Like so many people, work and running around will keep me busy on these upcoming warm days of summer, though I’ll still get in some beach time! If you’re fanning away the heat waves and dreaming of coolness, I’ve got you covered. Here are the best recipes to help beat the heat with these cool summer soups that are light, tasty and easy to prepare.
Watermelon and cucumbers provide a juicy, sweet and slightly spicy flavor to this marvelous version of gazpacho. I often add some cilantro or dill to give it a different taste. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint when serving and you’ll be in for a delight!
The peppery flavor of radish and Worcestershire sauce will give you a sharp taste in this gazpacho. Toss the ingredients into a blender or food processor and you will have a hearty meal that can be put together quickly in case unexpected guests drop in. Another great value in this recipe is that you can make enough to freeze a batch for later. When you’re ready, just thaw and enjoy!
This soup makes me want to dance and shout “Opa!” with this cool combo of cucumbers and yogurt. A bit of garlic and chili powder will add some pizazz to the flavors, which you can adjust to your own taste. Pair up with pita bread and you have a wonderful Mediterranean-inspired dish.
I love this cucumber and yogurt variation, especially as the addition of avocado to this recipe gives it a silky touch. You can substitute buttermilk or sour cream for the yogurt to vary the taste and then add a spoonful or two of honey to sweeten. The flavors play well off each other to give this soup its distinctive taste.
The ‘sparkling’ in this recipe is wine or champagne, though you can also use white grape juice or apple cider for an excellent non-alcoholic version. The way to give this refreshing soup a tropical twist is to add a few teaspoons of toasted coconut and macadamia nuts as garnishes. You can also vary the taste by blending in pear or mango for half of the pineapple. Either makes a wonderful complement!
I love it when a combination of flavors and healthy ingredients come together so perfectly in a dish as appealing as this summer soup. The blender is my friend in quickly making this recipe and adding a bit of cardamom will definitely give you a spicy uplift without the heat.
Melons really make summer bearable and they certainly bring excitement to this soup! The great thing about this recipe is that you can use a variety of melons to make it different each time you prepare it. Add a few tablespoons of grappa for a subtle hint of wine and top with your favorite berries and a sprig of mint to bring out the smiles and fresh coolness.
I like to add a little ‘mambo’ to my summer days by mixing up this 10-minute recipe. The cream blends well (no pun intended) with the mildness of cantaloupe and you can always use yogurt (flavored or plain) or light cream to tone down the calories without losing the great taste. Add about 1/2 cup of pineapple to the mix for variety. If you want to give it an extra sharpness, use a small amount of fresh ginger when blending. Add a sprig of mint or some cilantro leaves on top for garnish and serve over ice in a pilsner or champagne glass to bring some sparkling ‘class’ to your table by the poolside.
I never thought of squash as a summer refresher, but this soup will give your taste buds an idea of the terrific possibilities. It is not only delicious in taste but adding some cashews (soak to soften before blending with the other ingredients) will give you a bowlful of antioxidants and vitamin A to make a very healthy and cool addition to your summer fare. You can make this a day in advance for those spur-of-the-moment get togethers or picnics.
Rounding off our ‘beat the heat’ summer soups list, feast your eyes and appetite on this delectable and fruity soup. A very simple recipe, you can spice it up by adding just a bit of allspice and cinnamon with a couple squeezes of lemon juice (substituting for the orange juice). The lemon will give it slightly more tartness. To balance out the sharpness of the fruits, I may add a cup of yogurt (vanilla or Greek-style would work the best) for a really smooth soup.
Surprising coolness, right? All of these delectable choices will bring refreshment to quench the heat and are sure to be a hit all summer. Simple to prepare with so many possible variations, you and your friends can finish off a warm evening or weekend with these summer soups and keep your cool for the week ahead. Let’s get started!
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.