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How to Activate Your Mind, Body, and Spirit Energy

How to Activate Your Mind, Body, and Spirit Energy

I am completely loving the autumn colours!  Mornings are cool and crisp and smell so good and the colours are brilliant in the full sunshine.  For me autumn more than any other time of the year, feels to me that it is your last chance to soak up the sun and it get ready for the grayer winter months.   It is like you are charging your battery for the winter.  Any chance your get it is a great time to re-energize, re-charge outside in nature, then that is totally want you want to be doing.

There are numerous advantages to going outside every day!

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Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors

  • The sun’s light is a powerful source of energy for the human body. Because it provides you with the essential nutrient Vitamin D, sunlight can benefit the strength of your bones, your moods and your overall health. You should also check in with your doctor with regards to adding a Vitamin D supplement for the winter months when you don’t get out in the sun as much.
  • Spending time outdoors can help relieve stress and tension. Breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the sunshine or the clouds, and take a short walk before going back inside. You’ll notice a difference in your mood.  If the weather allows, it is very calming to sit outside and meditate for 15 -20 minutes.  It is a beautiful feeling.
  • Fresh air and sunshine can help you regain focus. Spending a brief period of time outside in-between work tasks can benefit you greatly. Take a quick walk around the block or spend 20 minutes working in your garden, touching and connecting with the earth.
  • Going outside can also benefit your physical fitness. Whether you’re raking leaves, gardening, playing with a child, or pet or simply taking a walk, you’re sure to burn extra calories. Spending an hour or more outside every day can translate into significant calorie use throughout the week.

There are plenty of ways that you can get outdoors more.

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Just do it!

  1. Go beachcombing. If you live near the ocean, a lake, or a river, you can find plenty of interesting items as you walk along the edge of the water. Collect shells, pebbles and other trinkets from nature while enjoying some leisure time by yourself, with a loved one, or with your entire family.
  2. Take a walk. Whether you’re walking to get somewhere or simply for pleasure, the combination of fresh air, sunshine, and cardiovascular benefits make taking a walk outdoors a smart move, especially if you work it into your daily routine.
  3. Get in touch with nature. Whether you go bird watching, flower picking, whale watching, fishing, or simply go out to take photographs, nature can be a beautiful place to be. Immersing yourself in this beauty is one of the greatest benefits of spending time outside.
  4. Play. If you have children or a pet that would enjoy playing outside, then use them as an excuse to get more play into your schedule. Try a sport, an outdoor game, going to a dog park for a game of fetch, or anything else that might get you active and outdoors during the day.  Football and soccer are fun sports that you can involve the whole family in.
  5. Meditate in the garden. Take 15-20 minutes to sit in the garden.  If you are lucky enough to have a place to sit and just drift into your own little world that is best.  Try to find a time of the day when it is quiet for you.  Recently I spent time in the evening, meditating in my hot tub under a brilliant full moon, it was amazing.
  6. Ride your bike. Ride to the store or work each day. Not only will this get you outside to soak up some Vitamin D, but it also offers numerous cardiovascular and health benefits, in addition to being eco-friendly.  I love riding my bike and when I lived in the Okanagan I was able to ride my bike all year round.   It is a little too wintry here, but there is still “quading” or sledding.
  7. Sit around the campfire.  While it is not the sunshine, it is a light that can make a brilliant impact. It is lovely if you have a fire pit on your porch or in your yard, any time of the year.  Sitting out outside around the fire, enjoying the fresh air, meditating while watching the flames or just chatting and drinking hot chocolate with some friends. Nature, Fresh air and good friends what could be better for re-energizing your spirit.

Setting a goal to spend at least 30 minutes outside each and every day, whether you are active or just quietly absorbing the energy that the natural elements can give to you. You will begin to feel the power that can be yours when you allow it to flow through nature to you.

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Featured photo credit: Wind turbines farm via Shutterstock

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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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