How often do you think about your posture? Chances are you don’t think about it all that much. Your days at the computer desk, hours running errands, or time spent with your kids all seem to fly by, and you might not have any idea how your posture looked and felt during all those days of activity.
We’re here to convince you that your posture is something you should be thinking about – each and every day. Not only does a good posture display a confident image, it provides immense physical benefits as well.
When your spine, bones, joints, and muscles are aligned into good posture, they’re less likely to break down over time. Breathing becomes easier and deeper as you open up your airwaves. Having proper posture helps improve circulation and even digestion, as your insides are allowed to move freely rather than being constricted by your improper body position. Poor posture over long periods of time can even lead to spine and nerve injuries as long-term constriction pinches the nerves in your back.
Of course, the first step in improving your posture is acknowledging that you need to start thinking about it. First step: complete! The next step is a bit trickier: finding and understanding your ideal posture. Ideally, having proper posture means your muscles are being held in a natural and neutral position. While some picture good posture as having a stiff back, that isn’t necessarily the case. A neutral spine is best for maintaining consistent, healthy posture all day through.
Once you feel the neutrality, imagine there’s a straight line through the top of the middle of your head heading down through the center of your hips and into your ankles. With feet shoulder-width apart, feel this natural stance in all its glory. If you tend to sit all day, make sure the computer screen stays at eye level, your feet are flat on the floor, and your forearms are parallel to the ground – then practice that neutral spine.
Set a timer to go off once per hour on your phone or computer as a time to check your posture. Chances are it will take a bit of time to get used to your proper, healthy posture – and that’s okay! The timer helps you check yourself to maintain a neutral spine the whole day through.
Take advantage of the benefits good posture has to offer. You never know what health issues it might solve… or how much happier it might make you!
Do you enjoy running as one of your favorite forms of exercise? If so, you’re probably reveling in the wonder that is summertime running: lots of sunshine, cool evenings and mornings, and plenty of light to keep you off the treadmill and out breathing the fresh air.
If you’re a runner, this form of exercise probably feels pretty natural to you. Put one foot in front of the other, control your breath, and let the wind take you away. But whether you feel like a natural runner or not, everyone who runs is prone to injury. While running isn’t necessarily a contact sport, this type of exercise can still be dangerous.
It can be quite frustrating when you’re out for a leisurely run, training for a race, or running to some goal, and you feel an unfamiliar pain running down one of your muscles. Over 50% of runners experience injury each year… a huge percentage! If this type of exercise is supposed to be so “natural,” why are so many people injured?
Luckily, there are a few key ways to prevent running injuries that you can easily adopt to become an injury-free running pro.
Perfect your form. While it can be easy to zone out while running, this form of exercise can take serious concentration to get it right. Ensure your head is held high as you run to keep your spine aligned. Scrunching your shoulders upwards tightly, however, can lead to back strain, so find a neutral position for your back muscles as you jog. Secondly, focus on your stride; your feet should hit the ground when they’re nearly right underneath your hips (not way out in front of you).
Incorporate strength training. Many of us spend the majority of the day sitting at a desk, then hop up and run after work. While running uses particular muscles, it doesn’t move all the muscles that you are unable to engage during the workday. Adding strength training to your exercise routine fixes these imbalances while helping develop core, arm, and length strength to keep your body healthy and strong (and less injury prone). Begin your run with a few dynamic, moving stretches, jog it out, then finish your run and perform 10-30 minutes of strength exercises (alternating muscle groups each day).
Don’t stay stagnant. Many runners get into the same routine: same route, same stride, same pace. Switch up your runs to ensure all your leg muscles receive a good workout. Alternate slow jogging days with sprint intervals. Switch between a hill run and a fairly flat trail. Change out the sidewalk for some rockier terrain in the woods. No matter how you do it, changing up your runs ensures you aren’t only using the same exact muscles over and over (which can lead to wear, tear, and injury).
How do you prevent injury on run days? We’d love to hear your tips!
Potlucks are so much fun – particularly in the summer. Each person brings one of their favorite dishes, letting you get to know your friends, their cooking styles, and the food they adore. During the summer months, potluck backyard barbecues are a great way to throw a party in your yard while having everyone pitch in.
The array of vegetables and fruits you’ll have coming through your door can create a gorgeous range of colors on your backyard serving table. Summer is the king of fresh, vibrant, in-season produce, and a potluck is one of the best ways to show off that variety.
On top of this, having everyone bring their own dish ensures you’ll receive a wide array of nutritional contents to fill up your plate with vitamins and minerals galore. Not only will you receive the benefits of all this nutritional variety, you’ll also lavish in the wide variety of tastes that come along with it.
Whether you like meat or not, are a big fan of fruits, or prefer something more comforting (pasta salad, anyone?), bringing a dish to a potluck barbecue takes some thought. With so many options to choose from, and the need to coordinate with others to make sure there aren’t many instances of the same dish, thinking up the meal you’d like to bring can be overwhelming to say the least!
That’s why we’ve put together this list of some of the summer’s easiest, most delicious, healthiest options to bring to next weekend’s outdoor potluck. Complete with a slew of good-for-you fruits and veggies and a whole lot of flavor, these dishes are bound to be the hit of next weekend’s party. Whip them up this week and let us know how it goes!
Seen above: Toni Pons Tarbes Wedge Sandals
Can you believe the 4th of July is almost here? My, how fast the summers fly by!
We’re all about celebrating the season by embracing the colors that surround you. In the fall, we adorn ourselves in the colors of the leaves: ambers, auburns, crimson, and deep gold. In springtime, we’re all about pastels: light, bright pinks, blues, greens, and purples align with our sense of style.
In the summer, therefore, it’s all about bright shades that reflect the vibrancy of the season. Hot yellows, oranges, blues, and reds scatter through our wardrobes like the flowers that line the city streets. During summer sunshine, we dawn vibrant shorts, tank tops and dresses; when those brilliant summer thunderstorms come through, we rock vivid yellow rain boots and rainbow umbrellas.
Seen above: Ahnu Salena Sandals
With the 4th of July quickly approaching, we’re all about the reds, and there’s no better place to throw a pop of color than on your feet. Rock red during this coming holiday weekend and turn heads while celebrating America’s birth.
Depending on your sense of style, adorn your entire outfit with reds and blues to make a statement this weekend. Those who favor an understated style can make celebrating subtle by placing a hot red shoe on your painted toes to contrast with an all-white ensemble.
Seen above: Bourgeois Boheme Emma Sandal
Whether you’re spending this upcoming 4th of July weekend in the sand, on the lake, in your backyard, in the city, or hiking the trails, there’s always an easy way to incorporate a little July-4th red into your outfits. On the beach, grab some red flip flops and head out to the sandy shores, complete with a white cover up atop your bathing suit. On the lake, slip on a pair of black shorts and a white t shirt and contrast with a red belt and cute water shoes. Whether at a backyard barbecue or a city jaunt, pair some cute red wedges with a white flowing dress to really get the party started. And on the trails, there’s nothing like a bright red pair of hiking shoes to pop within the wooded pines.
No matter what adventures this 4th of July takes you on, be ever stylish with an amazing pair of bright, beautiful red shoes. You’ll stand out in any crowd!
There’s no way to completely eliminate workplace stress. Between deadlines, monetary pressures, goals to hit, and people to please, it’s a rare thing to say that work doesn’t stress you out even just every once in a while.
But the summer is supposed to be about relaxation, absorbing the sunshine and enjoying vacations with loved ones. Workplace stress shouldn’t play a huge part of your life during the lounging summer season. At the same time, not allowing yourself to be stressed is obviously easier said than done.
So how can you negate a bit of this stress and optimize summer relaxation?
Take care of your body.
In this fast-paced world, we tend to engage our stress triggers more than our relaxation triggers, which can do a number on your body. Stress engages a fight or flight response in the body, increasing your heart rate and giving you that panicked feeling. Negate this physical feeling by taking care of yourself. Exercise, for instance, releases endorphins, hormones that increase pleasurable feelings (that’s what gives you that runners’ high). Getting enough sleep is absolutely vital to mitigating stress; a sleepless you is more likely to react negatively to stressors. Nourishing your body with healthy foods can also keep your moods level and decrease that stressed panic.
Take care of your attitude.
As mentioned above, stress is our body’s response to particular triggers. Impending deadlines, goals to meet, and bosses to please can all set off your body’s stress responses. It’s important to cultivate a positive attitude towards the tasks at hand in order to lessen the stress they will cause. By having a better understanding of your priorities, you can evaluate just what should be stressing you out, and what doesn’t matter as much in the grand scheme of things. Part of this attitude shift is practicing gratitude; being thankful for those things that relax or empower you can help you get through the times when these two emotions aren’t at their highest.
Take care of your relationships.
Relationships are absolutely key to ensuring that stress doesn’t get you down. Utilize the comfort of others to help you when stress gets the best of you, or allow your loved ones to distract you with kindness and laughs when the going gets tough. Making time to spend with the people that make you happiest is absolutely essential to getting through the stress. Of course, having a positive relationship with yourself is just as important, so make time for some alone time, too.
How do you deal with workplace stress in the summer months (or all year round)?
Goal-setting is important any time of the year. Many tend to think exclusively of New Years resolutions when the thought of goals comes about. However, by this time of year, many have already accomplished those resolutions (way to go!), have switched priorities, or merely need to adjust those goals due to a change in weather and schedules.
The start of summer is therefore a wonderful time to reevaluate your goals for the remainder of the season (and even for the rest of the year!). Need help coming up with some? We’ve come up with a few summertime ideas to help you down the path to seasonal success.
- Read one book per month (or twice per month, or whatever rate you think will be slightly difficult for you to accomplish). Check out RealSimple’s list of summer beach reads here.
- Plant or grow something. Whether it’s an entire garden in your backyard, an apple tree, or a pot of fresh herbs, try your hand at developing your green thumb this summer! Not only will you get outdoors in the fresh air, you’ll grow yourself some fresh, healthy food to enjoy all summer long.
- Learn to do a push-up, or accomplish another fitness goal appropriate to your exercise level. If you’re a regular lifter, try increasing your maximum weight. If you run, try beating your weekly mileage for an entire month. Learning to do either a push-up or pull-up gives you sexy, toned arms while making you feel amazing and strong.
- Stay hydrated. It’s arguably even more important (and easier) to drink ample amounts of water in the summer months, when the weather is sweaty and the air is hot. Aim to drink around a half gallon a day for the entirety of the summer.
- Make a new friend. No matter your age, making new friends is a great way to get social, increase happiness, and have a few extra laughs. Hang out in your local park, join a sports league, or find a book club to join. New friends = new fun!
- Try a new sport or game. From bocce to paddle-boarding, activities abound during the summer months. No longer relegated to the indoors, you’re totally free to finally try all those sports and games you’ve been scoping out online. No matter how well or poorly you perform, know that you’re having fun and getting exercise!
- Try a new recipe each week. Break out your cookbook collection and fold down the pages of 12 different recipes you’ll try this summer. Alternatively, search Pinterest (or the PlanetShoes blog) for ideas that fit your fancy (and dietary preferences).
- Read a self-help book – and actually put the advice into practice. Whether its building patience or having more compassion, everyone has something they want to work on internally that will help him or her be more successful in relationships or at work. Choose a self-help book you’ve been dying to read and actually follow at least one of its mantras. Who knows what could help you thrive?
What will you accomplish this summer? Let us know in the comments below!