“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Go, go, go. Whatever you’re doing, you’re probably already behind. There’s so much to do in life, so much to accomplish. We have to climb the corporate ladder, make our relationships work, build families, see friends, fulfill obligations, and still function as a human being.
With modern demands, life is exhausting. It seems like when one area of your life gets squared away, the other shoe drops on the see-saw, and we’re thrown back out of balance.Advertising
So how do you take Bueller’s infamous advice and slow down enough to smell the proverbial roses? Try these 10 techniques.
1. Take responsibility.
Despite our laundry list of have-to’s, there’s actually nothing we have to do, only things we choose to do. So take responsibility and recognize that you’re choosing to job to work, see your friends or finish this project. Maybe the consequences of skipping out are less appealing than just getting it done, but recognize that the speed of your life is your choice.
2. Power down and unplug.
Anyone who’s ever responded to e-mails while watching a movie or checked Facebook while in bed with a significant other knows that technology is the fastest way to pull yourself out of the present moment. Set aside a mandatory power-down time. Maybe it’s after 8pm or for a few hours on Sunday. Whatever you choose, take some time to remember what it’s like to be in the moment without technology pulling you back to fast-paced cyber addiction.Advertising
3. Refuel your energy.
When you’re on the go all the time, you’re bound to get burnt out. So take some time to refuel your tank with some restorative exercise. Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong are all wonderful, gentle ways to recharge those batteries. But even a 20-minute jog or bike ride will boost your energy just enough to get you through the day. Find an exercise that takes you out of the fast lane and brings you back in balance.
4. Spend some time alone.
Amidst the constant chatter of distractions and stress, you can hardly hear yourself think. Schedule in a few hours a day to be alone. Maybe some meditation or journal writing. Maybe a night in with take-out and cheesy movies. Whatever your luxury, choose something that will help you reconnect with yourself and reset your priorities.
5. Get more selective.
Let’s face it: we’re overcommitters. All of us. Instead of saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way, take a moment to imagine yourself coming home for a long, tiring day of work. If this is still something you want to do, then sign up. But, if not, learn how to say no. Part of the reason our lives move so fast is that we try to pack a week’s worth of activities into a single day. Saying “no” is the fastest way to slow it back down.Advertising
6. Catch some Z’s.
People who slow down tend to be more productive and accomplished–because they’re able to be fully present when they take on a task. Give yourself the eight hours of sleep you need a night to make sure your in prime productivity mode during your waking hours. If you spend a few extra hours in bed, time will seem to double during waking hours because you can get so much more done.
7. Be grateful.
Start a gratitude journal and write down everything you’re grateful for. It will force you to immediately slow down, reflect and shift from focusing on what’s wrong to focusing on what’s right. Finding balance isn’t about changing the chaos; it’s about finding balance in the chaos.
8. Catch your breath.
Breathing deeply activates the parasympathetic nervous system and switches you from the fight-or-flight panic into the rest-and-digest relaxation. Any time you want to slow down, take a few slow, deep breaths. It will calm your body down and bring you back to the present moment.Advertising
9. Make time for fun.
If you want to slow down, stop trying so hard to move forward. Life isn’t meant to be a road race. Try doing things that don’t necessary move you forward, but make you have a little more fun. Play hooky and go to the movies, play a round of golf, laugh with old friends, watch silly movies. Remind yourself that it’s not about who finishes first; it’s about how much fun you had along the way.
10. Be in the moment.
Be 100% present. Listen intently when anyone is speaking. Forget about the obligations you have in 20 minutes or all of the tasks on your to-do list. Just focus yourself completely in the present moment. Life isn’t about finding balance throughout; it’s about slowing down enough to find balance in individual moments. So take life one moment at a time. 100% present.
Featured photo credit: Wichid via flickr.com
Last Updated on August 15, 2018
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.
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:
- 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
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
- Previous childbirth
Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.