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5 Beautiful Places You Don’t Want To Miss When Visiting Kerala

5 Beautiful Places You Don’t Want To Miss When Visiting Kerala

Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide make the decision to visit Kerala each year, and the number continues to rise. Known as one of the most popular travel destinations by National Geographic, this paradise is without a doubt breathtaking and gives anyone a feeling of renewal and refreshment. Overlooking the Arabian Sea to the west and situated along the biodiverse Western Ghats mountain range in the east, Kerala is a rich and unique gem located in on the Indian coast. Traveling to this exotic and quintessentially advanced society must include visiting the following five hot spots:

1. Munnar

Mountain slopes are abound in this quaint, yet bustling hill station known as Munnar. This prevalent tourist destination is home to an organic farming culture surrounded by mountain slopes and dewy valleys. It boasts over 80,000 miles of lush green tea farmland, as the climate and topography provide the perfect climate for growth.

Visiting Munnar will give you a sense of relaxation as you feast your eyes on the tea gardens, waterfalls, emerald-green pastures, and eye-gazing mountains. The beauty of this town is accentuated with a colonial atmosphere complete with bungalows, streets lined with local shops, winding roads with breathtaking views, tea factories, and its own unique small-town culture.

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Tourist destinations for the adventure enthusiast, such as Eravikuam National Park, offer hiking trails, nature walks, and flora and fauna that will take your breath away. No wonder Munnar is the most popular resort town in southern India!

2. Kochi and Ernakulam

Kochi is the perfect place to begin your touring experience of Kerala, as this district is located at the beginning of many popular places to see. Also known as Cochin, this port destination is connected to the mainland district Ernakulam. For fast-paced tourists who love modern amenities, this is a mecca of individuals of many cultures and is commonly referred to as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. Commercialism abounds in Ernakulum, which is sometimes simply called Kochi, or Cochin.

Visiting this metropolis will most definitely be a modern-day experience with the hubs of technology, plenty of shopping, and a wide array of industry. Do to the busy atmosphere, Ernakulam is the place where business thrives and English is a popular language, especially within the business zones. It is a large city with plenty of resort hotels and a vast amount of restaurants, entertainment, and nightlife adventures. To get away from the hustle and bustle, visiting the quiet and scenic temples, churches, and white, sandy beaches in Kochi can give you an amazing amount of variety in this popular metropolitan city.

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3. Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala’s capital city of Thiruvananthapuram is the ideal combination of a peaceful atmosphere and full-on urban life. It is definitely one of the places you must visit when in India. Known as the City of Lord Anantha, this destination is rich in history with honorable temples and an extensive art culture. Many art lovers flock to Thiruvananthapuram to admire the museums, murals, and historical stone carvings.

Thiruvananthapuram is the largest city of Kerala, and even though it is so large, it is remarkable how all of the different types of individuals live amongst each other and work together. There are many different religions and cultures that are intertwined and, in fact, complement one another. A highly sophisticated amount of technology and modern-life are a key component of Thiruvananthapuram, with many businessmen and businesswomen making their mark in the world commerce market.

Being a large city does not keep the individuals seeking solitude at bay, as it also has many places to enjoy in terms of tourism, such as sightseeing heavenly museums like Kuthiramalika Palace and Napier Museums and temples, namely Thenmala Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Thiruvananthapuram also offers­­­­ cozy cottages and resort hotels with a plethora of lush amenities, as well as beachfront life on the coast.

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4. Allepuzha

Allepuzha, also known as Alleppey, is perfect for the backwater adventurist. Many tourists enjoy sightseeing serene landscape, waterfront attractions, and plenty of water life upon houseboats along the lagoons and canals. This Venice of the East is known for its gorgeous and peaceful chapels, mouthwatering cuisine, palaces and temples, such as the Arthunkal Church, Chettikulangara Bhagawathy Temple, and Krishnapuram Palace.

Vacationers enjoy this serene environment that envelops them as they find plenty of opportunities for meditation, rest, and simply getting away from their normal lifestyles. Touring the countryside on the old-world style houseboats is what many of the tourists long to do and do not hesitate to come back for, as the memories made in Allepey are one of a kind.

Allepey is well-known for the Nehru Trophy Boat Race on the famous Punnamada Lake, which occurs each year in August and is a highly sought-out boat race in the country of India. In December, for ten days, the Mullackal Chiraq, in celebration of the Mullackal Temple, draws visitors from afar to celebrate this season of festivity.

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5. Thekkady

Thekkady is one of the most amazing destinations in Kerala for water lovers. In addition to the boat rides on the enormous Thekkady Lake, this wildlife sanctuary will give you sights of animals like you have never seen before. The wildlife refuge boasts sambars, elephants, gaurs, lion-tailed macaques, and, of course, the Great Indian Tiger! This region welcomes a large amount of animal-loving tourists every year and the tourism department of Thekkady is top-notch in providing the best experiences for everyone.

With authentic cuisine, plenty of time for relaxing, and adventures for the outdoor enthusiasts, this popular spot is second to none. The forestry adorned with life is simply stunning and the cool climate makes it a comfortable place to be. Jeep safaris are quite popular, as nature is up-close and jaw-dropping with the animals of the wild nearby, as well as Jungle Patrols and hiking. Many people enjoy experiencing the lavish spice plantations, as they allow visitors to experience an aroma they will never forget. From waterfalls to elephant rides, travelers without hesitation make a repeat visit to this paradise.

When planning your next India getaway, considering the state of Kerala for your time away from your busy life. There are many places in this southern India state that will make every moment of your stay absolutely worth it. It will be a decision you won’t regret.

Featured photo credit: Silver Blue via flickr.com

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Beth Hedrick

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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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