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15 Reasons Traveling Is the Wise Man’s Addiction

15 Reasons Traveling Is the Wise Man’s Addiction

When I mention travel, what do you think of? Do you think of glorious architecture balancing over the canals of Venice while Gondolas glide over the water? Do you think of the magnificent rainstorms of Vietnam? The markets of Istanbul? The art of Italy? Let’s face it, We have lives that tend toward the mundane. The doldrums wait around every corner when you have lingered too long in your routine. We need the promise of tropical sunsets and impossibly lovely meals in a piazza surrounded by fountains carved centuries ago by artists long gone to pull us into the future. Yes, travel is addictive but as addictions go, you could do a lot worse. If you indulge this addiction, you come out healthier and happier, especially if you indulge it a lot. Oh, you want specifics?

1. You have something great to look forward to

The long rainy days of Winter are much sweeter when you are thinking about your upcoming trip to the tropics with you looking amazing in your new bathing suit (Isn’t it funny that your imaginative future self is always slim with hair and nails just done?)

2. You learn to think on your feet

Airports can be very stressful. They wind around and sometimes you have to go up several floors, take a tram somewhere and find your gate, all in an hour long layover. Everyone in the airport looks relaxed like they know where they are going and you are the only one completely lost. Finding your way is a challenge but everyone seems to make it through. Things happen to you when you travel. It can be unpredictable. That is what makes it so exciting.

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3. You have to confront talking to people you don’t know

You would be amazed at how many people are deathly afraid of talking to people. This is a hidden anxiety, especially in the US. People are not always so bad and as you travel and meet more people, you start to see that most people are like you.

4. You learn to try new things

I once traveled to Belgium with my family when I was 17 years old. I spoke no French whatsoever because I was doodling in French class when I should have been paying attention. For the first week I ate only Demi-poulet e frites (Half a chicken and fries) until I got brave and tried something else. I never ended up with anything weird and most of the time it worked out. There are so many new things to eat in another culture. It is really fun to sample everything.

5. You learn to accept another culture

Several years ago, my husband and I purchased a home in a Southern Italian hill town. It is the most wonderful place I can think of. At one point I asked my friend who owns that little store in the piazza what it was like growing up there. She pointed to the balcony across the piazza from us. “That is my cousin” she said and pointed at several other apartments next to it and told me that her aunts, uncles and other cousins all lived there. As if on cue, they appeared on their balconies yelling greetings. “It is a family” she said and then she took me on a passeggiatta (a walk) through the town where we shook peoples’ hands, kissed babies and caught up with all the recent news. Not many of us do that here. It was a totally different culture and I loved it.

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6. You make friends easily

While traveling I have made friends for a plane ride and friends that I will keep forever. A few years ago I ended up on the intercity train from Cremona to Scalea; Italy from tip to toe. Half of the journey I shared a cabin with a group of people from Napoli. They spent the journey sharing their meals and asking me all kinds of questions about America. They really wanted to know. It was lovely. We did not exchange addresses but I left with a vague promise to look for them when I came to Napoli. Still, they are friends and they are somewhere in that big city. This makes Napoli seem friendly even though I have only been through there briefly.

7. You get out of your routine

Routine is a joy killer in life. Mix it up! Go somewhere ridiculous (but not dangerous) Go see the Taj Mahal! Go see the Eiffel Tower! GO SEE! Get a different view.

8. You can see your life from a distance

Whenever I travel, I notice that I stay sort of psyched up for about three days then I relax and really start looking at things. The rush of daily life fades and you can take a good look at your life from outside it. Viewing something from outside it is way more powerful than viewing something while you are stuck in it. You would be amazed at the solutions you can come up with for problems that seemed unsolvable before.

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9. You see, feel and live history

Life for most here in the Good Ol’ US of A only goes back about 200 years (unless you’re a native American). We are babies in terms of world history. The pyramids have us beat by a country mile. The renaissance happened 200 years before America was a gleam in our forefathers’ eyes. Standing and looking at the Greek temples at Paestum is awe inspiring. When you look at these ruins, you can easily build up the walls in your imagination and see the markets, the city center and the tall torches used to light the streets. You can live in history.

10. You see the works of masters

From churches built over centuries to bodies of work done by artists all in one lifetime, these were masters. They built buildings and created art with such care for details that they are revered as treasures today. The work of masters like Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Rafael have to be seen in person to be fully experienced. Stand in front of the Doni Tondo by Michelangelo in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence surrounded by other works of art and you will see what the human spirit, discipline and passion can do. You can’t get that from a book or a television screen. you have to go there.

11. You learn new languages

Even if you travel within the US, there are slang words and phrases that are different and colorful. If you are really confident you can head off to Japan or another country in the Far East. My husband has traveled extensively in Japan and other Asian countries and it can be tough to find a bathroom if you don’t learn the language! See points 3 and 6.

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12. The food!

Chefs are the same in all parts of the planet. They spend their lives designing dishes to make people happy. Whether you are at Al Caminetto in Tortola, Italy or the new BBQ place around the corner, these people go out of their way to please you. You get to try something new three times a day. Don’t waste any opportunity.

13. The pastries!

What is it about Europe that they are all completely insane about pastries? Every pastry I have had over there has been so mouth watering, so flaky, so perfectly balanced, that I almost fall into a weepy heaps after putting one in my mouth. They are CRAZY!

14. The coffee

Everywhere you go people LOVE coffee. The cafes in Italy and all over Europe are known for their seriousness about coffee. There is no watered down Folger’s over there. Every time I go to Europe, I save half my suitcase for coffee. One would think I was a drug mule with all the coffee I bring back. I love it.

15. The wine

I love red wine. I don’t over indulge, but there is nothing like sitting on the balcony over the Bella Vista restaurant in Santa Domenica Talao, watching the sun set over the Mediterranean, the ancient village in the back ground turning gold in the falling light and sipping someone’s home made red wine and smelling your meal as it cooks. It is just the best thing there is. Have I hooked you yet?

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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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