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Prioritize Your Fitness Goals on a 5K, Avoiding Risky Marathon Training

Prioritize Your Fitness Goals on a 5K, Avoiding Risky Marathon Training

As Americans, we often think that if a little bit of something is good for us, then more of that item or activity must be even better. However, when it comes to running, the studies and research prove just the opposite — more is not necessarily better and can even be harmful. As a runner, you do not want to waste your time exercising, but unfortunately, you might be doing just that! For example, a report from the Mayo Clinic indicated that running longer distances did not provide any additional mortality benefits for participants.

Instead, consider the following five specific health benefits of training for and running 5Ks as reported by the National Runners’ and Walkers’ Health Study. Even if you don’t run like a cheetah, you can still enjoy lower cholesterol and the following reduced risks of several diseases by dialing your exercise routine down. Embrace the cardio and learn to love to run, knowing these benefits can be expected you can really get moving. Just be sure to move a little faster than a turtle!

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1. Respiratory Diseases

Running increases aerobic capacity and the efficient use of oxygen. Whether you are chasing your kids at the park or chasing down your next business deal, running can improve your odds of catching both. Although counterintuitive, running even helps control asthma in some participants because it provides overall strength to the respiratory system.

2. Heart Disease

Similar to a reduced risk of breathing problems, you can logically conclude that runners have a reduced risk of heart disease — you are literally running away from these health issues as you heart works hard to keep the blood circulating through your body and pumping through your veins. To be more specific, runners decrease their risk of both high blood pressure and heart disease by a staggering 40 percent.

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3. Cataracts

While it’s hard to envision that running can actually help your eyesight, studies bear out this truth. One explanation might be that running impacts overall lifestyle issues, such as diabetes, which can further impact eye health. So forget the carrots to help your vision, put on your running shoes, and hit the pavement!

4. Arthritis

You might have exclaimed, “Oh, my aching knees,” and assumed that running would ruin your joints, causing you to limp and feel and look older than you are. On the contrary, research bears out that running reduces the risk of both hip replacements and osteoarthritis by 20 percent above and beyond that of walkers. Experts theorize that running more effectively reduces body mass index when compared with walking. Runners who average between 15 and 23 miles weekly — well within the training ranges for 5Ks — further decrease their risk of both maladies by 50 and 16 percent respectively over those who run fewer than eight miles each week.

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5. Alzheimer’s Mortality

Simply put, a runner’s brain works better than someone who doesn’t run. Blood circulation increases oxygen to the brain, improving the connections between synapses and enhancing overall brain function. However, running will not completely prevent Alzheimer’s. Even so, at least one study shows that running is more effective than prescriptions in combating Alzheimer’s — without the nasty side effects of the drugs.

Finally, nearly all studies conclude that, overall, runners age more gracefully. Additional listed benefits include improved mental tasks, overall cognitive functions, attention to detail, decreased depression, less anxiety, increased resistance to injury and related health improvements. Even more significant — the studies indicated that the earlier you begin exercising, the greater the benefit for you and the more you delay overall aging. Not only will you extend your lifespan, but you will also improve your quality of life in general. And that’s something that could certainly benefit everyone.

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More by this author

Kevin Jones

Content Strategist

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

8 Weight Loss Tracker and Exercise Apps for Your Fitness Goals

8 Weight Loss Tracker and Exercise Apps for Your Fitness Goals

Are you frustrated by the fact that you haven’t been able to lose weight? Have you ever wondered if you don’t actually know how many calories you eat in a day? How much exercise do you ACTUALLY get, and why doesn’t anything seem to be working? A weight loss tracker can help you answer all of these questions and more.

How can we start to see results and have the momentum to keep moving forward? The answer is simple:

Have a game-plan and know exactly what is going on inside your body.

If you really want to excel at your fitness goal, then you need to have a game-plan for success. You need to know what will keep you motivated, how to simplify things, how to be more efficient at your goals, and even find what you enjoy the most.

You can start by checking out Lifehack’s Busy Yet Fit Course, which will help you get into the groove of working out, even if you have a busy lifestyle.

If you’re blindly trying to chase your goals, then you probably feel about as hopeless as a carpenter with a butter-knife. So, it’s time to stock your toolbelt for success!

I am about to show you the top weight loss tracker apps that will be game-changers for you. From nutrition trackers to step counters, these apps are sure to set you on the fast track to your fitness goals.

Keep reading to find the apps that might just shoot you past your plateau and into the lifestyle you dream of.

1. MyFitnessPal

    When it comes to the best weight loss tracker apps, this one takes the cake (The Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan cake that is).

    MyFitnessPal is the best all around calorie counter that I have found on the market. This app is free and has almost all the calorie counting resources available to you. Not only does it seamlessly estimate the daily calories needed to hit your goal, but it also gives you the methods to track it.

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    Just enter the ingredients of each meal you eat, and it will add up how many calories you eat. It can also scan product barcodes and automatically enter those calories for you.

    Going a step beyond that, this app also tracks your macros (according to your own customized goals) and nutrients. Furthermore, you can input a desired weight to track your weight loss journey.

    While that all seems impressive enough, this app also tracks exercise calories and can sync to Fitbit, MapmyRun, and other apps to measure your exact energy ratio.

    If you want a one-stop map to success, then this is it! This will not only help you develop a game plan, but will also create a flexible plan to get you there.

    Get the app here!

    2. Fitbit

      I know you’ve already heard of this app, and for good reason. Fitbit has been helping thousands step their way to health since it first came out.

      While investing in a Fitbit may not be cheap, I believe it to be well worth the investment.

      Fitbit will track your total amounts of steps each day. For those of you who are competitive, this is the perfect app to keep you moving and motivated throughout the day.

      This app can also sync with other fitness apps, like MyFitnessPal, to measure your exact energy expenditure each day. It’s a keeper for sure, especially if you’re looking for a great weight loss tracker.

      Get the app here!

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      3. MapMyRun

        This is another one for the competitive, beginner, or exercise enthusiast. MapMyRun measures the distance that you run and even tracks your route. Furthermore, you can sync your daily results with MyFitnessPal to keep track of your daily calorie burn.

        If you want to go at it with a friend, you can challenge them in competitions that are sure to keep you both moving!

        Once, my husband ran for 2 miles just before midnight to beat me in a competition that was ending the next day. Talk about motivation!

        MapMyRun is perfect for those who like to challenge themselves, love to be part of a fitness community, or want a place for friends to hold them accountable to their goals.

        Get the app here!

        4. Zombies, Run!

          Are you having trouble pulling away from entertainment to go out and run? Then why not combine the two?

          ZombieRun is a fun app that is sure to get you moving if you are someone who is motivated by a good time. In fact, you might even have such a blast you will forget you are exercising!

          This app takes you through a storyline and makes you the hero. Each level will present a new challenge to help you progress and keep things exciting.

          You certainly won’t need to worry about your pre-workout. Imagining you are the hero in the story will be enough to keep your adrenaline pumping on its own.

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          Just be sure not to move too slow or the “Zombs” (as we runners affectionately call them) might catch you!

          Get the app here!

          5. Prepear

            Are you tired of sitting down for hours and trying to strategize what to eat? This app helps cut this time in a quarter and is a great addition as a weight loss tracker.

            Simply add online recipes into your weekly meal plan (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and it will organize all the ingredients you will need into a shopping list.

            With all your meal planning in one organized area, it will be easy to find which meal you plan to make for the day. This will keep your healthy recipes delicious. You will seriously never have to fret about meal planning again!

            Get the app here!

            6. Strava

              If walking is your health resolution, this weight loss tracker might be for you. Strava is sure to get you into healthy habits that you enjoy. In fact, you might start losing weight before realizing that you’ve even been exercising.

              This app enables you to track your trails and mileage, take pictures, and invite friends to join. It is a keeper for beginners and hikers alike.

              Get the app here!

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              7. Aaptiv

                If you find yourself at the gym and not sure what to do, then this app might be for you. Aptive gives you workouts to do and instructs you how to do them.

                While there’s nothing quite like the accountability of a personal trainer, Aaptiv is a great way to be guided through exercises without having to dish out tons of money.

                The online instructors will guide you through the movements and keep you focused on finishing the workout. This app is sure to make you a gym rat in no time!

                Get the app here!

                8. Freeletics

                  Here’s one for those of you always on the move! Freeletics is an incredible app designed for people who just don’t have the time (or motivation) to drive down to the gym. Freeletics provides online workouts designed specifically from bodyweight with no equipment needed.

                  You will be surprised at what a great workout you can get without any equipment.

                  That’s right, you work-travelers; say goodbye to your excuses because this app is bringing the trainer to you!

                  Get the app here!

                  The Bottom Line

                  These 8 weight loss tracker apps are sure to revolutionize your fitness goals. Guesswork will no longer be a part of your fitness journey. These apps are like carrying professionals around in your pocket all day!

                  Get ready to be motivated, informed, and ready to start achieving your dreams!

                  More Tips for Weight Loss

                  Featured photo credit: Gabin Vallet via unsplash.com

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