Running has often been said to be one of the best exercises to get in shape and lose weight. No equipment is required besides a good pair of running shoes and running burns substantially more calories than walking or even slow-paced jogging. Running for weight loss can be very successful but there are a few key points you need to know before strapping on your shoes.
Let’s start by doing some math. 1 pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. So to lose weight, you need to burn an extra 3,500 calories. If you burn an extra 500 to 1,00 calories a day – this will result in you burning 1 to 2 pounds per week. While the amount of calories you will burn during a run varies depending on your weight and length, the average person can burn 80 to 100 calories during a 1 mile run. So looking at the math – running for small periods of time is not going to do the trick. This leads me to my first point.
As we all know, losing weight takes time. Gaining those extra pounds didn’t happen overnight, so losing them won’t either. The first thing to remember when focusing o running and weight loss is to be patient. Running is a very effective way to shed those extra pounds, but it takes time and patience, especially if you are new to running. Because running can be a bit harder on your body, it is very important to start slow and work your way up. Start slow by setting small time goals – while walking set a goal to run for 10 minutes during your 30 minute walk. It doesn’t matter how slow or fast you go, just focus on running for those 10 minutes. Slowly build your endurance up so that you can run for at least 30 minutes straight. Once you accomplish that, you can focus more on distance goals, rather than time.
As you begin to build up your endurance, you will feel your body start to change. Those stubborn pounds will begin to slowly burn off. Running strengthens your muscles and the bone density of your legs, hips and back. You will also notice a change in your diet – and find yourself eating more. As with any type of consistent, long-term exercise program, your body will require more fuel. It is important to remember to eat a healthy, balanced diet to help fuel your body properly and give it the nutrients it needs to keep working.
Once running starts to become a part of your daily habit and you begin to lose some weight, it is important that you keep changing up your routine, as your body will begin to adjust. Just like with any other type of cardiovascular exercise, if you don’t change your routine, your body will adapt and the health and weight loss benefits will start to diminish. You can now begin to implement different running workouts to lose weight and help keep your body and muscles progressing.
A popular running workout that helps with training and endurance is called Fartleks. Fartlek is a Swedish word that when interpreted means playing with speed. Begin with a 10 minute warm-up to make sure your legs are warm and loose. Then run at 80% capacity for 2 minutes, followed by a slow recovery phase for 2 minutes. Then run at a full speed sprint for 45 seconds. Then go back to 80% capacity for 2 minutes and repeat. This will not only shake up your running routine, but will help you develop stronger muscles and help your endurance for race training.
The question is often asked is running good for weight loss, and the answer is yes. But it is important to remember that is a gradual process and if you are beginning to use running as an exercise tool, you need to start slow to avoid injury. Running will not only help you lose weight and get into great shape, it can also increase your metabolism – helping you burn calories after you run is done. It has also been proven to help you sleep better, make the heart stronger and can relieve digestive problems.