We all lead busy lives. Many of us skip breakfast in favor of getting some extra sleep or getting to the office a few minutes early. By doing so, you actually sabotage your body in a variety of ways. Skipping breakfast can lead to a variety of problems involving your weight and health, as well as your ability to focus throughout the day. Foregoing a healthy meal at the beginning of your day also negatively affects your overall mood, which can lead to undue stress and under-performance at your job and in other aspects of life.
Knowing the following, it will be hard to deny that breakfast is an essential meal that should never be skipped. Here are some benefits you’ll receive from a good breakfast.
1. You will boost metabolism
When you’re awake, you probably rarely go 8 hours without eating. Of course, when you’re asleep, you go that entire time without eating anything at all (except spiders, according to that urban legend). During this time, your body’s metabolism slows down, only to kick back up when you awaken in the morning. You want to take advantage of this moment by eating a healthy breakfast that your body will be able to process naturally. Doing so will regulate your metabolism, and keep your body mass index steady.
2. You will stabilize your weight
Of course, with a steady BMI, your weight will also stay relatively balanced. Eating a healthy breakfast is actually a strategy to help you lose weight, as well. Because you won’t be absolutely starving come lunch time, you’ll be less likely to overeat and indulge in extra sweets and junk food. Foregoing a set breakfast will also cause you to crave snacks throughout the day. If sugary donuts are the only food available, you’ll be tempted to indulge in a less-than-healthy treat more often.
3. You will maintain a healthy diet
There are definitely some breakfast foods that aren’t exactly healthy, so if you decide to start eating breakfast on a daily basis, make sure you’re still making nutritious choices. When I think of a healthy breakfast, I think of cereal (with milk, of course), eggs, and fruit. All of these foods have a variety of healthy vitamins and minerals within them that will help keep you energized throughout the day. One word of advice: if you choose to eat a quick bowl of cereal for breakfast, skip the Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms. You might as well eat an entire box of donuts instead.
4. You will be more alert, with improved concentration
When we were kids, our teachers always advised us to eat a healthy breakfast the day of a big test. They knew it would help us stay focused throughout the time we’d be sitting at our desks. Food is what energizes the body, so it makes sense that our brains will be more alert and functioning if we’re fueled up. As mentioned before, you probably go the longest without eating during the time you’re asleep. When you wake up, you’ll need to eat to stabilize your blood sugar. Neglecting to do so will result in lethargy and drowsiness. The vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids found in healthy breakfast foods have also been shown to improve brain functioning. Don’t skip out on a morning meal if you want to get a head start on all the work you have to do throughout your day.
5. You will increase your mood
We’ve all heard the Snickers slogan: “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” It’s true. All of the other health benefits of eating breakfast on a daily basis add up to an increase in a person’s overall well-being. Maintaining a preferred weight will certainly make it easier to go about your day. Since you’re not starving by 10:00 AM, you’ll be able to get work done quickly and efficiently. And, like those Snickers commercials insinuate, people in general are much less irritable when they have a belly full of healthy food. It might be tough at first, but start waking up ten minutes earlier, and start your day off right. Your body, and your colleagues, will appreciate it.
Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.
Why is it important to train up our core strength?
There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.
This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.
Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.
In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.
One Exercise, multiple benefits
There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.
By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.
When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.
Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.
In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.
What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.
What will happen when you start doing planks every day
1. You’ll improve core definition and performance:
Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, the external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:
Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.
2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column
Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.
Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.
3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism
Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).
4. You’ll significantly improve your posture
Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .
A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.
A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.
On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.
5. You’ll improve overall balance
Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!- but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.
6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before
Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shoulders, shoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.
7. You’ll witness mental benefits
Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.
How to hold a plank position
Get into pushup position on the floor.
Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
Hold the position for as long as you can.
Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.
Watch the video if you have any doubt!
Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:
How to improve your plank time gradually
Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.
Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.
Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?
You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:
After prolapse surgery
Pelvic pain conditions
Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.