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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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Published on July 18, 2019

11 Best Core Strengthening Exercises to Do At Home

11 Best Core Strengthening Exercises to Do At Home

No matter where you are in your fitness journey, chances are you wouldn’t mind a little more definition in your midsection.

Whether you have a six pack or a beer belly, those abs could probably be a little bit sharper. Not to mention developing better core strength is hugely important when it comes to improving your overall strength and athleticism, as well as protecting you from injuries.[1]

The good news? Your abs and core muscles can handle a lot of training.

While most of your muscle groups do best with just two training sessions per week,[2] you can hit your abs every other day to great effect. You don’t even have to leave the house!

Here’s my guide to the 11 best core strengthening exercises you can do at home with no equipment.

1. Planks

Let’s start with the mother of all core-strengtheners, the plank.

Planks not only work your abs and obliques, they challenge those core muscles deep inside your body that help promote stability and power. They can also reduce back pain and improve your balance and posture.

Get down into pushup position, feet behind you, hands under your shoulders. Lock out your arms and legs, squeeze your core muscles, and hold your body stiff (like a plank!) for as long as you can.

For a more challenging variation, try a forearm plank with your arms out in front you. Lay your forearms on the ground for support, with your elbows under your face rather than aligned with your shoulders.

2. Side Planks

To hit your obliques even harder, try this challenging variation: the side plank.

From plank position, rotate onto one side. Prop yourself up on your elbow and one foot with your body straight and stiff.

Don’t forget to squeeze your core as you hold this position for as long as you can.

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Switch sides and repeat to avoid creating muscle imbalances.

3. Reverse Crunches

The regular stomach crunch is a fine exercise, but when it comes to abs and core strength, you’ll want to opt for moves that are a lot more challenging.

When you can crank out 50 crunches without a problem, it’s probably time for something new.

The reverse crunch packs a wallop for your lower abs and can be done anywhere, anytime, just like the standard crunch.

Lay on your back with knees bent in crunch position. Place your hands flat on the ground by your side and lift your pelvis, bringing your knees up toward your face, then back down again.

Engage your lower ab muscles to do the work, not your back. Repeat for a few sets of 12-20 reps.

4. Flutter Kicks

The lower abs are a problem area for a lot of people, so we’ll want to work them hard.

If that sounds like you, flutter kicks are just what the doctor ordered.

Lay flat on your back in leg raise position, hands at your sides or pressed into the floor. Raise your legs together about 6 inches off the floor, then alternate lowering one and raising one a few inches in rapid succession.

It should look like you’re kicking the air, and it should give you quite a burn in your abdominal area.

5. Arms High Sit-Ups

Imagine a crunch, but way harder!

Lay down on the ground in sit-up position, knees bent, feet flat on the floor in front of you.

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Raise your arms up to the sky and keep them elevated as you perform a few sets of sit-ups.

Engaging your arms in this way makes the move extraordinarily difficult and taxing. You’ll get a lot more mileage out of this move versus traditional crunches.

6. L-Sits

The L-Sit is outrageously difficult to perform well, but if you can build your strength here, the benefits are phenomenal.

To perform an L-Sit, you’ll need a stable surface to press off of. You can do them on the floor, but it’s a little easier if you can elevate yourself on a pair of dumbbells, two sturdy chairs, or a similar apparatus.

Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Lock your arms in place at your sides, palms on the ground or surface, and press. Bring your legs into the air, perpendicular to your upper body, using the tension from your locked arms.

Hold this position as long as possible for an intense strength building workout.

7. Stomach Vacuums

And now for something different!

It’s easy to work your front-facing abdominal muscles, but there is another muscle group in your core that’s frequently overlooked: The transverse abdominis.

This muscle isn’t visible through your skin, but it’s incredibly important in stabilizing your body, creating good posture, and holding your belly in tight to your spine.

To strengthen this muscle and get a flatter stomach, try stomach vacuums.[3]

Standing straight and tall. Exhale all of the air out of your body and simultaneously pull your belly in tight. Imagine sucking your belly button back into your spine.

You’ll feel the transverse abdominis engage. Hold as long as possible, rest and then repeat.

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8. Star Planks

Planks are too effective to not utilize multiple variations of them in your routine.

The star plank engaged similar muscles to the traditional plank, but is a lot harder to hold for time.

From the push-up or standard plank position, walk your feet out wide and your hands, as well.

Your body should form an X position. Elevate your core off the ground, squeeze tight, and hold for as long as possible.

9. Boat Pose

Yogis know all about core strength, so if you want a tighter tummy, you should take a page out of their playbook.

Boat pose is an extremely difficult isometric hold that builds exceptional balance and core power.

Star in sit-up position. Crunch yourself up toward your knees, then lift your feet off the floor until they’re about level with your face. Balance on your butt, squeeze your core, and hold this position as long as you can.

Your body should form a V with the only point of contact being your butt on the ground. Holding boat pose should be extraordinarily challenging!

10. Mountain Climbers

Ab work alone won’t shred stomach fat. But when you combine abs and cardio, that’s when you’re onto something magical.

Mountain climbers fit the bill if you’re looking to blast your core and also work up a good sweat.

Get down into plank position. With your arms locked and your body tight, drive one knee at a time off the floor, up toward your chest, and then back to its original position. Repeat in quick succession.

It should look like you’re climbing a hill, and it should exhaust you in a matter of seconds!

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11. Russian Twists

Finally, let’s give the obliques a little more love.

Get down into sit-up position and perform a crunch toward your knees. From here, lean back so your torso is at a 45 degree angle to the floor, clasp your hands in front of you, and twist side to side in rapid succession.

You’ll feel your obliques engage after just a few reps.

For a more difficult variation, lift your feet off the floor similar to boat pose while perform the move, or perform the twist using a heavy medicine ball for added resistance.

The Bottom Line

The biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to six-pack abs is a low body fat percentage. That’s best accomplished by sticking to a smart diet and building your fully body strength.

However, if you want to improve your athleticism, overall strength, or even your longevity, you can afford to work your abs a bit more frequently — 3-4 times per week is perfect.

If you hit them hard enough, you’ll probably see some great improvement in definition as well!

Cranking out endless crunches is one way to go about core training, but there are so many better and more challenging moves you can try without ever having to leave your living room.

Give them a shot!

Featured photo credit: Luis Quintero via unsplash.com

Reference

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