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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 14, 2019

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

1. Take the scenic route.

Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

2. Distract yourself.

No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

3. Listen to music or podcasts.

There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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4. Bring a friend.

Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

5. Accessorize.

There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

6. Compete.

A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

7. Relax.

The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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