much food in your stomach puts pressure on your stomach muscles and pushes them out. When you eat a lot and then go to bed, your abdominal muscles relax, making it easy for the food to exert pressure on your tummy muscles. Do this enough times and you’re likely to be the not-so-proud owner of a perfect potbelly.

Suck it in.

This advice is especially important for regular runners, who tend not to hold their stomachs in when they run, particularly when they get tired.

All the jiggling and bouncing that your stomach does when you run weakens your abdominal muscles. Consciously trying to hold your stomach in while you run will help it stay strong. Some runners also find that standing up straight instead of slightly slouching as they run makes holding in the stomach easier.

Don’t forget to stretch your hamstrings after you run.

Tight hamstrings can cause you to develop a slight sway-back and make your potbelly all the more noticeable.Try this easy hamstring stretch: Sit on the floor. Extend your left leg straight in front of you. Place your right foot against the inside of your left knee.

Place both hands on the lower front part of your left leg. Lean forward until you feel the muscles stretch m your left thigh. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch legs, then repeat the exercise.

Exercise your stomach muscles regularly.

Stomach exercises improve posture and help prevent your stomach from sticking out. Sit-ups and pelvic tilts provide great toning for the stomach. Sit-ups exercise the upper abdominals while the pelvic tilt tones the lower abs.

Sit-ups: Lie down on the floor with your arms folded across your chest. Bend your knees, keeping feet and back pressed to the floor. Lift only your head and shoulders off the floor. Be careful not to raise all the way up. You won’t do Pelvic tilt your .abdominals any good, and you’re likely to hurt your back. Repeat exercise 10 times.

Pelvic tilt: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands at your sides. Put a folded towel under your head and a rolled up towel under your neck. Inhale. Press your back to the floor and pull in your stomach. Hold position for 10 to 20 seconds. Exhale. Slowly repeat exercise 10 times.

Keep your lower back strong to help hold your stomach in.

The cat stretch and the pseudo swim are two easy exercises that will help keep your back strong.

Cat stretch: Get on your hands and knees on the floor. Keep your back straight. Arch your back. Hold for two seconds. Return to starting position and repeat exercise 10 times.

Pseudo swim: Lie face down on the floor. Place a plump pillow under your stomach and hips. Raise your right aim and your Let leg at the same time until you reel the muscles in your lower back and buttocks tighten. Hold two seconds. Repeat with your left arm and right leg. Do exercise 10 times.

Try to work at least 30 minutes of strength-training exercises like the ones described above into your routine three or four times a week. Push-ups and pull-ups are also good exercise choices.

And fear no more. With a few simple changes, you should easily be able to prevent your stomach from being the target of a lot of “pot” shots.

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Dominica Island, wrapped in the blue

Everyone love to receive gifts, and here in Dominica we have one of the best gift-givers of all…NATURE! Nature knows no limits to the amount of love that is given to us in its wondrous displays of color year round. One of the most healing, calming, loving colors of all is BLUE, and it comes in all shades — enough to please the eye palate of everyone.

So take a nature walk today and see how many gifts are freely displayed for you! Unwrap your gift of nature with your thoughts and allow your imagination to float away with dreams of joy!

Now you’ve seen our “Shade of Blue” mosaic; help us by suggesting the colour for our next Dominica mosaic. Or if you would like to join by creating your own Dominica mosaic. We will be happy post yours up on the site. 😎 (size:615px × 408px).

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A guide to wellbeing in Dominica

Forget the fluffy white robes, flotation tanks and expensive room service bills from the luxury spa hotel – wellbeing holidays on the Caribbean island of Dominica are all about harnessing the island’s natural resources to create a balance of mind, body and spirit.

Here, from ‘the Nature Island of Dominica’, are five steps to the ultimate natural wellbeing vacation.

1. Travel – with a clear conscience
2. Get fit and healthy in the ‘jungle gym’
3. Enrich your spirit
4. Expand your mind
5. Embrace new challenges

1. Travel – With a Clear Conscience

It is impossible to ignore the global warming debate and its links to overseas travel, but at the same time, it is important to remember that tourism is essential to the economies of many countries as well as for promoting understanding and developing cultural links.

In Dominica, visitors can be assured that they have chosen a destination that has gained worldwide recognition for its efforts in sustainable tourism. Dominica was the first country in the world to be benchmarked by Green Globe 21; the highest ranked Caribbean destination in a survey of sustainable islands by National Geographic Traveler; and recently nominated in the Best Green Destination category at the World Travel Awards.

Most hotels, guesthouses and tourism enterprises in Dominica are locally owned and run, so by staying on the island, making use of tour guides and taking part in the activities on offer, visitors are making a vital contribution to local businesses and the island’s economy as a whole.

Responsible travelers can offset their carbon emissions via companies like the Carbon Trust or Carbon Neutral.

2. Get Fit and Healthy in the ‘Jungle Gym’

The beautiful, rainforest landscapes of Dominica are far more inspiring than any gym. Forsake the rowing machine for an ocean kayak, or the treadmill for some brisk hikes in the hilly landscape to make exercise enjoyable. Swimming spots are also plentiful, with numerous freshwater rivers on the island. Some are even naturally heated due to the island’s volcanic nature.

For a more intense work-out, take a dip in the pool at the base of Victoria Falls, or in Ti-Tou Gorge, where the pressure from pounding waterfalls creates a strong resistance to swim against.

Relieve aching muscles with a dip in one of Dominica’s many hot springs, where the water temperature is comparable to a hot bath. Hot spring pools occur naturally across the island – including at the ocean’s edge near the town of Soufriere – and can also be found in the grounds of some guesthouses.

These springs are caused by the island’s volcanic nature, another result of which is mineral-rich mud. Volcanic mud is used across the world in spa treatments to draw toxins and impurities out of the body – in Dominica, visitors can take advantage of abundant supplies in areas including the Valley of Desolation. Indulging in a natural mud face pack will leave skin feeling instantly glowing and healthy.

Healthy eating is relatively easy in Dominica. Most hotels and restaurants offer locally sourced produce, including organically grown vegetables, fresh seafood and a delectable variety of tropical fruit juices. Cookery classes and tours are also available for visitors to learn how regional specialties are prepared.

3. Enrich your spirit

It’s official – Dominica is the fourth happiest country in the world according to the Happy Planet Index, a survey conducted by the UK’s New Economics Foundation. Visitors to the island should embrace this positive frame of mind, brought on by the friendly locals and the sheer beauty of the island.

Unlike some Caribbean islands, it is easy to find a retreat in Dominica – perhaps a corner of the rainforest, a deserted beach, or a stretch of river where you can remain tranquil for hours without being disturbed by another soul, except the wildlife. Make the most of the solitude to contemplate and appreciate the verdant, pristine beauty of the Nature Island, which has hardly changed since Christopher Columbus sailed past over 500 years ago.

Yoga fans might also like to take part in yoga classes or residential courses in other holistic pursuits that take place at selected hotels and guesthouses. Classes take place in purpose-built studios or terraces, surrounded by the forest or overlooking the ocean.

4. Expand Your Mind

A holiday in Dominica offers not only the chance to experience a new country, but also to learn about the culture and history of the people who shaped the whole of the Caribbean region over hundreds of years. Dominica is the only island with an indigenous population of Carib Indians, known as the Kalinago. Many Kalinago live in a government-designated Carib Territory in the northeast of the island, where traditional crafts such as basket weaving are still prevalent.

The island offers a number of community-based tourism activities that will teach visitors about past and present life in Dominica, including a visit to Touna Village in the Carib Territory and a community gardening and cookery tour.

5. Embrace New Challenges

Holidays often bring with them the confidence to try something new, or push personal boundaries. The opportunities for this in Dominica are numerous. Abandon traditional comfort zones by trying a new activity – perhaps scuba diving, horseback riding, rappelling down a waterfall, or swinging through the jungle canopy on zip lines and rope bridges. Challenges could even be as simple as trying fresh seafood for the first time; facing a fear of flying with a scenic flight over the island in a small plane; or learning not to flinch at the creatures and insects that WILL be seen in the jungle.

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