Planking is one of the best exercises that you can do, and there are many more benefits than you might first imagine. Let’s look at 3 great reasons why it makes sense for you to schedule some plank-time into your exercise routine.
Simply put, planking is one of the best ways to tone your core and get better looking, stronger, leaner abs! When you stabilize your body in a plank, you are engaging multiple levels of the abdominal muscles. Whether you add movement or not, a static plank forces your core muscles to act as stabilizers and consequently gives your entire abdominal region a great workout!
Planks can help prevent injury! Holding a plank is in essence practicing balance and stability. Your core is the center or your body, and when it is strong you are more able to make necessary adjustments in unstable circumstances. Think about something as simple as slipping on a banana peel or a wet floor. If you don’t have a strong core, there is a good chance that you will fall down and possibly hurt yourself. On the other hand, when your core is strong, you are able to recruit more muscles to help self-adjust and maintain more balance and control. This does not mean that you will never slip or get injured. It simply means that your chances of staying upright when you step on an unstable surface are greatly increased when your core is strong.
Finally, planks help promote good posture. Planking is virtually a full-body workout. When you hold the plank position correctly, you are not only engaging the abs but also the back, shoulders, neck, chest, hamstrings, glutes and even calves. That’s a lot of muscles! Planks force all of these muscles to work together as a functional movement to balance the body and therefore improve your posture. If you do planks regularly, you might even find your shoulders will carry less tension and your mood can even improve!
Try this great 30 minute plank workout 3-5 times a week. There is no equipment needed, just you and the floor, so you can do this workout anywhere – even while you are vacation!
(Do each move for 1 minute, 20 seconds rest between each for a total of 3 rounds)
1. Static Hold: Plank Position: Place hands directly under shoulders & extend legs until you are supported by your feet and hands in a prone position. Tuck your buttocks and squeeze your belly into the spine with full engagement of the body. There should be a straight line from your head to your feet (no sagging, no piking).
2. Alternating Leg Lifts: From plank position, fully engage body & lift left leg straight up until it is parallel with the ground. Be careful not to arch your back & lose the ab engagement. Lower leg to floor & alternate to right leg. Continue alternating while keeping hips squared to the ground & buttocks squeezed throughout the transitions.
3. Internal Crunch: From plank position, raise right leg back parallel to ground, then crunch internally to bring right knee to left elbow under the body. Squeeze your internal obliques & exhale as you crunch. Return to plank & repeat left leg. Continue alternating.
4. External Crunch: From plank position, raise right leg back parallel to ground, then crunch externally to bring right knee to meet your right elbow in a side crunch as you exhale. Return to plank & repeat with left leg. Continue alternating.
5. Extensions: From plank position, extend right arm & left leg parallel to ground, keeping hips square. Exhale and contract abs to bring right hand and left knee together under the body. Extend back to horizontal position & repeat with left arm & right leg. Continue alternating.
(Do each move for 1 min, rest 20 seconds between each for a total of 2 rounds)
6. Static Hold: Side Plank Position: Place right hand directly under right shoulder to stabilize. Stack left foot on top of right & raise hips up off ground making a straight line with your body. Stay here for a modified move, or challenge yourself to lift the left leg up until your are in a star position. Hold 1 minute & repeat on the other side.
7. Hip Raise: From side plank, exhale & contract abs to raise hips up as high as you can off the ground, keeping legs straight and maintaining full body engagement. Then lower hips back to the ground until the hips touch the ground. Repeat for 1 minute and then do the same on the other side.
8. Side Twist:From side plank with right arm extended straight to the sky, slowly bring right hand down while contracting your abs and twist the reach until your hand is underneath your torso. Keep your hips high and your abs contracted throughout this movement as you rotate. Return to starting position & repeat for 1 minute before alternating the other side.
Always remember to consult with a professional before starting any exercise or nutrition program to ensure that you follow the best nutrition and exercise program for you.
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5 Ways To Know Your Self Worth
Focusing on your sense of “self” is very important in so many different ways. When you think about it, you are probably surrounded by the word “self” each day more than you realize. From self-care, self-esteem and self-belief to self-confidence, self-respect and self-worth, people are constantly trying to find ways to better themselves in different areas of their lives.
If you ask most people if they know their self-worth, they will probably be quick to say yes. But, if you took that question further and asked them how they know it, you will likely be met with some hesitation. The reality is, most people think they know about self-worth, but do not fully understand what it is or how it differs from other areas of “self”.
So, how can you truly know your self-worth? What can you do to increase it? What are your strengths, gifts and abilities? Let’s take a look at a few ways to have a better understanding of what really is your self-worth.
1. Don’t Judge Your Own Emotions
You can boost your sense of self-worth by accepting your thoughts and feelings. You might not always like them, and you might find yourself at odds with them from time to time. But, whatever thoughts and emotions come into your head, let them in. Then, you can work through them effectively. Emotions demand to be felt. It is how you respond to them that matters. Don’t ignore them and limit your true value. Embrace the wonderful unique person who you are.
Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy. – Robert Tew
2. Question Your “Shoulds”
When you think about the things you “should” do, it might leave you feeling unmotivated and overwhelmed. For example, if you say to yourself, “I should go for a run this evening,” and then you don’t end up doing it, how do you think you will feel? Chances are, you will struggle with some level of guilt. This can snowball into not feeling good about yourself and questioning how much that you value yourself and your self-worth.
Instead, fill your life with things that you “will” do. The word “will” implies that it is more of a promise and a commitment, rather than a burden. Saying “I will run a mile this evening” is much more motivating and allows you to prove exactly who you are and what you can do.
Anything is possible when you have a path, a plan, and a desire to take action. ― Dean Graziosi
3. Don’t Worry About the Acceptance of Others
It seems all too natural to worry about what other people think of us. Social media can make things even worse. If you find yourself constantly “looking for likes” or some kind of validation from friends, family, or even strangers, you are looking at your self-worth in the wrong place by looking through someone else’s lens and standards.
It can be hard to give up this habit. Everyone wants to be accepted. But, you won’t find what you are worth in the opinions of others. You have the power to see yourself for how great you really are. When you are able to internalize this power and recognize your true value and self-worth, you won’t put so much emphasis on what others think of you. You will get to know who you are, what you are really worth, and you can be confident in that.
4. Let Yourself Off The Hook
Many times, people cannot see their true self-worth because they are holding on to past guilt. Almost everyone has regrets. Whether you did something when you were young that you should not have, or perhaps you wronged someone in some way, the past is the past.
You need to learn to forgive yourself and let yourself off the hook. By holding onto that guilt, you will never be able to see what you are really worth. It will feel like a ball and chain holding you back. But, you have the key to break free, if you just give yourself the chance. If you would be willing to show someone else forgiveness and acceptance for their wrongdoings, you owe it to yourself to do the same. Give yourself a break.
5. Look at Your Gifts
If you are still having a hard time understanding your self-worth, take a look at your natural skills. Everyone has certain gifts in life. Your talents are going to be different from someone else’s – that’s what makes the world work!
Think about a few things that you are really good at. Or, something that you really enjoy doing. Go even further by creating a list of your talents and skills. They don’t need to be huge. In fact, writing a list of several “little things” can make you see just how important and valuable that you are. Take a look at that list whenever you are feeling down or devalued, and practice those talents and skills as often as possible.
By keeping these skills and talents of yours in mind, you can start to celebrate your self-worth. When you have a better understanding of your real value, you are more likely to prioritize other things like self-care, self-esteem and self belief. Each of which are different, but they are all connected in some way. But, it starts with knowing your self-worth. And, chances are, it is much more than you might think.
6 Signs Of A Strong Friendship
There is nothing quite like a strong friendship. Having someone that you can truly count on for anything and everything can completely change the way you think and feel. Unfortunately, far too often in today’s society, we seem to focus more on how many friends we have.
Or, worse, how many acquaintances we can keep in touch with via social media. But, having a true, strong friendship is something that cannot be replaced or replicated with lukewarm substitutes.
Are you already thinking about someone in your life who fits that description? Or, are you wondering if you truly have a strong friendship with one (or more) of the people who are closest to you?
While every friendly relationship is different and unique, there are some common factors associated with a strong bond and true friendship. Let’s take a look at a few of them so you can feel even more confident in your close friendships, and grow even deeper with the people in your life who truly matter.
1. Communication is Always a Priority
It is easy to talk to your friends when everything in your life is on track. Sharing laughs, light conversation, and exchanging stories are all important parts of a healthy friendship.
But, a strong friendship goes deeper. It allows you to communicate with that person, no matter what. That includes telling them about your struggles or anything you might be going through. It also includes communicating effectively when you are not getting along.
Through proper communication, especially when things are hard, you will build trust within that relationship. Going through difficult things together will make you stronger individuals, and stronger friends.
2. You Know You Are Equals
Almost everyone has known at least one person in their lives who seems to think they’re “better” than everyone else.
Strong friendships need to be based on equality. You and your friend should always be on the same playing field when it comes to who you are and how you are living your life. If you embrace your differences and do not see one as superior, you can take comfort in knowing your friendship is sincere.
Even the best of friends clash from time to time. You might have similar personalities, but no two people are exactly alike.
But, if you can still show your friend respect (and receive it from them) even in times of turmoil, your friendship will be stronger than any disagreement you might have. When someone chooses to respect you even when they are upset with you, it shows that they value your relationship more than their pride.
4. You Can Be Yourself
Do you ever feel like you have to put on a show for other people? Or, are you afraid to let your true personality shine through when you are in certain crowds?
A strong friendship is one that allows you to be yourself. If there is someone in your life who truly likes you for who you are, hold onto that friendship tightly! Most people spend far too much time pretending, whether it’s online or in-person. Someone who loves your quirks and uniqueness is someone who loves you, as a person.
Honesty is also a huge part of being yourself, and a huge part of a strong friendship. Friendships should be based on trust, and that starts with being honest. Telling the truth about how you feel and what you think is important. If your friend actively listens, appreciates, and comments on that truth, you can take comfort in knowing how secure your relationship is.
5. You Experience Joy
While a true friend should be there for you during hard times, the bulk of your relationship should be joyful and fun! Again, think about that person in your life who makes you smile. Is there someone who you are always happy to be around? Does thinking about your friendship cause your heart to race?
Strong friendships should absolutely be joyful. You should find yourself laughing a lot, and being completely at ease with one another. That person may be the first one you think of when you want to experience something new or go somewhere different, just because you know that you will have more fun with them around.
6. You Respect Boundaries
No matter how great your friendship is, no two people can be together 24/7. A great friend will understand that and respect your boundaries. Alternatively, they might be going through something that they are not ready to talk about. If you can respect those boundaries, it shows them how much faith you have in your friendship.
Many people are too quick to think the term “boundaries” as being negative. But, boundaries are completely healthy and necessary in a strong relationship of any kind. Having someone in your life who respects those boundaries understands what it takes to build upon that strength.
Having a strong friendship – even just one – can add so much to your life. Take a look at your current friendships. Is there one that stands out to you with these characteristics? If so, do what you can to continue to build and grow that strength, and make sure that friend knows how important they are to you on a regular basis.
6 Things To Remember When You Think That You’re Not Good Enough
Have you ever had moments where you feel completely inadequate? Maybe a specific situation comes up and you think there is no way that you would ever be good enough to do what is needed. Or, maybe you feel that way all the time and you can’t seem to get past it.
Thinking that you are not good enough and having low self-esteem tend to go hand-in-hand, but they are slightly different.
Thankfully, you can work on both of them by changing your thinking habits and banishing some of that negative self-talk from your mindset. Whether you think you are not good enough in certain situations or you have a hard time believing that you are good enough for almost anything, it doesn’t have to be that way forever.
Let’s look at a few things you should always keep in mind when those thoughts come in, and how you can start to convince yourself of your true worth.
1. You Are Not Alone
Thinking that you are not good enough can cause a lonely existence. You might not want to put your burdens on others, so you don’t talk about it. You might also think that everyone else is perfectly happy with who they are, and are confident in everything that they do.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The reality is, you never know what other people are fully thinking/feeling. What you can count on, though, is that there are so many others who feel just like you, and are constantly wondering if they are “enough”. Knowing that you are not alone can help you to work through your feelings without feeling so isolated.
2. You Have Your Own Skills
A common reason why people tend to think they are not good enough is because they don’t have a specific talent or skill that someone else has. But you probably have something that person doesn’t, too.
Everyone has their own abilities and things that make them unique. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, keep your mind on your talents and what makes you special.
“If you want to make a permanent change, stop focusing on the size of your problems and start focusing on the size of you!” – T. Harv Eker
3. You Can’t Be Perfect
Perfection is a fruitless thing to chase. Many people who question their self-worth do so because they are perfectionists.
But, if you set such a high standard for yourself, you will always be disappointed. Perfection doesn’t exist, and while you can strive to be your best, it is important to understand human error and limits. That doesn’t mean the things you do are some how “less” than great. But, striving for perfection is something that can make you feel inadequate.
4. You Are Worthy of Loving Yourself
Love tends to be the answer for so many things, including any pain or turmoil that you might be going through. Thinking that you are not good enough is an easy way to cause yourself sadness and pain. Those thoughts can quickly snowball and you might start to think about more negative things about yourself.
Instead of fueling those negative thoughts, choose love. Love is like a permanent band-aid for the pain that you are going through. It is a great way to comfort yourself, provide reassurance, and get a clearer picture of who you really are and all of the wonderful things that you can offer the world. By choosing self-love, you can start to see yourself in a more positive light, and push those negative thoughts away.
“We must fall in love with ourselves. I don’t like myself. I’m crazy about myself.” – Mae West
5. Mistakes Can Be a Good Thing
Do you ever find yourself feeling especially inadequate when you “fail”? While that is not uncommon, that word should really be removed from your vocabulary.
Everyone “fails” at times, because again, perfection is not attainable. When you start to consider anything less than perfection to be a failure, it is easy to beat yourself up and think that you will never amount to the things that you truly want.
But, when you start to view your failures and mistakes as good things and stepping stones, you can completely shift your perspective and realize that not only are you good enough, but you are also resilient and strong. Some of the biggest “failures” in history went on to be the most successful people because they learned from their mistakes. They looked at the things that went wrong and considered how they could change them.
It is important to use your mistakes as a way to learn and grow. When you are able to do that, you will find a greater sense of fulfillment when things finally come together and you get it “right”.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordon
6. Gratitude Goes a Long Way
It might not always feel easy to accept and be grateful for who you are. But, it is incredibly important. Instead of thinking about the things you don’t have or areas where you are not “good enough”, choose to actively think about and pursue the positive. Focus on what you are grateful for. The more that you do that, the easier it will be to banish those thoughts of doubt and insecurity. I like to start every day by using my journal and begin by writing down three things that I am grateful for.
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” — Melody Beattie
Once you really start to think about it, you will find that you have more to be grateful for than you may have initially realized, and that way of thinking can help you to establish healthier, more positive thoughts about yourself that will last a lifetime.