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Running Just 10 Minutes A Day Can Significantly Improve Your Health

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 January 5, 2021

15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

Starting a journey with fitness goals is never easy, and you must remember this is not a crash diet; it is a lifestyle. Don’t panic and think you have to do it all at once, as this will most likely overwhelm you. You may also find yourself giving up because crash diets are not sustainable.

The best approach is to make simple changes to your daily habits, and over time, you will notice all your bad habits have turned into good ones.

Accordingly to a study by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.[1] And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.

Here are 15 fitness goals to help you on your journey:

1. Drink More Water

W.H. Auden said it best when he said,

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”

With any diet, the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Drinking water will support your body with digestion, transporting nutrients to your bones and muscles, and even improving cognitive function.

Ideally, you want to drink about half your body weight in ounces per day, i.e. if you weight 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water a day.

2. Add Some Lemon and Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Water

It is recommended we sleep for about 8 hours a day, but this means we spend about 8 hours per day dehydrated. Therefore, hydrating your body first thing in the morning is absolutely necessary.

The best way to achieve hydration is by starting your day with a glass or even two of water. For that extra boost, add lemon juice and ½ teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. The lemon and apple cider vinegar will help your body with detoxifying, cleansing, and digestion.

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3. Stop Drinking Your Calories

Yes, keeping hydrated is important, but try to avoid high-calorie drinks, such as soft drinks, specialty coffee, and juices as they are full of fast-acting sugar.

Really push yourself to stop drinking such drinks, and before you know it, you will notice the benefits.

4. Start Stretching More Often

The benefits are vast and the repercussions of failing to stretch can be dramatic.

Do yourself a favor and always stretch before and after a workout. This will promote a healthy cool down, improve flexibility, and reduce next day aches. Failure to stretch can lead to injures and muscle damage.

Here’re some simple stretching exercises to get you started: 15 Static Stretching Exercises to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

5. Add in Some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

You may have heard about HIIT training because it is the big thing right now, and believe me when I say that it works and should absolutely be included in your fitness goals.

The benefits include lower body fat, increased stamina, leaner muscles, and fantastic hormonal benefits.

HIIT is where you perform an intense exercise for a very short time frame (about 30 seconds), followed by a slower exercise for about 90 seconds.

Performing a HIIT routine for 1-3 times a week will lead to great results.

6. Focus on Your Breathing When You Work Out

For the most part, breathing is second nature, but when exercising, you may find yourself holding your breath, and this can have negative consequences.

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It is important to consciously take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, as this will fill your lungs with oxygen and give you the necessary energy to continue your workout.

7. Build More Lean Muscle

We all want to have lean muscles. Not only does it look good, but it also has great health benefits, including:

  • Improved posture
  • Reduced body fat
  • Improved metabolism
  • Strong bones
  • Protects and improves joint health
  • Improved stamina

You can build lean muscle by lifting weights or through other specific exercises. Learn more about building muscle in this guide: How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

8. Decrease Body Fat

This may seem like an obvious one, but it is one of the most important steps to a healthier you. Reducing your body fat has a lot of benefits such as:

  • Improved joints and tendons
  • Lowered risk of diabetes
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Better performance and endurance
  • Improved appearance and confidence
  • Better hormonal profiles in your body

Remember, it is not a race to see how quickly you can decrease your body fat. Healthy weight loss is around 1-2 pounds a week for your fitness goals.[2]

Crash dieting or pushing yourself too much in the gym can lead to you achieving an unrealistic target, and you may find yourself gaining all the weight you have lost.

Think of it as a lifestyle, and take it slow and steady.

9. Eat More Greens

What you eat is the most important factor in a healthier living plan. It is important to ensure you are getting as many nutrients and vitamins from the food you are eating as possible.

Focus on dark, leafy greens, as they will provide you with a wide array of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants—all of which you body needs!

Don’t forget to avoid processed and manufactured food. They are usually high in fat and have minimal vitamins.

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10. Start Eliminating Sugar

Another top goal you can start immediately is reducing the amount of sugar you consume. It also won’t cost you anything, and will save you money and improve your health in the long run.

There’s no surprise we eat too much sugar, and this should be one of your top fitness goals moving forward. Cutting out liquid calories is a great way to start. If you’re looking for something sweet, turn to fruits or even dark chocolate.

Be careful to eliminate sugar from your diet slowly. Cutting it out all at once can cause symptoms of sugar withdrawal, which can drive you back to sugary snacks[3].

Common symptoms of sugar withdrawal

    11. Allow Yourself to Rest and Recover

    The workout is where you go to break down muscle tissue, and it builds back through proper nutrition, rest, and recovery[4]. It might be tempting to go to the gym for two hours every day as hard as you can to achieve your goals, but that’s not the most effective approach.

    If you don’t allow for proper rest and recovery, it can set you back a few steps. Your body is more prone to injury and even illness as you can weaken your immune system from all the progressive intensity the body is facing.

    12. Get More Sleep

    When you are deprived of sleep, you make it next to impossible to achieve your health and fitness goals. Lack of sleep can increase stress hormones in your body, and over time these can lead to inflammation and chronic diseases.[5]

    Make sleep a priority to let your body heal and rejuvenate. A good approach is 7 to 8 hours. Also, allow yourself some wind-down time and a pre-bed routine to help get more consistent sleep every night.

    13. Focus on the Habit, Not the Result

    It’s easy to get caught up in trying to achieve a certain look or shed time off of your mile, but the more important focus is on the habit that will bring you closer to those fitness goals.

    Don’t look at the scale, the tape measurer, or the body fat percentage. Focus on the habits that will lead to those achievements.

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    Don’t compare yourself to where others are; you’re right where you need to be.

    14. Take Your Fitness Outside

    This may be hard depending on the weather you experience, but the more you can be outside exposed to fresh air and sunlight, the better.

    Being stuck in the gym doing cardio while staring at a wall won’t do much for your mental stimulation.

    Try to challenge your body more by getting outside. Hiking is great and also just running and walking. Give yourself more access to nature and a constantly changing environment. It also beats breathing in that recycled gym air.

    15. Do at Least One Pull Up

    This is a great last goal to focus on because it’s a great test of strength and to see how you are progressing with your fitness.

    If you haven’t been able to do one, you know what a challenge it can be. Having the goal of doing at least one pull up will not only show you how far you’ve progressed, but it is a great way to become dedicated and motivated.

    The Bottom Line

    These fitness goals will become more attainable through the year if you’re consistent with your fitness. Set yourself a concrete timeline for when you want to accomplish some or all of these in order to create realistic goals in the short term. In fact, start making one of these goals happen this month!

    More on Setting Fitness Goals

    Featured photo credit: Ivan Torres via unsplash.com

    Reference

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