This is a bit of a #HumbleBrag post. Last year I decided that my New Year Resolution was to be more consistent with my running routine and to help raise more money for charity. I successfully ran more miles than any year prior and did it on a consistent basis. One of the main reasons I was able to achieve this goal was because I joined the Hogwarts Running Club. You can see my previous post about how virtual running clubs can help you achieve your goals, here.
Last year I tracked 635 miles on the charity miles app. That equates to $158.75 donated to Stand Up To Cancer simply because I used the app to track my miles as I ran. All of these miles I put in throughout the year also counted to the Hogwarts Running Club house cup. That was a little motivation to continue to get in miles week in and week out. I knew that running, even just a few miles, was helping out the team.
Throughout the year I also joined in on all the Hogwarts running club events and achieved #PerfectPrefect status. There were 6 virtual race, varying in distances, and a challenge event. All of these cost $25, with $20 of those entry fees going to charities. The charities that the club worked with last year were US Quidditch, Limbs For Life, To Write Love On Her Arms, The Harry Potter Alliance, Mission K9 Rescue, Back On My Feet, and Antarctica South. All the names listed below were part of the Hufflepuff house team that I was on and were also perfect prefects. Between all of us we helped raised a combined $506,546.60 for these charities! On top of all these races, I also donated some race fees to the Luna Fund. That is a fund that allows runners, who cannot afford the registration fee, to sign up and partake in the festivities.
So I hit my goal last year, now what?! Keep going! This year I am continuing my moment and looking to hit a new goal. I’ve preregistered for all of these Virtual Races and will be a perfect prefect again in 2018. My new goal for this year is to hit 1000 Charity Miles. I’ve signed up for the 1000 Mile Challenge through I Love To Run and I’m already on a good pace to achieve the goal. It seems like a lot of miles, but when broken down, it comes out to roughly 2.7 miles per day. This should not be a problem for me as the shortest distance I run is 3 miles. The tricky part will be making sure to stay consistent throughout the entire year. I’m using a wall calendar and a running journey to help track my progress and keep me on pace. The key to hitting goals is to keep them attainable and to make sure you have a solid plan.
———- Work Hard and never give up! Earn everything ———-
———- Motivation will fade — Remember your why ———-
———- Change is the key to success ———-
———- You control where you end up. What path will you take? ———
———- Believe in yourself. You are worth it ———-
Neck pain? Back pain? Rounded shoulders? Head tilted down? Any of these sound familiar? In today’s technological society, we are almost always staring down on our devices. We work 8-5 jobs where we sit in front of a computer for most of the day. We are addicted to our smartphones and are always tilting our heads down to look at the phone. These are things that will not change and will only be getting worse as technology advances. Unfortunately, it leads to terrible posture and can potentially lead to help problems. According to surgeons and spine experts, the head weights about 10-12 pounds. When you constantly lean your head forward and down to look at your phone it equates to a 60 lb weight pulling on the spine. This is why we are starting see so many more back, spine, neck, and head injuries and soreness from something as simple using a smart phone and getting angry at twitter. So what should you do to fix or counteract these issues? Here are some helpful tips that I’ve used to fix my posture and improve my fitness levels.
- Good news! You are already here looking at ways to fix your posture. That is the first step. In order to fix your posture, you need to be aware of the problem in the first place. Constant thought and consideration for how you are standing or sitting is needed in order to fix your posture. Simply remember to keep your shoulders back and head up straight is the best way to initiate the change to improve your posture
- Alignment: Think about your body on X-Y Axis. Your shoulders, ears, elbows, and hips should all be aligned as if it was a Y-Axis. Your shoulders should also be horizontally even on the X-Axis. By using this visualization, you will start to see how much you need to change and improve on the posture. Keep this in mind when you are practicing improvement of the posture
- Pull your shoulders back, roll your hips forward and look straight ahead: Everyone’s posture is different but oftentimes, these simple tricks will get you closer to a true, natural posture. Whenever you start to notice your posture is slipping, take a minute to really focus on these three areas and concentrate on keeping everything aligned.
- Strengthen your Core! Core (front and back) strength is essential to proper posture. Here are a few core exercises that you can do in less than 10 minutes on a daily basis that will prove wonders for you core strength and, in turn, your posture.
- Planks: Both high and low planks are amazing for full core and back strength. Take a few minutes each day to hold a high plank. Don’t worry about how long you hold it for, just make sure your form is perfect and hold it until you can no longer howl perfect form. Best thing about planks is you can do them pretty much anywhere. You can even do them at work. Find and isolated area and hold. It’s a great way to get the blood flowing when the day feels like it is dragging along.
- Superman: This is a great one for your lower back, which is a key area to strengthen for better posture. Lay flat on your stomach with your hands extended out in front of you. Lift your legs and chest off of the ground and hold for 5-10 seconds. Then return back to the ground and rest for 5-10 seconds. Repeat until failure. As your back gets stronger, you can add in a medicine ball to lift with your arms. This will add more weight forward and help strengthen your upper back as well as your lower back.
- Leg Lifts: This exercise is great to strengthen your lower core muscles. This area is key to help keep your hips forward (an area that is typically not thought of having an impact on posture). Lay flat on your back with your hands by your side. Lift your legs about 6-inches to a 1-foot off the ground and hold until failure. Drop your legs and rest for 15-20 seconds. Then repeat until failure.
- Office Equipment: If you work an office job like me, then you spend most of your day sitting in front of the computer and killing your posture. One easy way to help fix the posture while sitting at the desk is to sit all the way forward in your chair. Also, align the computer monitor’s height to the same level as your eye-level when looking straight ahead. Other options to fix your posture at your desk it to get two things. Get a standing desk that can be raised and lower. This will allow you to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. Your muscles will get sore if you stay in either position too long. Alternating between standing and sitting will allow your muscles to stay fresh and not get tired and lose posture throughout the day. The other item you should get is an Exercise Ball/Yoga Ball for a chair. This will help your posture because it will force you to sit up straight and not slouch.
- Posture Brace: A great tool to help you improve you posture! A posture brace will help keep your shoulders back and chest forward. I have one that I will typically wear for a few hours a day when I am at home doing chores or if I am running errands. A brace is great during these monotonous activities where we aren’t focusing on making sure our posture is aligned. During these activities, we are just going through the activities and trying to get them over as quickly as possible.
Hope you find these tips and exercises useful. If you have any other tips or tricks that you find work well for you, please feel free to comment below!