25 Amazing Running Routes Around The World

skiing_ski_slope_ski_run

Training for and and successfully completing a marathon is a big deal. For many, the monotonous training is a bore to say the least. But for the crazy bunch such as myself, it is a hobby that brings much excitement and necessary self-discipline.

I’ve run more than 20 marathons, including three Comrades Marathons over the past six years. I’ve become a seasoned athlete who runs all-year round. For me though, running the same races year in and year out has the potential to become a massive bore.

Perhaps you fall into the same “I am bored of the same races” category. Maybe you are a novice who’s looking to participate in his or her first marathon. Or maybe, you are a part-time marathon athlete who loves travelling.

Whatever your circumstances, I’ve put together a list of 25 amazing routes in 17 countries, four continents and the Caribbeans. These are routes that have epic views, incredibly supportive fans and a great sense of culture that will appeal to any runner or avid traveller.

I’ve run a few of these races myself and I hope to complete all of the races below by the time I put up my running gear (which won’t be anytime soon!). And hopefully, this list inspires you to lace up, train and travel more.

1. Soweto Marathon, Soweto, South Africa

Running in the southwestern Townships (Soweto) of Johannesburg, the marathon takes you through the rich culture of South Africa.

The race starts in Nasrec and takes you through six significant landmarks:

– Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital (the third largest hospital in the world)

– Walter Sisulu Square

– Regina Mundi Catholic Church (the largest Roman Catholic Church in South Africa)

– Morris Isaacson High School

– Vilakazi Street (the only street in the world to have housed two Noble Peace Prize Winners in Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu)

amazing running routes

Hector Pieterson Memorial (memorial and museum that commemorates the role of the country’s students in the struggle against apartheid) is also a featured landmark on the trail. The route eventually takes you back to Nasrec, where you will pass the 90,000 person capacity FNB Stadium, also known as Soccer City, where the 2010 World Cup was played.

amazing running routes

www.sowetomarathon.com

2. Great Wall Of China Marathon, Tianjin, China

Considered one of the toughest marathons in the world, the route starts near the village of Huangyaguan, northeast of Beijing. It proceeds to the Great Wall, the world’s longest wall and biggest ancient architecture, where you will go up and down 5,164 steps.

China_GreatWallMarathon2013_062

Here, you can expect to see a stunning array of scenery:

– The beaches of Qinhuangdao, rugged mountains around Beijing

– The desert corridor between the tall mountain ranges at Jiayu Pas

From there, you proceed through scenic villages and rice fields before looping back to the Wall again for the final portion of the race, when you’ll finish in the center of Yin and Yang Square.

amazing running routes

www.great-wall-marathon.com

3. TCS New York City Marathon, New York, USA

With more than 50,000 finishers, 10,000 volunteers and one million spectators in 2014, the New York City Marathon is the largest marathon in the United States. Dubbed “the most prestigious endurance event in the world”, the course takes you through the five boroughs of New York City: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island.

5 boroughs

Considered one of the toughest courses of the major marathons in America, it has deceptive hills that force you to pace yourself adequately as you make your way past these historic landmarks and millions of screaming supporters that are guaranteed to give you an adrenaline rush.

Amazing running routes

www.tcsnycmarathon.org

4. Virgin Money London Marathon, London, England

One of the World Marathon Majors Series that awards a $1 million prize to the top male and female marathoners in the top six world races, it attracts nearly 40,000 athletes every year.

This marathon is a flat, fast race that starts in Blackheath in southeast London and passes the most iconic landmarks of England – Big Ben, the Tower of London, the London Eye – and runs along the River Thames and across the Tower Bridge.

amazing running routes

The event crosses the finish line in front of Buckhngham Palace.

London Marathon map

www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com

5. Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris, France

In 2013, Paris received approximately 29.3 million visitors, making it one of the top tourist destinations. What better way to tour the place as an athlete?

The marathon is one of the largest in the world, with approximately 140 nationalities and 50,000 athletes having participated in 2013. The course itself offers spectacular views and landmarks all along the route.

Starting off on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, the course runs alongside the banks of Seine and past some of the city’s greatest sites (famous Louvre, Place de la Concorde, Place la Bastille).

amazing running routes

Runners then run a loop around the Bois de Vincennes and return to the heart of the city and Rue de Charenton, the halfway point. The inward stretch follows the course of the Seine, passing Ile de la Cite and going under the Pont Neuf, and through a series of tunnels.

For those in need, there is a large drink station and foot massage area at Trocadero, facing the Eiffel Tower. The route then continues along the Seine, before branching east towards Bois de Boulogne, finally emerging for the final 200 metres and the finish line on the Avenue Foch.

www.schneiderelectricparismarathon.com

6. Reggae Run, Negril, Jamaica

Home to some of the greatest athletes, like the world’s fastest runner, Usain Bolt, The Amazing Reggae Marathon is Jamaica’s premier International Marathon Event.

The race starts at Long Bay Beach Park, situated along Negril’s lively 7-mile white sand beach. It proceeds and loops into the town of Negril and then heads north toward the town of Green Island.

amazing running routes

Lined with enthusiastic spectators and pulsating Reggae music on course, you are guaranteed to have an “irie” race. The Finish Line Beach Bash affords everyone an opportunity to relax on the beach with special offerings and entertainment geared toward having a total blast.

amazing running routes

www.reggaemarathon.com

7. Honolulu Marathon, Honolulu, Hawaii

Hosted in December, the Honolulu Marathon is one of the largest in the United States and attracts more than 25,000 athletes annually.

The race starts in Ala Maona Beach Park and passes through several famous Hawaiian landmarks, such as Lolani Palace, the only royal palace in the U.S.

amazing running routes

The route also makes its way past the statue of surfing hero Duke Kahanamoku on surfing heaven Waikiki Beach and Kawaiahao Church and Diamond Head. The run comes to an end in Kapiolani Park, the state’s first public park.

On race day, this park is transformed to a joyful festival with approximately 50,000 spectators. Being a part of this is a definite must for any athlete.

amazing running routes

www.honolulumarathon.org

8. Two Oceans Marathon, Cape Town, South Africa

It was established in 1970, and attracts the cream of local and international athletes alike. Affectionately known as “The world’s most beautiful marathon”, the 56-km ultra-marathon takes you through a backdrop of scenery that paces you around the Cape Peninsula via Chapman’s Peak, Hout Bay and Constantia Nek.

Below is a picture of myself making my way up Chapman’s Peak:

amazing running route

These views, in addition to the tough course, will leave you breathless.

amazing running routes

www.twooceansmarathon.org.za

9. Marathon International de Marrakech, Morocco

This race is run in Marrakesh, a magical town that offers an exceptional setting, a very mild climate in January and a beautiful circuit considered to be one of the fastest in the world.

marrakech

The route takes you through the city’s 12th-century ramparts, Menara gardens on dusty roads lined with palms. And the imposing Atlas Mountains provide an astonishing backdrop to the pink-walled city.

Semi-Marathon-International-De-Marrakech-map

www.marathon-marrakech.com

10. Boston Marathon, Boston, Massachusets

With the first marathon dating back as far as 1897, the Boston Marathon is the oldest and most prestigious race in the United States.

With rigorous qualifying standards, it is a dream marathon for many athletes. It is run on Partiots Day and starts in Hopkins. Nearby is a statue of George V. Brown, starter of the marathon between 1905 and 1937, with his starter’s pistol aloft.

At the one-mile mark at Weston Nurseries on Route 135 is a statue honoring Stylianos Kyriakides, whose victory in the 1946 race brought worldwide attention and badly need relief supplies to his war-torn homeland of Grace.

amazing running routes

The race continues east on Route 16 into the Newton Lower Falls and emerges at the firehouse onto Commonwealth Avenue. Here, you will find a bronze statue at the start of the Newton hills, depicting a 27-year-old Kelley winning the 1935 race and an 84-year-old Kelley completing his final marathon in 1992.

The race eventually finishes in Copley Square near the Boston Public Library.

amazing running routes

www.baa.org

11. Athens Classic Marathon, Athens, Greece

The Athens Classic Marathon is one of the biggest sporting events in Greece. And if history is anything to go by, it is probably the first marathon to be run in the world. In 490 B.C., a giant Persian army invaded the small town of Marathon, near the coast of Greece.

However, the Greek defeated the Persians. Following that, a messenger named Pheidippides was sent to Athens to bring news of the victory. The young Greek ran 26.2 miles from battlefield to the capital to announce the victory.

Approximately three miles into the run, you will come across the “Tomb of Marathon Warriors.” This is a 10 mile high burial mound where 192 men who died in battle were collectively cremated and buried as a sign of honour.

amazing running routes

The first 12 kilometers are level, with gentle long hills in the middle 19 kilometers. The final 11 kilometers are a downhill run that takes you into the magnificent Olympic Stadium in Athens.

amazing running routes

www.athensmarathon.com

12. Dublin Marathon, Dublin, Ireland

Dubbed the “friendly marathon,” the Dublin Marathon is run through the capital’s historic Georgian streets and its magnificent park. The race is single lap that is largely flat and starts and finishes close to the City Centre, in Fitzwilliam Square and Merrion Square, respectively.

Two, well-known landmarks on the route are the City Hall and Dublin Castle.

amazing running routes

Dublin, which has more green spaces per square kilometer than any other area in Europe, sees the marathon make its way past St. Stephen’s Green, Brickfields Park, Phoenix Park, Bushy Park and Elm Park Golf Course.

With ideal running conditions and a fantastic crowd in support, this race is indeed a friendly one.

dublin_route_map

13. Comrades Marathon, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa

With its inception in 1921, the Comrades Marathon is the world’s oldest ultra-marathon and attracts nearly 20,000 athletes yearly.

Commonly known as “The Ultimate Human Race”, it is a 56-mile grueling run that consists of an “Up” and “Down” route. Known for more its spirit and tradition, than it is the scenery, it always starts with blaring music in the background and the “Chariots of Fire” theme minutes before the race begins at 5:30 am.

Ultimately, the recorded cockcrow of Max Trimborn signals the grueling but incredibly worthwhile ultra-marathon for any long distance runner.

On the “Up” run you pass two villages, Camperdown and Cato Ridge, which are often packed with large crowds of spectators lining both sides of the road.

In addition, you pass the “Wall of Honour”, situated at the half-way point in Drummond. It overlooks the Valley of 1,000 Hills and was created to serve as a permanent landmark to commemorate the achievement of Comrades runners who have completed the epic “Up” run.

amazing running routes

The “Up” run is slightly shorter and starts in Durban and finishes in Pietermaritzburg. The “Down” run starts in Pietermaritzburg and finishes in Durban.

The Comrades Marathon is a must run race for every long distance athlete.

amazing running routes

www.comrades.com

14. Puerto Rico Marathon, Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rico Marathon is a popular destination race, combining a Caribbean vacation with first-class competition. The scenic route takes you along the Atlantic Ocean and past the San Geronimo Fort & Museum and the University of Puerto Rico.

amazing running routes

Run under tropical conditions, albeit humid and hot, and filled with spectators that cheer you on in Spanish and English, you can’t help but admire this wonderful race.

amazing running routes

www.marathonpuertorico.com

15. Marathon de la Baie du Mont Saint-Michel, France

Approximately 5,000 athletes, representing approximately 30 nationalities, participate in this event annually.

It is the only race in France where one can see the finish (the Mount) from the start. It starts with a run along the seafront of the Bay going through (among other interesting spots) Le Vivier-sur-Mer in Brittany and Cherrueix, which is famous for its sand-yachting races.

amazing running routes

It then crosses a polder area and makes its way to the towering fortified village of Normandy’s Mont Saint-Michel.

amazing running routes

www.montsaintmichel-marathon.com

16. Sparkasse 3-Laender Marathon, Germany; Austria; Switzerland

When we talk unique, the running route of this marathon amazes many. Run in three countries, the marathon starts from the beautiful Island of Lindau in Germany.

Start_Lindau (1)

You then run along Lake Constance for about 60% of the race. Here, you pass the iconic 7,000-seater Seebuhne (of floating stage), running through the Austrian towns of Lochau, Bregenz, Hard and Höchst.

The race continues over the Swiss border at St. Margreten and continues across the Rheindamm back to Hard and finally finishes in the Casino-Stadium in Bregenz, Switzerland, where a cheering crowd awaits you.

With mountain views are on either side as you run over rivers, bridges, and alternating asphalt and cobblestone streets, it is a spectacular race to participate in.

3 in one route map

www.sparkasse-3-laender-marathon.at/en

17. The Big Five Marathon, Entabeni Game Reserve, Limpopo, South Africa

For those love wild life, this is a popular event that attracts athletes from all over the world.

Running through the enormous and magnificent surroundings of the Entabeni Game Reserve, it combines exciting game drives with a challenging marathon route that goes through the most famous African Big Five game – elephants, rhinos, buffalo, lions and leopards.

amazing running routes

Running with no fences and rivers and passing through a section known as ‘lion country’, this event is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

amazing running routes

www.big-five-marathon.com

18. Chicago Marathon, Chicago, Illinois

The Bank Of America Chicago Marathon is huge event that attracts in excess of 40,000 athletes from more than 50 states and countries.

Supported by more than 1.5 million spectators, runners start and finish in Grant Park, located just south of the New Eastside neighborhood, which features a unique three-level roadway system and is home to several residential and commercial high rises, such as the Aon Center and Prudential Building

Runners also pass through Streeterville, an energetic neighborhood that blends together luxury hotels, fabulous shopping, arts and fine dining. It is in this neighborhood that you see the shopper’s paradise, the Magnificent Mile – eight blocks of more than 460 shops and boutiques.

amazing running routes

The course takes you through magnificent cities and you make you past 29 Chicago neighborhoods. The race also makes its way through Near West, a neighborhood that houses the United Center, home stadium of the Chicago Bulls and the Blackhawks.

Along the route you will also experience an abundance of Greek, Italian and Chinese culture as the race makes its way through the neighborhoods of Greektown, Little Italy, Pilsen and Chinatown. And the dancing doesn’t stop in Pilsen, Chicago’s largest Latino community.

Over the 26.2 miles, the course weaves through these incredibly dynamic, individual neighborhoods into the tale of one city, making this an incredible experience that showcases the importance of community and a united spirit.

amazing running routes

www.chicagomarathon.com

19. Big Sur International Marathon, California, USA

The Big Sur International Marathon is an annual marathon held in California.  The marathon was established in 1986 and attracts about 4,500 participants annually. Featuring rolling hills, Big Sur is the largest rural marathon in the world, winding through redwoods, paralleling ranches, and offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

At the halfway point, the route makes its way past the Bixby Creek Bridge, California’s favorite coastal bridge.

amazing running routes

With live entertainment throughout the race, it’s a lovely event to participate in.

amazing running routes

www.bsim.org

20. Bagan Temple Marathon, Burma

Tucked away in central Myanmar and home to more than 2,000 temples, Bagan’s beauty and historical significance is unsurpassed. Sacred pagodas and beautiful temples are scattered across the plains of Bagan, creating a mystical, striking landscape.

The marathon course will take runners on a voyage of discovery into this alluring and untouched land.

amazing running routes

The heat and dusty course is a challenge for most runners participating the Bagan Temple Marathon. However, the beautiful temples, the friendly villagers, the other-worldly atmosphere make this marathon one of a kind

amazing running routes

www.bagan-temple-marathon.com

21. BMW Berlin Marathon, Berlin, Germany

With the first run in 1974 attracting 286 runners, this marathon has grown in leaps and bounds and now sees approximately 40,000 runners participate.

With more than a million spectators, the course starts and finishes next to one of the capital’s most famous landmarks – the Brandenburg Gate. The route also takes you via notable spots such as the Reichstag and Berliner Dom.

amazing running routes

With skaters cheering you on as you pace yourself through classic buildings of the east and hi-tech shops and modern properties of the west, this race is indeed a unique one.

amazing marathon routes

www.bmw-berlin-marathon.com

22. Swiss Alpine races, Switzerland

This event has a heritage of three decades. In recent times, the diversity of runners and routes amid Graubenden’s amazing alpine scenery makes the Swiss Alpine Marathon more than just a race.

amazing running routes

The event has also evolved into a family experience, involving very young participants and organizing a team relay. It’s a must for any family of athletes.

amazing running rout

www.swissalpine.ch

23. Marathon du Medoc, Bordeaux, France

The Marathon du Medoc provides an out of the ordinary experience for its participants. With a limit of 8,500 participants, it takes you through a stunningly beautiful circuit of more than 50 chateuax.

amazing running routes

With more than 52 other events alongside the race, 22 refreshments stands and 21 food stands and special gourmet stands, the event provides a feast second to none. Plus, as you make your way through the festivities – with the occasional sip of wine – you are cheered by 3,000 volunteers and approximately 10, 000 spectators.

amazing running routes

www.marathondumedoc.com

24. GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon, Victoria, BC, Canada

With the limit of participants set at 4,000, this marathon is a flat route that showcases Canada’s natural beauty.

Run along the southern tip of the island, with the Olympic Mountain range visible in the distance, the course takes runners past landmarks such as the BC legislative buildings, Ogden Point, Beacon Hill Park and the statue of Terry Fox at Mile ‘O’.

amazing running routes

www.runvictoriamarathon.com

25. Marathon of the Midnight Sun, Tromso, Norway

Whoever said running marathons is boring?

Run at the height of summer in the Norwegian town of Tromso in the Arctic Circle, and in the middle of the night with the sun sitting above the horizon, illuminating the road ahead.

The start and finish lines are in the city centre. Runners head off towards the Tromsø Bridge, two km in to the race which arcs uphill from 6 to 43 meters above sea level. At the 20 km point runners cross back over the bridge, returning to and passing through the city centre.

midnight-sun-maraton-tromso-norway

The second half of the course is quite flat and easy. The course loops round and brings runners back to the city centre again, this time to the finish line and cheering crowds.

amazing running routes

www.msm.no

Whoever could have thought that running at midnight, with sun shining brightly, was possible? Whoever could have thought that the pain and monotony of marathon running could be this fun? I hope you’ve enjoyed the read. More importantyly, I hope it encourages you to strive to live a healthy, adventurous and exciting lifestyle.

 

The post 25 Amazing Running Routes Around The World appeared first on Lifehack.

This Infographic Will Make You Think Twice Before You Post To Social Media

social media

Social media is like driving: Everyone wants to be on the road, but not everyone should be allowed behind the wheel. The invention of social media has given a platform to anyone who has an email address and can create an account. These days, some people don’t see the connection between what they post on social media and how it shapes their online reputation.

There’s nothing wrong with sharing your thoughts on social media. Here’s the problem: When you combine your personal life, professional goals, and Google, the mixture can be like a fun basement party invading a formal gala televised live on a big screen for everyone to see. There’s a time and place for both, but it’s important to be in control of your online reputation and not post meaningless posts that hurt your personal brand. You never want to be the person that people sigh every time your name pops up (even worse, they may even remove or hide you from showing up in their timeline). It’s important to make sure that you don’t over share (no one cares about your bad egg and cheese sandwich) or say things that are offensive to others (excessive swearing, racism, or crassness).

If you’re not aware of what you post on social media, there may be postings that even as an adult you wouldn’t want your parents to see. More horrifying than the parental backlash (or maybe not) is the fact that others hate what you post. If you want to have a strong and likable online presence, you should post information that positively displays both your personal and professional interests. Also, it’s important to remember that if you are looking to advance your career, some of these same posts may be held against you by your current or future employer. So to avoid any further embarrassment, take a look at this infographic for questions to ask yourself before posting on social media posts.

infographic_social_media_post

Featured photo credit: Girl Shooting with her iPhone 6 in Winter/VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

The post This Infographic Will Make You Think Twice Before You Post To Social Media appeared first on Lifehack.

42 Surefire Practices To Become A Great Boss

42-ways-to-be-a-boss-at-being-a-boss cover

We are conditioned to think of our bosses as fire breathing dragons that are out to get us. A boss fights through the bramble to reach a certain height only to be cursed and hated. A good boss is one who is firm but also companionable; one who affirms the rules as well as understanding that exceptions have to be made according to requirement.

There are certain practices that differentiate a regular boss from a great boss. A boss needs to avoid making common mistakes like creating binaries between teams and bringing personal biases into the workplace. This infographic by UNUM brings to our notice 42 great ways of becoming a force to contend with in an office environment without ruffling feathers.

It is not easy to keep all these in mind, but to nurture a practice of having basic principles such as honesty and having vision makes sure that those around you are optimally motivated to do good work. While showing office goers how to maintain professionalism, there are a number of very specific ways to deal with situations where we tend to micromanage or take on the work of those around us. By the end of this piece we gauge that the best part are the tips that are provided by the industry jewels such as Andrew Carnegie and Sheryl Sandberg.

By the time you’re at the end of this chart, hopefully you’ll find yourself a tad wiser than before, so make sure you put at least few of these to work from this day onward and let us know how you fared in the comments.

42-ways-to-be-a-boss-at-being-a-boss

Be a great boss and a better human

The post 42 Surefire Practices To Become A Great Boss appeared first on Lifehack.

7 Apps That Can Help Teach Kids To Read

Parnets & Kids

Reading is an essential skill that should be mandatory for everyone. In our society, you cannot get away with a lack of reading or writing skills. These are just the basic essentials of living a decent and successful life.

You can never go wrong with teaching a child how to read. By doing so, you are actually preparing them for a successful future. And as a parent, it’s a joy to see your child reading fluently, as this also makes your life easier.

In a bid to make parents’ lives easier, Homework-Desk.com did research on some of the best apps that can be used for teaching kids how to read. Since the importance of learning this essential skill is clear, it was decided to share the findings with parents from across the world. These seven apps should do you a whole lot of good and equip your child with basic reading skills.

1. Reading Raven

Reading Raven

With Reading Raven, reading has never been easier. This app that’s available on both the iPhone and iPad features a step-by-step curriculum which allows your child to learn reading skills at their own pace.

The app allows your kid to get comfortable when learning the reading skills, hence increasing their chances. In addition to this, the app also comes with multi-sensory reading games which most kids find fun and engaging.

The fact that the reading app involves a proven phonics based approach enhances the learning experience. Reading Raven is ideal for kids between the ages of three and seven years old.

2. Montessori Crosswords

Montessori Crosswords

The whole idea about this app is based on the Montessori learning method. Besides just helping your kid learn how to read, Montessori Crosswords is also ideal when it comes to helping one improve both their writing and spelling skills.

The app is designed to help a kid understand that words are made up of sounds and helps them to memorize these sounds for their own good. For an app that comes with a set of 320 word-image-audio-phonic combinations, your kid can learn a lot from this one place.

3. Marbleminds Phonics

Marbleminds Phonics

With reading, it’s all about understanding the different sounds that letters make. What you’ll get from this app is that it gives more emphasis on these sounds and the letters. It teaches your kid all the fundamentals of reading.

And the app is fun to work with, as the exercises are clear and concise for the user. With more than 150 pictures and phonics, it makes reading much easier.

4. Bob Books Reading Magic Lite

Bob Books Reading Magic Lite

The book this app is based on has worked wonders for millions of kids across the world. The phonics-based interactive game version comes with a rather simple drag-and-drop interface that is ideal for kids.

The characters in the book, together with the colorful animations, do encourage kids to learn the necessary reading skills. In addition to this, the book also comes with easy first steps, drawn illustrations, wholesome values and many other features that makes learning how to read simple.

5. Word Magic

Word Magic

Back in 2009, this app was nominated for the Best Educational App. That just goes to show you how truly good the app is.

Word Magic is equipped with attractive and funny pictures displayed on a simple design to enhance the learning experience. The player gets appreciated by a real voice every time they give a correct answer. Once five correct answers are given concurrently, the app automatically changes its color.

6. Martha Speaks Dog Party

Martha Speaks Dog Party

The Martha Speaks Dog Party app features a very common dog character (Martha) from the popular PBS KIDS TV series Martha Speaks. The character basically helps kids to bolster oral vocabulary through the words we use daily.

Martha Speaks Dog Party is designed with all the features that will help your kid understand the meaning of words whenever they hear them.

7. Learn with Homer

Learn with Homer

As the winner of the 2015 Teacher’s Choice Gold Award, Learn with Homer was developed based on Harvard and Stanford research, which revealed that Homer increases a child’s reading scores by up to 74%.

The app comes with more than 100 hours of learning lessons which can help a child so much all on its own. The fact that new content is added week in and week out makes Learn with Homer ideal for kids who are eager to learn how to read.

Regardless of which app you opt to go for, any of them can do you and your kid a whole lot of good, which is something that every parent clearly wants for their child.

Featured photo credit: Parents Teaching Kids to Read via i.huffpost.com

The post 7 Apps That Can Help Teach Kids To Read appeared first on Lifehack.

How Doing Planks Can Transform Your Body And Make You Ready for Summer

surfer girl on beach

Winter is over, the temperatures are rising, summer is going to be here soon. That means 2 things: shedding layers of winter clothes and becoming much more active. Did your Netflix addiction get the better of you for the last 4-6 months? It’s okay, you’ve still got time to get your body ready.

Since we’re all short on time these days you’re going to want to focus on the best bang for your buck exercises, exercises that focus on using a multiple muscle groups and can help you reach both aesthetic and performance goals which is why planks are a great choice.

Planks are a great total body exercise that is efficient, effective, can be done anywhere, and progressed or regressed to fit any fitness level. Whether you’re looking to tighten up the midsection and stand a bit straighter to look great at the beach or improve your athleticism for summer sports, planks are a perfect exercise.

Planks are More Than an “Ab” Exercise:

Most people think of planks as an ab exercise, and while it’s true they are a great exercise for the abs, it’s selling them short.

Most trainers and physical therapists consider the “core” to be the area from your shoulders to your hips and every muscle in between. Doing planks works just about all of these muscles simultaneously. Muscles like the “6 pack abs” (rectus abdominus) deeper abs (transverse abdominus), obliques, spinal errectors, lats, rhomboids, traps, and glutes. Simply rising into a pushup plank will also incorporate the chest and triceps. Planks, when performed correctly, are all about creating tension through the whole body, activating all of the muscles of the “core”.

Compare that to a crunch or situp, where the abs and hip flexors are the only muscles really exerting and it’s easy to see how planks are so much more than just an “ab” exercise.

Planks Work Your “Core” the Right Way:

Research from Dr. Stuart McGills’ lab has shown that the core is constructed to create a corset around the lumbar spine. This corset is built to keep the spine rigid during rotational and compressive forces. For most people, the best core training is that which limits or resists motion of the lower back (lumbar spine).

Planks do just this. More traditional ab exercises like situps and crunches flex the spine, and while that may be good for building a 6 pack, it’s probably not the best choice for your lumbar vertebrae and continued back health.

Planks Help Correct Your Crappy Posture:

Many people have what is referred to as desk jockey posture from sitting all day in front of a steering wheel, computer or TV. This posture leads to a rounded upper back, forward shoulders and posterior pelvic tilt. Basically, the length-tension relationships of the muscles have changed from being hunched over all day. Some muscles become overstretched, some shorten, others become overactive and others under-active. This tends to lead to what’s called “hanging off of the hard structures”. Instead of using the muscles to provide stability for a neutral spine, we slide into positions that allow us to use the bones for stability.

Planks are (usually) all about creating a neutral position. It stands to reason, that the muscles which are worked in a plank are also the ones that have an effect on your neutral posture. Muscles like the glutes, spinal errectors (low back), obliques and scapular stabilizers (upper / mid back muscles) help to pull you back into a more neutral position. While simply doing a few planks once or twice a week probably wont fix your posture completely, they’ll help activate and build endurance in the weak, under-active muscles. This will help improve your posture much more than traditional flexion-based “core” exercises like crunches.

You Might Look a Bit Thinner – or Correcting Posture Part 2:

Many women (and some guys) have too much of an arch in the lower back and as a result use the vertebrae of the lower back to create stability. In other words they “hang off the lower back”. Doing this can lead to an excessive lumbar mobility and anterior pelvic tilt. This can give the lower stomach the appearance of being pushed out, or the dreaded lower belly “pooch”.

Planks can help to correct this posture also. Specifically by strengthening the glutes, rectus abdominus and obliques.Remember, planks are a movement that reinforces a neutral hip and spine position, so almost any deviation from a neutral posture can be helped with planks.

Baby Got Back:

We’re in the golden age of glutes. Let’s face it, butts are everywhere. While a nice core never goes out of style, glutes are the “it” muscle right now, in a big way… and for good reason. Not only does a nice set of glutes look great in a bikini or swim shorts, they are arguably the most important muscles in the body from a movement and performance perspective.

While planks are not thought of as a glute exercise, a good plank isn’t about time, it’s about tension. To stay in the correct technique you must squeeze your glutes and keep them contracted hard the whole time. For some of the more challenging plank variations, you’re not only using the glutes to stabilize the hips, they’re also creating motion which will increase the challenge overall.

Planks are Great for Treating and Preventing Low Back Pain:

Nobody wants to get up and head out to catch some waves at 6am on a Saturday and paddle back in after one ride, or be in the clubhouse after 9 holes, all because their lower back is killing them. Back pain affects 31 million Americans at any given time according to the American Chiropractic Association. Don’t be a statistic. Low back pain sufferers have some common traits including tightness in the thoracic spine and hips, weak glutes and the tendency to use the low back to create movement.

Remember, planks are about tightness, creating a stable corset around the spine. Training this corset by planking not only helps to strengthen the muscles but also teaches your body what it feels like to be in a tight, braced, position.

How to Plank, It’s Not What You Think and How Not Waste Your Time:

Too often planks are done for ridiculously long timed holds and with a big arch in the lower back. This needs to be fixed. The purpose of the plank is to create tension through the body and resist movement. Your plank should reflect this, so flatten out that back and get as tight as possible.

Front Plank Checklist:

  • Abs turned on and braced.
  • Hip in neutral or very slightly rotated forward (belt buckle to chin) to help the abs fire.
  • Glutes squeezed hard.
  • Shoulders in the joint, scapula (shoulder blades) down the ribcage.
  • Upper and lower back flat.

plank

Side Plank Checklist:

  • Elbow directly under the shoulder.
  • Top leg towards the front of the body.
  • Ribcage in neutral, usually this means pulled down slightly and rotated up slightly.
  • Hips in neutral, glutes squeezed hard.

Side-Plank-Marching_edited

Moving Planks, the Planks You Never Thought of:

Too often planks are thought of as a stationary exercise, but that’s not always true.

Exercises like:

  • Ab wheel rollouts
  • Bird Dog
  • Stir the pot
  • Suspension rows
  • Fallouts
  • Pushups
  • Farmers walks
  • Suitcase carries

Are nothing more than moving planks.

Think about it. To do these exercises correctly you must begin in and maintain a stable, core braced, plank position. The core is resisting the hoop, shear and extension forces that are being placed on the spine, no different than any other plank. The key here however is that the exercises must be performed correctly. The core cannot buckle it must stay braced, with no movement whatsoever through the spine.

The 10 Second Plank From Hell: The RKC Plank

This is the plank that separates the men from the boys, the RKC plank. This plank isn’t just about maintaining tension, it’s about creating tension, literally, trying to crush yourself.

RKC Checklist:

  • Hips posteriorly upper back slightly rounded to create a psuedo crunch effect.
  • Squeeze the glutes as hard as possible.
  • Drive the elbows back under you.
  • Drive the toes towards the elbows.
  • Squeeze everything in between as hard as possible and try to crush yourself in the process.

There’s Really no Excuse Not to Be Ready When Summer Gets Here:

Planks cost nothing, you need no special equipment and they can be done anywhere. They’re super easy to incorporate into a workout or even your daily routine. You don’t even need to program them into a special place in your routine often. If you’re lifting weights, interval training or even running laps, you can add planks to your workouts by simply using them as active rest in between sets, intervals or laps.

They’re so simple you can do planks on your living room floor during commercials or work breaks. Just remember build slowly and don’t focus as much on the length of time you can hold a plank as much as how much muscular tension you can create while in the plank position.

Don’t wait, the count down is on, start now and you’ll be surprised at the effect planks can have on your physique, posture and athleticism by the time summer rolls around.

The post How Doing Planks Can Transform Your Body And Make You Ready for Summer appeared first on Lifehack.

Great Tips To Become A Successful Student Entrepreneur

Working as a student entrepreneur

To be a student entrepreneur is a hard decision to make. Once made, it becomes tough to keep up with. It has taken many nights of planning and careful thought by student entrepreneurs to walk on to the path of success later in life. Often, it takes years for results to show but this infographic by #WBSA jots down the easy and fool-proof way to get on that ladder of conversion rates.

Running your own business doesn’t require you to be a professional or have the experience of a redwood oak. What a student entrepreneur needs is a goal, motivation and specific steps to get there. You must have something that the public did not even know they needed and once they know, they cannot get it out of their minds.

A new idea needs nourishing and development and here we have the most brilliant student entrepreneurs giving you their tips on putting that idea into play. A daredevil attitude and some statistics can prove to be of utmost import when putting a team and minds together. You must also be aware of the competition around you and how your product can beat that. Most of all, you need to believe in what you provide and how you provide it.

These days consumers are all about having a good experience with products. Once they receive that from a student entrepreneur, word of mouth takes on massive proportions and social networking does the rest. So get on to that festering idea today, set up a wireframe of what you need to do and cross of things off the checklist. Who knows? In a year you’ll may be paying your own bills as a student entrepreneur and the enjoying the guarantee of satisfaction.

How-to-become-a-student-entrepreneur

Become a success as a student entrepreneur

Featured photo credit: picjumbo.com via picjumbo.com

The post Great Tips To Become A Successful Student Entrepreneur appeared first on Lifehack.