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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 August 10, 2020

Why Can’t I Lose Weight? 8 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Fit

Why Can’t I Lose Weight? 8 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Fit

It’s only natural for anyone in such a situation to wonder “Why can’t I lose weight? Why am I struggling to get fit?”

You may even want to give up but don’t!

I am here to provide you with help in figuring out why you are struggling with getting fit and will some realistic solutions.

First, it is important to highlight that being skinny doesn’t automatically make someone healthy or fit. In-fact, that’s far from the truth as a small frame doesn’t guarantee either.

However, it is a known fact that there are more health risks associated with obesity. With this in mind, losing 10 to 20 pounds could improve your health condition and overall fitness. For example, excess fat can cause inflammation and you risk causing damage to your joints and tissues. By losing and keeping weight off, you will lessen your chances of having illnesses such as arthritis, inflammation, and damaging your joints.

Now that we have discussed the importance of weight loss, let’s move on to the interesting part – 8 possible reasons why you aren’t losing weight.

1. Are You Starting Your Day with Breakfast?

Here’s the deal about dieting. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and if you’re not eating the most important meal of the day, you are probably doing yourself a disservice.

You may think skipping breakfast will help you shed those pounds. However, by noontime, you will find yourself famished, causing you to eat more during lunch. Studies have shown skipping breakfast is correlated with obesity.[1]

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You want to have the first meal of the day within an hour of waking up. Eat something that’s fiber-rich and packed with protein to carry you until lunch. Grab a fruit, a vitamin-rich smoothie or a whole-wheat toast with eggs along with some Greek yogurt.

2. Does Your Metabolism Affect Your fitness?

How fast you burn calories will depend on your metabolism. If your metabolism is slow, then perhaps it is the reason you’re not losing the weight as quickly as you would like to.

There are many factors affecting your metabolism, for example ageing, or how active your lifestyle is. If you’re not as active as you once were, you may experience a decline in your muscle mass. As a result, your metabolism slows down.

If you want to speed up your metabolic rate, lift weights and stay away from low-calorie diets.

3. Can Genetics Affect Your Fitness?

Yes, it is possible you inherited the slow metabolism from your parents or even your grandparents. You can’t control this kind of inheritance.

Unfortunately, with a slower metabolism, you will have to work harder than those with a fast metabolism to lose weight.

4. Does Gender Reduce Your Chances of Losing Weight?

Sounds silly, right? It’s not! This is a great question and the answer is complicated.

According to a study, it seems it’s a lot easier for men to lose weight compared to women.[2] On the other hand, when women lose weight, they keep it off longer than men. The big differences are where and how men and women lose weight.

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Men lose weight on their abdominal area first. Women, not so much. The stomach and hips are the hardest areas of the body for women to lose weight and to train. Therefore, if you’re a woman who wants to lose weight on her stomach, strap on binding corsets and waist trainers, they really do help.

Remember, weight loss is not all corsets, the best way to lose weight alongside wearing shapewear and exercising is to create a calorie deficit.

5. Are You Eating Before Going to Bed?

Having a snack too close to bedtime is a no-no. If you’re eating before bed, it could be why you are struggling to drop those pounds and get fit. By eating before going to bed, you’re making it difficult to burn fat.

A study conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the US, and the University of Murcia in Spain concluded that consuming food during the circadian evening plays an important role in body composition.[3]

Try eating dinner about two or three hours before you lay down for the evening. Anything less will raise your blood sugar and insulin levels and your temperature.

Snacking after dinner will also increase caloric intake depending on your snack of choice. If you must munch on something, choose your snacks wisely.

6. Can Stress Affect Your Fitness?

Some people get stressed out and they eat, but here’s the kicker. They reach for comfort foods and most of the time, it’s junk food like ice cream and chocolate cake.

Instead, if you find yourself stress eating, make a conscious effort to reduce your stress levels by taking an alternative route and instead of stress eating, reduce stress by exercising or meditating.

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Stress plays a vital role in our health and fitness, where necessary seek the appropriate medical help.

7. What if You Have Trouble Sleeping?

Sometimes when you worry or suffer from certain illnesses, you may have trouble falling or staying asleep. This can affect the metabolic rate as well and your energy levels.

When you don’t have enough energy, it makes working out less desirable. This could be another reason why you can’t lose weight.

Did you know people who don’t get enough rest eat about 300 or more calories a day versus individuals who get enough sleep?

For example: After coming home from a hard day at work, no one wants to cook. It is easier to stop by the first fast-food restaurant and eat that 1200 calorie burger combo meal. Maybe even eating that 300 calorie chocolate bar for dessert.

If you find yourself eating out often, could this be yet another reason why you struggling to get a good night’s sleep. Take away food generally contains a lot of hidden calories making it harder for your body to burn through the night.

8. Could Your Thyroid Be Contributing to Why You Are Not Getting Fit?

An under-active thyroid can influence your ability to lose weight. This condition is known as ‘hypothyroidism’, not to confuse with hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid). Let me explain.

An overactive thyroid affects your ability to gain weight, not lose it.

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With hypothyroidism, your body retains water and salt buildup. Because of this, you gain pounds, making it difficult to lose them. This condition, along with other chemicals in the body, affects your energy levels and your metabolism.

If you suspect this is the reason why you are struggling to get fit, talk to a medical professional about it. The doctor or nurse practitioner will know exactly what to do.

Summing It Up

There are many factors that affect whether you gain or lose weight. To give you the best chance of losing weight effectively, you should aim to identify and control these factors.

There are a number of benefits to losing weight and getting fit. For example, by dropping a few pounds you will take pressure off your knees and other joints in your lower body. As well as increasing your overall health condition by reducing illnesses such as stress, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Finally, remember it’s not all about what you eat. Whilst diet is vital in the process of losing weight and getting fit, it is not the only factor to consider when losing weight. You need a well balanced fitness program consists of diet and exercise. Therefore, performing regular exercise such as lifting weights a few times a week and will help meet your goals quicker.

Please use these useful tips to help you lose weight, get fit and achieve your dream body.

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Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com

Reference

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