Need to Exercise? Why Not Plank?
Ever thought of planking?
What if I told you that by practicing the plank every day, it not only improves your core strength, but also makes a huge difference to your overall physique, mood and more?
Planking is not always easy, especially for some of us. Sometimes even 10 seconds is too much. You are not competing with anyone so take your time with it. The only person it benefits is you!
What is planking?
Believe it or not, there are many kinds of planks you can do. Here, let us refer to the forearm plank as the basic plank to start off with.
Place forearms on the floor, with elbows aligned below your shoulders and arms parallel to your body at about shoulder width.
How long and how many times should I plank?
For any beginner I recommend starting with a 30 second plank. Start with trying to do a plank every day 3-4 times. Space your planks out during the day. Increase it by 10 seconds when you find yourself getting too comfortable. The ideal goal would be to reach 3-4 sixty second planks a day.
Why should I plank?
Planks are one of the most effective forms of exercise you can do daily. It requires a very small-time frame, and if you are consistent, you can achieve amazing results over time. The best part for me was, it works your entire body and it can be done almost anywhere. It's one exercise that gives you significant benefits. By practicing the plank, you are testing your entire body, your biceps, your core, your leg muscles, and the muscles in your butt!
What are the benefits of planking?
Let me tell you how I started planking and how it helped me. I used to go to a yoga/fitness instructor when I got tired of having back pain on and off. After talking to her, she told me that one of the ways to strengthen your back and significantly reduce back pain, was to start planking. I will be honest, initially when I started, when it got to the point to plank, I hated it! The reason being I could barely hit the 30 second mark, as my entire body would start to shake, till I collapsed. It surely gives you a reality check on your core strength. However, I kept at it and within few weeks of repeatedly doing it, I crossed the 30 second count and reached my personal best of 2 minutes! I could not believe it, the only other time I was this ecstatic while working out was when I was able to a head stand against the wall on my own. The best part is, I started to have lesser back pains or no lower back pain and my upper back also felt great!
Next, did you know that if you are continuously sitting in front of a computer, the whole day for work or whatsoever reason, by planking every day you will eventually burn more energy even when you are sedentary! This was a huge plus point for me, as I had a desk job and to know that you are burning energy whilst doing nothing is just brilliant! By consistently planking you are enhancing your overall metabolism and just like strength training your metabolic rate remains high even after you're done with your workout.
I remember growing up, how my mum and aunt used to whack me on my shoulder, every time they saw me slouching. Truth be told, that never stopped for the longest time. Planking helps you improve your posture drastically. Some people really know how to sit up so straight, whereas I am always sinking into my chair or wherever I am sitting. I noticed a major difference in my posture after I started planking. I still cannot sit up extremely straight, but I do not find myself sinking into the chair anymore.
Ladies, have you ever found yourself losing balance when trying to put on a pair of heels or while trying to take them off? This happens when your abdominal muscles are not strong enough to hold up your body weight. Planking helps you to significantly improve your overall balance. Ever tried those challenges with your sibling where you stand on one leg, try them after planking you will out beat them!
Initially when I started working out, I never thought I was flexible enough to even try yoga. Though most of the time we overestimate our bodies, there are times we do tend to underestimate them. I realized I was a lot more flexible after planking. Since you are encouraging your body to improve stability, planking has an impact overall on all your muscle groups which improve your flexibility.
My personal favorite is muscle definition, I think it was the first time I started to notice curves and biceps and I must be honest ladies, it is an awesome feeling!
Planking therefore not only strengthens your core muscles but also has multiple benefits:
- You lose weight naturally
- You end up with a strong back and a shapely booty
- You will notice a difference in your mental health
- You can engage yourself in more physical activity because of increased stability and increased metabolism (this would mean exercises would become less painful if it ever were for some of you)
- You end up with just the right muscle definition
So, what you waiting for? Get in on the plank challenge and let the possible results keep you motivated to that healthy defined body you have always wanted!
Thank you for your time and reading.
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