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Running Just 10 Minutes A Day Can Significantly Improve Your Health

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Running Just 10 Minutes A Day Can Significantly Improve Your Health

Exercise is good for you. Everyone knows that. But all too often, our thoughts on exercise focus on the gym. This is a problem. People who cannot afford the cost or find the time for a gym membership get discouraged, stop exercising, and watch their health decline.

You can exercise anywhere

But exercise is not complicated. Even the simple act of running for a few minutes per day can go a long way towards improving your physical and mental health. If you have worked out regularly in the past, you should know this. Yes, you feel exhausted at the end. But as your heart beats, your muscles ache, and your lungs heave, you feel alive in a way which you have not in some time.

Here are some of the benefits which even a short run or walk can get your body over time. And if you do not exercise enough, here are key tips to make sure that you do exercise enough for a healthier, better you.

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Even a short run can do a lot

According to the Huffington Post, researchers at the Mayo Clinic have found that running for just 50 minutes each week “can protect the body from risk for stroke, arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and even some cancers.”

And these are just a few benefits which researchers have found with going on a short run. Running also builds up your muscles and bones. This ensures that they will be denser in old age, hold up better, and prevent osteoarthritis. Running can also ensure that you sleep more soundly at night, improve your memory and metabolism, and ward off stress.

Perhaps most importantly of all, researchers found that running 60 minutes a week adds an average of 3 years to your life. In a society where plenty of people do not exercise at all, even a short run can place you well above average on the health spectrum.

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How to get up and start running

But running is hard, especially outdoors. It is almost always either too hot, too cold, or too wet, and something goes wrong whenever you actually decide to run.

However, it can be done. It should first be noted that if you are not confident you are fit enough to run, even regular walking can improve your health in largely the same ways which regular running can.  If you have not worked out in a long time, then the first thing which you should do is to start walking regularly.

After all, the most difficult part about running really is not the run itself. It is about having the concentration and will necessary to get out there and run on a regular time for a regular length. Establishing a routine is hard, but it is super important that it is done.

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But while running should be a routine, it should not be a chore. And we all know that society makes us feel like grabbing a hoverboard for even short distances is normal. There are other, less technological ways of making running fun.

Check out what’s around you on the run

For example, lose the MP3 or iPod when you go running, and actually take a real look at the world around you. Watch other runners going by, or whatever interesting sights on the road. This can be even better if you are exercising in an area with a lot of nature.

Push yourself to be faster

Another method is to race and constantly push yourself to complete a certain stretch within a faster and faster period of time. This was a method I like to use when I go running. By continually pushing yourself to be faster, you can gain a real sense of accomplishment. Such a method does take time, as there will be long stretches when you do not get any faster at all and your body just continues to hurt. But as long as you keep at it and know how much better you’re feeling, it will work out for you over the long run.

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Smile and keep running!

With our light frame and ability to lose heat by sweating, human beings evolved to be able to run for long stretches of time. Out in the African Serengeti, there are still native tribes which hunt prey by simply chasing the animal and forcing it to collapse from heat exhaustion.

We may not run as much as those men today, but even short runs and walks can have plenty of health benefits over the long term. As long as you make it fun and keep up a routine, you can soon find yourselves feeling better both in body and mind.

Featured photo credit: Torrey Wiley via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 8, 2021

10 Fitness Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

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10 Fitness Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

“You can have results or excuses. Not both.” – Anonymous

Human beings tend to only ever do as much as they absolutely need to.

Motivational speakers call this innate trait laziness, biologists call it efficiency. Either way, the fact remains: we are evolutionary wired to minimize time and energy wherever possible.

And this is not necessarily a bad thing. If we weren’t wired this way, we probably wouldn’t have survived this long as a species.

Back in our caveman days, before supermarkets, calories were worth their weight in gold. For cavemen, trying to actively burn off calories would have spelled certain death.

In this light, our fitness excuses make total sense. Our reptilian brain comes up with believable sounding rationalizations to stop us from burning off our precious calories; to minimize time and energy.

Unfortunately, due to our present access to highly calorific foods, the fitness excuses that once ensured our survival, now send us to an early grave.

Below I’ve provided the 10 most common fitness excuses our reptilian minds trick us into believing and why, ultimately, they’re all nonsense.

1. I don’t have enough time.

This is probably the most common fitness excuse of them all.

First off, when you say you don’t have enough time, what you’re really saying is “I don’t have enough time for that”. 

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Do you really think that if you were to add up all the time you spend watching TV and surfing the web throughout the average week you couldn’t replace any of it with a workout?

A 30 minute workout takes up 2% of your day.

Don’t ask yourself how much time you’re going to waste by working out a few times a week. Ask yourself how much of your life you’re going to waste being unfit and overweight.

2. I’m way too tired to workout.

Your mind, when it comes to exercising, is like a spoiled child. If you give in to its demands without a fight, it will see weakness and prey on it often.

If you miss one planned session, you’re much more likely to miss the next. The biggest journey always starts with one step and the biggest failings always start with one step backwards.

You need to show your mind who’s boss. You won’t always have lots of energy when you go to the gym but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that counts is showing up and giving it a shot.

If you’re too tired to workout, change your sleeping habits, not your workout habits.

3. But exercise is so boring!

You don’t want to exercise because it’s boring?

So you find brushing your teeth, taking showers, styling your hair and getting dressed highly entertaining? No. We do these things because we have to. We accept them as part of life.

The people who never miss a workout are the ones who view it just like brushing their teeth. Complaining about it is just pointless. To be successful sometimes you’ve got to do things that aren’t as fun as watching your favorite TV show. That’s just life.

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If don’t enjoy your workouts, you don’t stop working out, you just workout differently. Try crossfit, martial arts, hiking, body building, powerlifting, running, or swimming. Try music. Try anything, but keep showing up.

4. I have no motivation to workout.

If you think you need motivation to train you’re already half beat.

What you really need is meta motivation: the motivation to train even when you’re not motivated. If you rely on your feelings to decide whether to workout or not, you never will. As you know, your feelings are designed to keep you caged up in your comfort pit.  Your feelings want you to be safe, not successful.

That said, there is a trick you can use to get yourself motivated to workout, and it’s  backed up with research. It’s called ‘the few minutes’ principle.

The basic idea is that procrastinators often put off doing certain things because the size of the task in front of them seems too overwhelming. By deciding to just go to the gym for a ‘few minutes’ you’ll often see the workout through to completion.

Are you motivated enough to train for two minutes? That’s all you need.

5. I have kids to look after.

One day your kids might have someone to look after too: you.

Don’t burden them with an ill parent when they have their own kids to look after. And don’t be the kind of parent who tells their kids exercise is good for them but doesn’t follow their own advice. Kids are smarter than that.

If you’re really struggling with managing your fitness and your kids, combine the two. Find a field and play frisbee for a few hours, go swimming, take a walk around the lake and feed some ducks. There are so many fun and cheap ways to exercise with your kids, the only limits are your imagination.

You kids should be your biggest reason to exercise, not your biggest excuse.

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6. I don’t have anyone to train with.

What you’re really saying with this fitness excuse is that you don’t have anyone to talk with while you train. If you’re training properly, you won’t need to talk.

Don’t get me wrong, having a training partner is great but here’s what you’ve got to understand: most people first meet their training partners at the gym. The reason you probably don’t have anyone to train with is because you don’t have many friends who train. Like attracts like.

By becoming someone who regularly trains, you’ll start attracting people into your life who also value health and fitness. You have to earn your training partners, they don’t come free.

7. I don’t feel very well.

After you get into the habit of overriding your fitness excuses and working out regularly, the thought of missing a workout starts to drive you insane. When I broke my jaw in two places the doctors told me I couldn’t lift heavy weights for three months. What did I do? I lifted light weights instead. Train smart, not hard.

At some point in our lives we’ve all pretended to be ill so we could skip a day of school. Some of the better actors among us probably blurred the lines in their mind between real symptoms and those imagined. It’s easy to exaggerate things when it fits our agenda.

If you’re really sick, I don’t recommend you train. But feeling a bit tired or achy – that’s no reason to skip a workout.

8. The gym is too expensive or far.

If you think you need a gym to achieve your fitness goals, you’ve been seriously misled.

The world is your fitness playground. Ever watched a training scene from a Rocky movie? He chases chickens, runs up steps, punches meat, and chops wood. Many people cite these scenes as their favorite.  Something about training dirty and raw resonates deep within us.

There are whole fitness subcultures dedicated to working out outdoors, and without formal equipment. Ever heard of Calisthenics, Tai Chi, Yoga or Parkour? Look them up.

If you want to put on muscle, try some typical strongman training like chopping wood, flipping tires, lifting barrels. Remember, if it’s important enough to you, you’ll find a way. Arnold Schwarzenegger made his own gym equipment out of chairs and sticks for the first year he trained. He claims he gained 25 pounds of muscle from doing this.

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9. I don’t know how to train properly.

If you’re reading this article, you’re obviously more than capable of figuring this out. The internet is brimming with routines and training tips. This site alone will give you more than you need. Read these 10 tips for better workouts, perfect for beginners.

However, it’s important that you don’t get too engulfed in the theory of ‘training properly’. Like most things in life, you learn best on the job. Ask people in the gym to show you how to use proper technique, then practice through action.

People love giving out tips. You might even get a training partner out of it.

10. I feel intimidated by the fit people there.

This is normal and everyone has this when they first start out. The environment is new, everyone there looks like they know what they’re doing. You feel like you’re in someone else’s home.

The number one reason you feel intimidated when you go to the gym is because you don’t go enough! If you started going regularly you’d get used to the place, the people and your fitness would improve. Everyone knows training improves your confidence. Just stick with it. It’s something you’ll laugh at a few months down the line.

Anyone can get in great shape. Anyone can become fit. But very few people ever do because they give in to their natural inclination to minimize time and effort.

Stop making excuses and just stick with it for two months. After that you’ll be finding excuses to workout even when you do have important stuff to get on with.

Featured photo credit: United Artists, Chartoff-Winkler Productions via Rocky (1976)

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