There are many health benefits of running. It’s a great way to alleviate stress, keep in shape, have fun, and for some a form of meditation.
No doubt, there are a million and one reasons to strap on a pair of running shoes and hit the pavement, but is running good for weight loss?
Many people believe that running is perhaps the greatest exercise you can perform in order to lose weight, but that’s isn’t always the case.
Losing weight isn’t contingent on one exercise alone. In fact, most health experts advise that a combination of both exercise and diet is what contributes to weight loss.
But running is still one of the best exercises you can do that will help you lose weight, the trick is, learning the right strategy to ensure the results you desire. Here a few tips to help you on your weight loss journey through running.
Diet is Extremely Important
As mentioned before, experts suggest a fitness plan combined with a healthy diet will help you lose weight.
Which is why it’s extremely important to monitor your diet properly while executing an exercise routine. Not monitoring your diet will cancel out any exercise and calorie burning you’ve undertaken.
According to the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), people who regularly exercise, are generally the people who can lose weight and keep it off. Weight loss isn’t a temporary solution, in fact, it’s a lifestyle change.
The NWCR studied a group of participants who lost 30 pounds and were able to keep the weight off for one year.
Of these participants 90 percent committed to a daily workout routine and burned more than 2,600 calories a week when working out.
In fact, if you’re not careful about the fuel you put into your body you might actually end up gaining weight. One of the reasons for this is overeating after a run.
Running burns, a ton of calories and its common for runners to load up on carbs and other calorie fat food after a good run.
When runners overestimate how many calories they actually burned on their run, they run the risk of eating more calories than they burned.
A good rule of thumb for keeping track of the calories you burn during a run is 100 calories = 1 miles. So, if you run 2 or 3 miles, you’ll burn about 200-300 calories.
That’s a great workout, but the gains will go away if you eat a 400-calorie sandwich or bag of chips after your run.
Essentially in order to lose weight, you need to be able to create a calorie deficit. You should be burning more calories than your intake.
Try Loading Up on Healthy Fats
Eating fats might seem counterintuitive to an aspiring runner, but healthy fats are great. The human body needs dietary fat in order to both lose weight and function properly.
Health experts recommend that you limit the extra fat your intake from 6 tablespoons to 30 grams maximum.
Don’t overload on the healthy nuts or avocados as many runners do, instead cut your intake in half.
Pushing to the Extremes
It’s amazing the way professional athletes can push their bodies to the extreme limits. They almost seem superhuman in a sense.
But what most people don’t see is the extraordinary training and dedication these athletes commit to their sports in order to reach the pinnacle of their success.
Most people think weight loss means going full steam right away. They attempt intense activities pushing themselves to limits beyond their reach, without properly training first.
Ease your way into your new fitness routine, this way you avoid unnecessary injuries and still obtain the best results possible.
Sure, it’s nice to do sprints, which burn more calories per minute than simply running, but if you’re not cut out for that yet, it’s okay to start by a slow jog or even walking.
Once you’ve mastered this, interval training is a great way to gear up for more intense running sessions.
Try running at a moderate speed in three 30-minute sessions per week. During this session, try sprinting for 30 seconds every 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
With time your stamina will build up, and you’ll be running full speed for longer periods of time.
Another thing to keep in mind is recovery. Muscles, joints and bones need time to recover from the stress of running. Beginner runners will not adapt to just one day of recovery, that’s not enough time for the tissues in your body to come back stronger. Instead, experts suggest running every other day, or three times a day in order to allow your body to recover.
Should you wish to exercise more, try walking or other non-impact workouts like cycling, on your off days.
Increasing your distance too fast can also be detrimental to your exercise routine and weight loss goals.
Change your training slowly, either make your runs longer or make them harder, but don’t try to do both at the same time, you might run the risk of serious injury.
Pushing yourself to the limit so soon in your exercise plan, can turn a lot of people off from exercise.
Going too fast too soon will leave you feeling tired, stressed, and disappointed when you’re not seeing the results you desire.
Running at your own pace and no one else’s will help you accomplish your fitness and weight loss goals.
Cross-Training Enhances Running
In order to become a stronger runner, cross-training is important. Not only does it reduce your risk of injury, but it helps build your stamina and endurance during long distance runs.
Additionally, because running can be harsh on the joints, cross training helps you build lean muscle to support those joints.
More lean muscle mass also has extra benefits, experts suggest it helps you burn more calories as you run.
Don’t focus on leg extensions and bench presses, instead runner should focus on key muscle groups that will keep them balanced.
Many core exercises are helpful for runners. Exercises such as planks, Russian twists, and back extensions help strengthen your core, thus making you a better runner.
Many runners make the common mistake of only running for weight loss. While this is amazing, it won’t completely help you shed the pounds.
That might create a problem, as running only will cause injury, no matter how healthy you are. Adding variety to your running routine, will help you avoid this problem.
Experts suggest you cross-train 2-3 days per week, including other activities like swimming, yoga, cycling, and strength training.
Studies have proven that adding activities such as these greatly enhances your performance, while also maintaining muscle.
Older obese individuals who strength trained in addition to running were able to prevent 100 percent of muscle loss, while also restricting calories.
High-Intensity Interval Training is Essential
Studies have proven that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is essential to losing weight and shedding body fat.
Not only will you lose these unwanted extra pounds, but you’ll gain muscle mass, which will help you become a stronger and better runner as mentioned before.
You don’t have to make every workout be a HIIT session, once a week is more than enough. If you would like longer and more relaxed training sessions, experts suggest signing up for a Crossfit class.
Go the Extra Mile When You Can
While as a beginner it’s unwise to push yourself too far too soon, it is also important to remember not to get too comfortable with your running routine.
Falling into familiar habits, will likely not help you shed the pounds, in fact, it will probably be the reason why you plateau on your weight loss goals.
When you first started your running routine, it will probably feel as though all the extra weight will slide right off.
However, it doesn’t take long for your body to adapt to new activities, and thus you won’t be shedding the pounds as easily as before.
If you find yourself running the same route, at the same pace day after day, then you should definitely consider changing things up.
Either increase your speed or extend the length of your run. Interestingly if you simply reverse the direction of your running route, your run suddenly becomes something entirely different.
Keep in mind that once you lose weight your BMI will decrease as well. This means you won’t need as many calories as you did before, thus whenever your weight loss plateaus, recalculate your BMI, to achieve better results.
When your weight loss plateaus, it can be discouraging. Don’t let this stop you from continuing to run.
The Goal is More Than Weight loss
While many people find running to be a means to losing weight, there are many other benefits of running.
Studies have proven that running releases endocannabinoids, receptors associated with pleasure. Like most exercises these receptors produce a temporary “high,” leaving you feeling better than ever.
The “Runner’s High,” is an absolutely real thing. Focusing on attaining that runner’s high, will help you forget about all the ways that running might suck.
Attaining the runner’s high will ensure that you stick with this exercise and probably come to enjoy it. Weight loss will become an afterthought, when you aim for the feel-good feeling of running.
One way of doing this is changing the way you think about your runs. Instead of thinking that a running session is a chore to be dealt with, think about all the ways in which running is rewarding in itself.
No matter the weight loss goal, remember that weight loss is also about life style changes, thus your number one priority should be learning to enjoy exercise for what it is, a healthy lifestyle choice. If you think of running as something enjoyable, you’ll find it easier to do.
Studies have proven that when people think about their workouts as something enjoyable and fun, they tend to stick with their exercise programs longer.
Timing is Everything
Sleeping-in is the ultimate indulgence for many people. However, anyone serious about losing weight and running to do so, should consider getting started early in the day.
There are many reasons why, first it ensures that you’ll get your exercise in. Many people use the excuse of lack of time to justify the reasons why they haven’t exercised or lost weight.
In fact, you should always make sure to make time for exercise, it’s part of the commitment to healthy living and weight loss.
When you run first thing in the morning, you not only get your exercise out of the way, there’s no chance of skipping out of your exercise due to an unforeseen circumstance.
Let’s face it, any day has its unpredictable ups and downs, and getting a running session out of the way can help you stay on track with your weight loss goals.
Additionally, running in the morning might make you more productive throughout your daily routine. Studies have proven that running sharpens focus and enhances critical thinking skills.
Unsurprisingly, people who worked out in the morning were more successful with their weight loss than those who worked out in the evenings.
Even more interesting, running before breakfast in the morning burns more fat than after eating.
However, if your running on an empty stomach opt for a shorter and easier route rather than a vigorous one.
Sleep is King
Make no mistake weight loss means keeping healthy habits during the day, but also keeping other healthy habits.
Sleeping is just as important as eating and exercise. Studies have proven that people who sleep less were more inclined to have higher body mass indexes than those who kept good sleeping habits.
Running will help you fall asleep easier and deeper. Who wouldn’t want that benefit?
Enjoy the Heart Health Benefits
Running with weight loss in mind is a wonderful thing, however another reason to take up running is overall health.
Not only does running help you lose weight and sleep better, it also improves your heart health.
According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, runners have a 45 percent lower risk of death caused by heart disease.
Additionally, studies have proven that runner’s typically have a 3-year higher life expectancy compared with people who don’t run.
If running isn’t helping you with your weight loss goals the way you want, don’t feel discouraged. Running has plenty of other health benefits.
If you find yourself plateauing, try running a different course, create a challenging route for yourself, or simply choose a different fitness plan. But don’t discount the other health benefits that running provides for you.
Is running good for weight loss? The short answer is, yes. Running will help you burn calories, improve your mood, and generally make you feel healthier and happier about yourself.
The short answer is, yes. Running will help you burn calories, improve your mood, and generally make you feel healthier and happier about yourself.
But running is far more beneficial than just weight loss. Running is great for a variety of reasons, but the most important thing, running is great for the body, both mentally and physically.
Running also provides the opportunity of learning your community, your neighbors and enjoying the fresh outdoors.
With the frantic pace of life these days, running is a great way to decompress, meditate and really focus on the path in front of you.
Running isn’t just for a marathon runner or track star, running is something that all of us can and should do on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile and run for the stars.
While some might be intimidated about running, know that if you approach this exercise with realistic goals in mind, a dedicated spirit, and an appreciation for all the other benefits running provides, you’ll reap the rewards of this great exercise ten times over.
Just remember that change doesn’t happen overnight, in fact, change happens gradually over time.
So should your approach to weight loss and running. Take things steadily and keep your eyes on the prize, which in the end is a healthier, stronger you.
So, don’t be afraid to strap on a pair of good running shoes, step out into the world of the unknown and challenge yourself.
Running is perhaps the best way to lose weight, but it’s also the best way to get in touch with yourself and see how far you can really push yourself. Don’t be afraid just jump right in.