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5 Myths about Creating a Healthy Lifestyle

5 Myths about Creating a Healthy Lifestyle

As the New Year rolls along, you can bet that almost every resolution you hear includes the iron clad “get healthy” resolution at the top of the list. Your gym, which is normally far below maximum capacity is now bursting at the seams with people and it’s miserable for the first two weeks of the year, but if you have a bit a patience it will return to normal by week three. Why? Because believing the following workout myths will keep the results at bay and people quickly lose motivation.

We’ve all been there, starting the year off with good intentions to hit the gym 3-4 days per week, eat healthy and be a healthier version of you. Right?! So why does it fizzle so quickly? Do we really understand how to achieve better overall health and more importantly, maintain it? Achieving an overall healthy lifestyle is easier than you think if you ignore these common myths:

Myth #1: I don’t have time to workout

I hear this myth all the time. “I don’t have time to work out.” Truth be told, you can start on a path toward better health by simply adding 30 minutes of activity to your day.

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The activity doesn’t have to be in the gym, you can pick something that fits comfortably into your current lifestyle. A few healthy options include walking your dog, taking your shorter breaks at work to walk laps around the building outside, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from the store. You will see your efforts will make you feel better and you will want to increase your time naturally.

Myth #2: I’d have to spend hours at the gym to see results

Okay, I get it. Walking isn’t your thing but you have a gym membership you’ve been paying on for six years yet have never stepped foot in the gym. Why? Because ain’t nobody got time to spend hours in the gym. I hear you and I’ve got good news and bad news; the bad news is that you can’t get that money back but the good news is, you CAN start utilizing the gym and I challenge you to start with only 45 minutes.

Start with a 20 minute cardio warmup like a brisk walk on the treadmill or elliptical then move on to free weights for the remaining 25 minutes. Voila! You just kick-started your healthy gym habit and a got a workout in less than an hour.

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Myth #3: I can achieve results by doing only cardio or strength training

You’ve got your favorite type of workout, I get it because I do too. But, only focusing on cardio or strength and not creating a workout that incorporates both will leave you frustrated. You can drop weight with cardio but you will hit a plateau and if you aren’t toning at the same time you will find yourself with flabby skin. Toning with no cardio will only get you so far, so do yourself a favor and add in a healthy mix of both for maximum results.

Myth #4: I work out regularly so I can eat whatever I want

I believe this is the biggest myth of all. Many people believe they can eat whatever as long as they are pounding it out at the gym and it’s simply not true. Diet accounts for about 80% which is a HUGE part of whether you will be successful in achieving overall health.

Research has proven that you can lose and maintain a healthy weight by modifying how you eat. Notice I didn’t say how much you eat, rather how you eat. It’s not about dieting, depriving yourself or eating less. It’s about eating more of the foods that are good for you: healthy carbs, protein, leafy vegetables and fruits.

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Making simple substitutions at meal time will sustain a long term healthy lifestyle change. If you feel you are eating healthy but the weight isn’t budging, try keeping a food journal – you may be surprised to find that you could make small modifications to get on the right track.

Myth #5: It’s too expensive to be healthy

Let’s think about this – gyms cost money, eating healthy foods that you purchase from a store and prepare costs more than pulling in a drive-thru so the two combined equals more expensive, right? Wrong. With the increase of pop up gyms that cater to those who want a low cost solution, you can get a gym membership with no monthly contract for $10 a month or better yet get out and walk for free or purchase DVD’s to work out at home.

Food prices continue to rise and although healthy options can be higher than buying pre-packaged food, you can save in this area as well. Plan your meals around the weekly sales, stock up on fruits and veggies from your local farmer’s market and buy your meat in bulk. Let’s face it, the cost of being unhealthy far outweighs that of being healthy when you add up ailments, doctor co-pays and prescription costs.

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Creating a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. With the minor tweaks that I mention and a dedication to dispelling these myths you will be on your path to overall better health in no time.

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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Jasmine Bryant

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

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.

Video Summary

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.

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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 abdominusthe 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:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • 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

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      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.

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          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 – shouldersshoulder 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

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                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

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. 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

                  1. 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.
                  2. 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.
                  3. 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:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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