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10 Road Trip Essentials

10 Road Trip Essentials

Every summer since I can remember, I’ve taken at least one road trip. This is especially significant because now, living in New York City, I don’t own a car. But that wasn’t always the case. When I lived in Phoenix, I thought nothing of driving to Las Vegas for the weekend or to Los Angeles to visit friends.

Through experience and learning the hard way, through accidents and car trouble, I have come up with a list of 10 absolute essentials you should keep with you at all times when on a road trip: especially if you’re driving long distances where there are no pit stops, no gas stations, and no one around. These could very well save your life!

1. AAA Membership

A “Triple A” membership costs merely $52 per year while providing a host of benefits if you get into trouble on the road. Flat tire? They’ll show up to help. Dead battery? Call AAA. Ran out of gas? They will bring you more. Membership includes up to 4 service calls per year. The membership more than pays for itself if you have one single mishap.

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Road Trip In A Shelby? Yes, Please!

    2. Quality Car Phone Charger

    A good, reliable charger that can juice up your phone through the cigarette lighter or USB port in your vehicle is crucial. If you do get stuck on the road with no facilities nearby and you do need to call for help, you won’t be able to with a dead phone.

    3. Gallon Jug of Drinking Water

    If you get stranded and can’t get help right away, you’ll still need to stay hydrated. You can go weeks without food, but not water. This is especially important when you’re driving along the hot, desert roads in California and the Southwest in the summers.

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    4. Bottle of Engine Coolant

    Cars overheat. Coolant goes bad. Keep a bottle of engine coolant, also referred to as antifreeze, in your vehicle at all times in the event that your engine’s temperature gets dangerously high. You’ll be able to keep the problem at bay until you can get to an auto repair shop. Just keep in mind: wait until the engine cools down before adding fluid to avoid burns and cracking your engine block.

    5. Driver’s License / Registration / Car Insurance

    If you don’t have a driver’s license, you can’t drive. If you don’t have car insurance, you can’t drive. If you don’t have your car registered…you guessed it…you can’t drive! Keep these pieces of information with you and your vehicle at all times in the event that you get pulled over by the highway patrol. You can get an extra whammy of a fine if you fail to provide these credentials.

    6. At Least 2 Credit Cards / Several Days’ Supply of Cash

    It never fails: you’re in a bind and need gas, food, or shelter but the magnetic strip on your card wore off. Or the bank freezes it, suspecting fraud. What do you do? Have a back-up card. And cash. Always, always, always carry cash. Enough to get you through a few days’ expenses until a new card can arrive.

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    7. First-Aid Kit

    Whenever you’re traveling, particularly if you’re solo, you should protect yourself and be prepared. Bringing a kit that includes Band-Aids, gauze, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, tweezers, surgical scissors, latex gloves, aspirin, Benadryl, and any other medicines you might need in an emergency is strongly advised. If you get into an accident with minor injuries and help is far away, you can do some damage control while you wait.

    8. Roll of Toilet Paper

    Because toilets aren’t always where you need them to be. And public restrooms on the road aren’t always stocked like they should be.

    9. Rand McNally Road Atlas

    Phone died? Car charger died? No signal for Google Maps? GPS acting up? Keep a solid, turn-the-page, good ol’ fashioned Road Atlas in your car at all times. It won’t take up much space, and you can always rely on it working. Just pull over before you try to read the tiny print.

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    Road trippin' all over the USA

      10. Freestanding Large Flashlight and Fresh Batteries

      If you’ve ever needed to change a tire in the dark, you’ll know why a freestanding flashlight is an absolute must. Other car trouble? Simply having a flashlight to, well, shed light on the complicated parts of your engine to determine the issue would be better than using an app on your phone: you don’t want to add “dropped cell phone into the hot engine” to your list of problems, do you?

      Pack these essentials and you’re sure to have a safe, successful blast of a trip. Enjoy the ride!

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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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