Many travelers plan so much for the departure – the plane ticket booking, assembling of items they need for their trip, and the pack up. We usually think that the destination is a piece of cake, as long as we have our maps with us, a GPS application in our phones, and maybe a tour guide.
Today, many travel destinations happen to be huge cities, such as Paris, London, New York, and Amsterdam. They have many streets, numerous buildings, and seas of people to navigate through. It can be tough finding your way around. Without a better plan, you could get lost and easily fall victim to crime. There are many travel hacks to ensure your safety and security. These are the things you should do and the things you should not do while visiting a big city:
Carry communication and navigation essentials
Regardless to if you are with your friends or not, you need to be self-reliant in case of an emergency or last-minute split. You will, therefore, have to carry with you a smartphone, a phone charger, and a power bank at all times. Phones are very useful and allow you to call your relatives or friends to notify them of your whereabouts and/or your change of plans. You can also reach basic services, such as the metro police, if you find yourself in danger.
Many phones allow you to download and use digital maps. Make use of such applications and data to map out your travel. An extra physical map would also come in handy just in case your phone is low on battery life or completely dead. Make sure that you carry one, just small enough to fold and fit in your pocket. Do not carry unnecessary items that could slow you down or steal your energy and attention.
Plan your route and learn the city beforehand
Do not surprise-travel. It is always tempting to expose yourself to surprises by skipping the planning, especially when traveling is concerned. The problem is that surprise-traveling leads to a lot of wasted time and resources. In a big city, for instance, you could spend more time in one location if you are not aware of how many more interesting sites there are for you to visit elsewhere. To avoid this, research and learn the important aspects of the city before you travel. Doing this will also inform you of unsafe spots so that you can avoid them. It will make you seem familiar with your surroundings and help you blend in. Note that looking like a curious tourist might make you a target of crime.
List your most preferred destinations and plan your route and itinerary well. Match your site visits with specific days. For example, when visiting Paris, you could say:
Monday: Eiffel Tower
Tuesday: Notre Dame,
Wednesday: The Louvre Museum, and so on.
This helps to exhaust all the great views and bearings of these sites. It makes your travel experience more well-rounded and balanced.
Use flexible and reliable transport services
The most flexible and reliable transportation services for navigating a huge city are usually minicabs or taxis. A cheaper, but equally fast alternative is the subway.
Taxis are useful for a change of traveling plans or when you get lost. You simply get in one of them and request a destination familiar to you. Do not get into illegitimate taxis. Check to see that your taxi is painted with the designated color. Most taxis are normally painted in yellow with a bold “TAXI” written on the top for clear identification. Avoid any suspicious taxis or taxi drivers. There have been instances where crooks imposing themselves as taxi drivers to steal your valuables or hold you at ransom.
These transport services require you to download an application and call for pick-ups from any location in the city. In a huge city, you could find up to three efficient minicab services. Select the one that has the lowest rates and the best customer reviews to save on cash and have assurance on trust and service delivery. Some minicab companies allow for online payments. Rely on these kind of companies if carrying cash around is confusing, tiresome, or just something you prefer not to do.
City subways are some of the fastest and cheapest means of getting around any big city. Try to master the subway system of the city you are in, especially if your visit will last longer than a week. Most of them have Wi-Fi access and art-filled stations. This form of transport would also expose you to the city dwellers and their lifestyles. It would give you a very real experience while providing you with a low-cost and efficient way.
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.