How To Choose The Best New York Spa Vacation

The sheer number of New York spas and treatments can make it difficult to decide. Take time to determine your priorities before booking.

New York City or State of New York Spa

It’s easy to find a hotel spa in the heart of New York City. Many major hotels, like the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the Four Seasons Hotel in Times Square, or The Peninsula on Fifth Avenue, offer luxurious spa treatments for business and leisure travelers who wish to stay overnight. Their spa services are also available for day trippers.

In Manhattan, it would be simple to stay at a budget hotel and pamper oneself with visits to any of New York’s outstanding day spas. Bliss Spa is one well-known and respected name, as is Oasis Day spa, which bills itself as “affordable luxury.” Dorit Baxter Spa and Skin Care is a New York institution and reasonably priced as well.

Outside of the city, New York State also hosts many spas in romantic and scenic locales. The Finger Lakes region is known for fine wine and fabulous cuisine. The Mirbeau Inn and Spa in Skaneateles boasts award-winning dining and relaxing spa treatments in a charming French -inspired setting. The inn is noted for its beautiful gardens and warm hospitality.

One benefit of staying at a spa with accommodation is that meals, which are likely to be both healthy and appetizing, will be included, making it easy to budget for total costs.

Spa Visit for Health or Beauty

Visitors to a New York spa should also decide in advance what sort of treatments to book. Each spa has a speciality, such as Asian or European treatments, and the focus might be on health and wellness, strictly beauty or a combination of both.

Couples’ Getaway or Girls’ Weekend Spa Visit

Depending on whether one is planning a couple’s retreat or girls’ get together will determine which spa to choose. Though most women will appreciate a picturesque setting, a girls’ weekend spa visit might be more fun in the city where other activities, such as shopping and sightseeing, are readily available.

A couple’s retreat or honeymoon might be more suited to an out-of-town location, where the stresses of everyday can be left behind.

How to Find the Best Prices at a New York Spa

After deciding on which type of treatment, and before booking, check online for any special prices or package deals. Business hotels and city day spas might have lower prices on the weekends, whereas an out-of-town destination spa might charge less during the week.

Always phone and ask if there are any better offers, or if a little extra, like a manicure or free products, can be included in the deal. Be sure to mention if one is celebrating a special occasion, like a birthday, anniversary or honeymoon.

Visitors to New York might be interested in reading more about the New York Wine & Culinary Center or the Taste of New York Restaurant, also in the Finger Lakes area.

Flipping-Fantastic Options For A Healthful Holiday Feast

There are ways to keep the fat low and the spirits high this holiday season by preparing healthier soon-to-be holiday classics.

Who doesn’t love the festive joy and over-indulgence the holiday season brings to one and all? Some people even enjoy baking the food to serve to their famished family and friends. But no one likes the seemingly unavoidable weight gain that quickly creeps up on the average adult during the holidays.

In the spirit of giving, and after being thoroughly badgered, family and friends gave up their favorite recipes for healthy holiday options, and the easiest and most popular are featured below. So escape the morass of dining remorse by swapping out typical seasonal meals for the goodly grub below.

Delectable Green Beans

This recipe completely disregards the use of greasy french fried onions, heavy mushroom soup, or butter incorporated in the typical green bean casserole dish. Instead, boil two pounds of fresh green beans and place in a large bowl. Toss green beans with 1/2 cup of chopped almonds, 1/2 cup of crumbled goat cheese, and two teaspoons of sherry vinegar. It’s that simple to make a flavorful and far less fattening veggie side!

Coveted Squash Casserole

This deliciously cheesy alternative to potatoes au gratin starts with two pounds of sliced squash and 3/4 cup of chopped red onion, boiled until tender. Pour boiled vegetables into a casserole dish and cover with 1 cup of reduced-fat cheddar and 1/2 cup of bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes to achieve gooey perfection.

Juicy Baked Pears

Take 4-6 pears, depending on the number of guests and keeping in mind that a serving size is half a pear. Peel and halve the pears and place in a baking pan, flat side up. Pour a cup of apple juice over the pears and into the baking pan. Sprinkle each pear halve with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of brown sugar. Bake for about 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve warm with a scoop of either vanilla frozen yogurt or fat free ice cream. Super-sweet Bosc pears work best in this dish.

Rich Pumpkin Pie Pudding

This creamy dessert is individual sized and crust-free, making it a great low-fat option. Start with 2 4oz packages of french vanilla pudding and pie mix and prepare per directions on the box. Add 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree and 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice to prepared pudding and mix thoroughly. Chill in refrigerator for at least one hour. Ladle chilled pudding mixture into custard cups just prior to serving and garnish each with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Walking Every Day Is Good For Senior Health

Walking every day is a habit that nearly everyone can develop and maintain and is especially suitable for older adults (50+) and seniors (65+). Running is a high impact aerobic exercise that causes many injuries as people age. By contrast, walking is much lower in impact and is virtually injury free when performed on smooth surfaces. There are serious health risks involved in being physically inactive. By walking every day older adults can exercise aerobically, improve their fitness, reduce health risks, and likely improve any chronic conditions they may have.

The Benefits of Aerobic Exercise for Older Adults

According to the Mayo Clinic the top 10 benefits of aerobic exercise include:

  • Living longer
  • Reduced health risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and obesity
  • Management of chronic health conditions like high blood pressure and control high blood sugar
  • Strengthening the heart
  • Keeping arteries clear
  • Warding off viral illnesses by activating the immune system
  • Being able to stay active and live independently longer
  • Boosting one’s mood
  • Increasing one’s stamina
  • Controlling weight

For older adults, aerobic exercise can also stem cognitive decline, and weight bearing aerobic exercise like waking can lower the risk of osteoporosis.

Walking Aerobically Every Day is the Goal

Seniors need first to receive approval from their doctors before beginning any exercise program and this is critically important when they have one or more chronic medical conditions. Exercise prescriptions should be individualized. But the large majority of seniors are able to walk aerobically and they can benefit a great deal if they can eventually work up to walking aerobically each and every day.

Walking aerobically usually means walking at a brisk pace that raises the heart rate and involves sighing respiration. Gasping for breath is working too hard. Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise should be the goal for most seniors. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) defines moderate-intensity aerobic exercise as “working hard at about a level-six intensity on a scale of 10. You should still be able to carry on a conversation during exercise.” Although it varies by individual and existing fitness, aerobic walking paces can range from two miles per hour to four miles per hour. Many fit people will walk even faster than that.

Research shows that for substantial health benefits seniors should perform at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, or 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. But for those who are able to tolerate more, aerobic walking at moderate intensity every day for 60 minutes would reap even more health benefits. Those who have been inactive would need to work up gradually to this level of seven hours of aerobic walking per week.

Walking Strategies for Health and Fitness

There are a number of things that older adults can do to begin and to sustain a daily aerobic walking program for their health and fitness. Strategies for success might include:

  • Investing in a good pair of walking shoes to avoid foot and other potential problems
  • Walking with others – friends, family, or co-workers – to help all involved to stick with it
  • Starting gradually and progressing slowly to avoid soreness or trying to do too much too soon
  • Walking outside only in daylight and only in safe areas
  • Walking on a treadmill if available, but not holding on to get the maximum benefit (unless balance is an issue)
  • Doing shorter aerobic walks of 10 to 20 minutes multiple times a day
  • Walking in malls during bad or extreme weather
  • Using a pedometer to track the number of daily steps taken (10,000 per day is a typical goal)
  • Warming up by walking slowly for five minutes and cooling down by walking slowly for five minutes (important for safe and effective conditioning)
  • Drinking water before, during and after walking, especially in warm weather

Motivation is a critical success factor so seniors need to focus on the benefits of enhanced health and fitness and the difference it can make to the quality of their lives. Walking every day should become an ingrained habit after three months. So whatever it takes to walk every day for the first three months should be in one’s plan.

Those who are motivated by weight loss goals can plan to walk every day to lose weight. Such a commitment is doubly significant because getting fit and losing weight (or preventing weight gain) should be the key goals of all older adults who want to have high quality lives.

Walking Every Day Improves the Health of Seniors

Walking every day is something nearly all seniors can do. Walking is cheap, easy, and effective in improving health and fitness when it is done aerobically. The research documenting the health benefits of aerobic exercise is overwhelming. Walking every day is not hard to sustain once it becomes a habit. The key is getting started and committing to daily walks for three months. Seniors should make the time to do this for a longer and better quality of life and to maintain their ability to live independently.

Costa Rica Hot Springs: Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort

Situated 13 kilometres west of the town La Fortuna, Tabacon hot springs has flourished into one of Costa Rica’s premier attractions. Here natural hot springs feed off the geothermal energy of their fiery neighbour, Arenal Volcano, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. To lovers of pure pampering indulgence, this means guests are exposing themselves to a somewhat moderate risk on a daily basis as they lap it up in the resort’s sensual surrounds.

Curiously enough, Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort is located right where Arenal erupted in 1975, an event which killed a most unfortunate local. While not a common occurrence, guests are occasionally evacuated when the conical fire breather emits poisonous gas, or becomes a little too spirited. However it appears this is a fair price to pay for what lies inside, as guests are treated to geothermal cascades, rainforest landscapes, volcanic mud-wraps and even a resident shaman. Surely such indulgence is worth it.

Getting the Best Views – When to Travel to Costa Rica

Fortunately there have been no mishaps since, and Arenal’s active lifestyle means there’s plenty to see, even while floating with a drink near the resort’s poolside bar. This all depends on the time of the year, as cloud forest often surrounds Arenal’s peak from December through to February. September, October and November offer the finest views, when rainstorms are likely to disperse any unwanted cloud cover.

Travel during these times is recommended, circumstances permitting, as flights to Costa Rica are not only cheaper, but the volcanic display of fiery mayhem can get quite entertaining. There’s something infinitely satisfying about viewing wild energy firsthand as it bathes you in Earthly pleasures. Views of the volcano are available from all thermal pools within the resort. However favourable weather also draws visitor numbers, so it’s best to book in advance.

The Hot Springs Resort

The resort entrance is a gaudy showcase to the influx of dollars supplied by the resort’s many hedonistic visitors. A well stocked gift shop flanks the entrance booth, while inside, heated cascades are surrounded by carefully placed stones, and caves that have an air of natural, yet resort-laden aesthetics. Although one of the pricier places to stay in Costa Rica, Tabacon manages to supply the goods while providing cheaper services than many developed countries.

Inside, there’s a master spa that holds free sweat lodge ceremonies for guests staying in the resort. However it’s the outdoor hot mineral springs located within the grounds that the visitors really flock to. Altogether, there are five natural springs, ranging in temperature from 25 to 50 degrees Celsius. Tabacon claims these are part of a unique geothermal heating system, which contains the perfect combination of temperature, volume and mineral content.

The Tabacon River, which is fed by rainwater, flows through magma in the nearby volcano before rising to bathe the guests in its minerals. Three of the springs, all which are 97% rain-based and 3% magma-based, surface and flow naturally on the property, reaching a temperature of 50 degrees Celsius. There is also a cold spring, which feeds the rainforest before trickling amongst the resort surroundings.

The Benefits of Hot Mineral Springs

Flowing from the Earth’s core energy, hot springs symbolise Earthly power and life giving properties. Bathing oneself in mineral springs is not only beneficial to the skin, but can invigorate life energy, while the hot spring water helps relax the muscles, dilate the skin, and improve oxygen flow throughout the body. Hydrothermal flora and fauna surrounding the pools also contain beneficial microbes that help prevent ageing.

Besides offering an invigorating pamper amidst lush settings and geological fireworks, Tabacon provides one of the more versatile vacations in Costa Rica. With intimate spas and gardens surrounded by rainforest, the place caters for romantic getaways, weddings and the family holiday. It’s a unique blend of Earthly contact and consumer indulgence, a sensual paradise, all compliments of Earth’s sizzling hot rock action.