Summer is a time for vacations, barbeques with friends, and enjoying the sunshine outdoors. Another thing that summer is known for is free time. Kids are out of school, teachers get a long break, and there are long stretches where there is little to do. And while you can fill your time with the activities above, you can also use your free time for volunteer work. While there are many ways to give back to society, one of the best ways to make an impact is volunteering with non-profit organizations that often have more to do than they can do alone. Anything can be done, from using your professional teaching or technical skills or even just lending a hand with distribution or chopping vegetables. All it really takes is a willing heart and an open mind to start making the world around you a slightly better place to live. If you are looking for a place to volunteer, below we have listed some of the charities that are operate in Xi’an.
The summer is already heating up and it can seem impossible to escape from the unrelenting furnace that is a Xi’an summer. Sure, you could hide from the heat in your home, with the A/C cranked to 11, but what’s the fun in that? No, summer heat relief comes best in the shape of a swimming pool. While it may not seem so from the outside, Xi’an actually contains a large number of swimming pools, though many of them are tucked away in building and out of sight. So here are the best places to get wet this summer.
In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new restaurant in town that is serving up some of the best western food that Xi’an has seen in some time. Called Mina’s this restaurant has gained in popularity over the past month, with customers returning multiple times per week due to the authentic taste of home that is near impossible to find elsewhere. So, to find out more, we sat down with Steve and Dalia, the couple making Mina’s possible, to find out more about how this came about.
While cities are nice, with all the cafes, restaurants, and shopping malls you might desire, during the summer months, the city becomes a bit unbearable due to the heat, mugginess, and general lack of patience that comes with it. What you need sometimes is an escape. Luckily, the mountains surrounding the city offer a variety of refuges, from camping sites to hiking trails, mountain inns and mountain springs. While getting out can be a bit difficult without transportation, it is possible.
Mahjong is a very popular game in China, especially amongst the older generation. Essentially, Mahjong is a game where you try to get a series of sets of three (matching tiles) or series of three (sequential numbers), similar to Gin Rummy, but you are aiming to have 14 tiles at the end, with 4 sets or series and a pair or three sets of four and a pair. The game is typically fast-paced among experienced players, and the strategies evolve as more tiles are played. The endless combinations make it a very interesting game, and there is also sometimes gambling, but I suggest avoiding that unless you’re looking to lose your money. Also, gambling is illegal in China.
Brunch might just be the perfect meal. All of the delicious foods of breakfast, but at a time that is much more reasonable. Plus, you can start drinking before noon and people will judge you less for it. Brunch as a concept was not something that you could find in Xi’an, as most people stuck with the more traditional three meals a day. Slowly, however, the concept has taken off, leaving us with more choices than ever. While some place may still be BYOB, you can still pick up some delicious dishes and lounge around for the morning, hopefully on your days off.
Starting a new job can be an exciting in many ways. New jobs will hopefully provide more opportunity for growth, better pay and compensation packages, and allow you to expand your personal and professional circle a little bit wider. Sometimes, during the course of interviewing for a new position, you might overlook a few things in the eagerness to get at that new pay packet. But not asking the right questions can lead to misery down the road, as unexpected snags can cause conflict and lead to an uncomfortable work environment.
So, when you’re sitting down in that first, second, or third interview, consider asking the following questions before you sign your soul away.
2022 started off with more than a whimper than a bang, with Xi’an’s 13 million residents on lockdown until nearly the end of January. Even though those times are, for the moment, behind us, many gyms and health clubs are still closed as of this writing. So with your typical avenue for fitness being unreliable, what is one to do? Common wisdom would state that you should head out for a run or get outside to do some exercises at your local outdoor fitness park, but as we have seen some times that too becomes unavailable. That leaves one surefire way to keep with your fitness goals without ever leaving your home. We speak of course of the Great Indoors.
While the likelihood that you have the space for a complete home gym is unlikely, there are still plenty of ways to get your reps in without having to sacrifice much money. Some of the options are even free. So let’s run down just a few of the ways that you can stay or get fit from the comfort of your own home.
Bodyweight Exercises for Strength Conditioning
Body weight exercises are somewhat underrated, as they are not quite as impressive looking as their weighted counterparts, but they have been the go-to method for at home strength training for as people have been training to get fit.
Classic exercises such as push-ups and sit-ups are easy ones to get started with and there are innumerable variations to make them either more or less challenging, depending on your skill level. You can also incorporate air squats, chair dips, and other exercises that target different muscle groups so that you get whole body workouts.
The number of each exercise that you should do will vary depending on your individual fitness and health goals, and there are resources online that can let you know roughly how many a fit person of your age bracket should be able to do. If you are still unsure about what to do, there are numerous “follow along” bodyweight workout videos across the internet, which usually involve a lot of yelling from the trainer.
Whichever you choose to do, even when doing resistance training, you should work up a sweat and increase your heart rate. Be careful of your surrounding environment when setting up and move any objects which might interfere with your workout. Try to use a yoga mat, carpet, or similar soft surface to increase your traction and decrease the likelihood of slipping. Be extra cautious with single leg exercises, even if you think your balance is on point.
Cardio Videos Galore
In the wake of the initial outbreak of the pandemic, many trainers found themselves without the regular client base that was their lifeblood, and thus turned to online training to fill in the gaps. What this means is that there have never been more options for you when it comes to training, especially when it comes to cardio.
Cardio classes can range from the high-energy jazzercise style exercises popular during the 90s, to more modern classes focused around high-energy dancing, and everything in between. There really is a style for everyone out there. If you’re looking for something more focused, you can also use apps, like 7 Minute Workout, that are targeted at quick workouts to boost you throughout the day.
Also, if your Chinese is halfway decent, you can find similar videos on your cable box, or through other Chinese social media sites, such as WeChat, Tiktok, and other similar apps. Though be careful, not all of them are necessarily safe to do.
Yoga – The Original at Home Workout
Yoga is a tradition stretching back thousands of years, and at its very basic requires little to no equipment, and is accessible at all levels of fitness. It is especially good for those that need a low impact workout, either due to bad joints or other physical limitations. What’s more, through the stretching and poses you can start to rectify some of the problems that arise from the excessive sitting that is omnipresent in modern lifestyles.
Getting started with yoga is as simple as finding some flexible clothing and a spot on the floor, though your comfort will be infinitely increased if you spring for a foam yoga mat or other exercise pad. Tutorials for yoga are numerous on every online video site, though if you’re new to the practice, then you might want to search instead for ‘beginner yoga’, as some of the routines involve more pretzel bending than most people are ready for at the beginning.
As with all of these, take it at a slow pace at first and don’t overexert yourself, despite any enthusiasm, as injuries are more common than most people talk about.
If You Want to Spring for Equipment…
If you like to have some kit or other items that can help you with your fitness journey at home, then there are plenty of options for you online. In fact, there are probably too many options, making it difficult to choose exactly what you’re looking for. If you want some recommendations, consider the following:
A Yoga Mat/Exercise Mat
These long strips of foam rubber come in a variety of colors and textures, but in the end, what you really need is something that will cushion you against the ground and will give you traction for your feet so that you don’t slip and hurt yourself. Bonus points if it doesn’t stink like rubber, but if it does, you can air it out near a window for a few days until the smell dissipates. Also, clean the sweat off occasionally. Those things can get nasty.
Kettlebells may seem like a new thing, but they are actually quite old, having been recently re-popularized by the Crossfit movement. Essentially, a kettlebell is a ball of weight with a handle over its center of mass. This makes it good for several exercises, such as the kettlebell swing, that can give you a whole body workout really quickly. Choose a weight that you can easily handle at first, going for more repetitions over more weight. Also, keep your grip tight, as you don’t want to put a hole in your wall.
Resistance bands are basically giant rubber band that can add resistance (get it?) to bodyweight and weighted exercises. They can also be used to assist for you in things like pull ups and other exercises by helping to lift you up. Resistance bands come with different weight resistances to them, usually from 5kg up to 90kg in some cases, so you can choose the weight that is appropriate for you. If you choose to do exercises that require you to tie your band to something, make sure it is secure or you might get injured.
We hope that this has inspired you to get a bit more fitness out of your home life, regardless of circumstances. Remember to take things easy, stay hydrated, and go at your own pace for a better, healthier life in Xi’an.
Life in the big city can be stressful. With all of the people, constant traffic, and endless work, the stress of life can pack on quickly. Add in the stresses of the world at large and everything can start to feel a bit overwhelming. What’s needed is a way to destress, to pull away from the hustle and bustle and unwind for a bit. While it might not seem that way on the surface, there are actually quite a few remedies for the daily grind that are hiding away, just beneath the surface of Xi’an.
Dental health is important to your overall health, but for many expats, a visit to the dentist can be nerve wracking. Miscommunication can lead to detrimental consequences, so you want to make sure that your teeth are in the best care possible. That is why it is important to choose a place for care that is both well-equipped and well-qualified to meet your dental care needs. One such place is Lianbang Dental Clinic, a group of dental clinics dedicated to high-quality dental care. We interviewed the founder, Dr. Deng Banglian, to find out more about her company.