In the current health-conscious world, maintaining a healthy weight has become a mandate. Apart from the right diet, some physical activities can be essential to lose weight. Are you planning on shedding some pounds? Running for weight loss can be a fun and easy activity to get you started.
This article will give you a detailed account of how running can help you lose weight. Keep reading to find out how much running time you need, the ideal type of running, and the best ways you can use it to lose weight.
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Can Running Reduce Weight?
Running is one of the most popular and convenient sports. Several research studies have shown its effectiveness in reducing weight. It burns extra calories, suppresses the appetite and helps reduce belly fat. People prefer it for being super simple and convenient, and you do not require any specific skills or special requirements to attempt it.
As there are no specific requirements for equipment, people often look at it as a simple form of outdoor activity. It helps you stay in shape and can be a good option for a weight loss program.
How Can Running Cause Weight Loss?
Running is an effective type of cardiovascular activity. It increases your heart rate, helping to develop a Target Heart Rate (THR). During a moderately intense physical activity, your THR should be about 64% and 76%1,2 of your maximum heart rate. Running helps you maintain this ideal heart rate and avoid facing any heart diseases.
Here, you need to keep the following factors in mind:
- You need to burn a higher amount of calories compared to the content of your meal. This is known as a calorie deficit, and it can be achieved by monitoring the calories consumed through food and spent through exercise and striking the correct balance.
- If you have recently started running for weight loss, then it is important to start at a basic level and increase the duration and intensity of your running sessions gradually.
- Running can be an effective aerobic cardiovascular exercise, which has a positive impact on your overall health. A study shows that those who run on a regular basis get to reduce the risks of heart disease by 35%-55%. This activity helps maintain healthy blood pressure, blood flow and cholesterol. Moreover, it utilises fatty acids and carbohydrates for energy, which improves your cardiovascular health.
- Running can also play a part in improving your metabolism, which directly helps reduce weight. The energy spent during running speeds up metabolism by increasing the volume of calories burned.
- It can also contribute to the improvement of peristalsis, which is the process of massaging food along the digestive tract. It increases blood flow to the muscles of the digestive organs to stimulate this process.
What are Some Ways to Lose Weight by Running?
While running can be a great weight loss program, it only works effectively when you combine it with a healthy diet and some other activities. Here is a list of tips you can try to ensure that running reduces your weight.
Follow a Balanced Diet
Do not neglect your diet just because you are considering running as a physical exercise. You can even end up gaining weight despite your running sessions if you follow an unhealthy diet. For this, you need to keep an eye on the calories you take in with your daily meals to ensure that you burn them in your running sessions.
If you are addicted to binge eating or snacking fast food items, then it will be difficult to lose weight even with intense running sessions. It is important to get rid of every unhealthy eating habit if you are genuinely committed to reducing weight.
Maintain a Gap Between Meals & Running
Running can take a toll on your health if you do not maintain a healthy routine. Going on a running session immediately after a meal can make you feel nauseous. Similarly, running under the harsh sun can also be uncomfortable for most people, making them feel dehydrated and fatigued.
The best idea is to go running early in the morning before breakfast. It helps you avoid the excessive sun and develops a morning motivation for the rest of the day. However, if you are unable to do this, then make sure to keep a gap of about an hour from your meal from the time you choose to go running.
Combine Running with Other Warm-up Exercises
It is important to combine running with other physical activities to ensure that you receive the best results. Most people think that running is a simple outdoor activity. However, in reality, it can take a toll on your body if you neglect warm-up activities.
There are various fun and simple warm-up exercises that you can attempt before and after running. Make sure to attempt these instead of starting to run directly. If you neglect these, then you might experience pain and aches in the joints of your body, making it difficult to run the next day. Some of these are listed below:
- Jumping jacks
- Spot jogging
- Hip rotation
- Knee circle
- Forward skip
- Shoulder rolls
- Leg swings
As you start to run, focus on a casual and comfortable jog, and set realistic starting points and objectives. Prior to increasing the intensity, pay attention to your respiratory rate and become accustomed to jogging, while resting in between, if necessary. Your breathing can become more effective while you’re running, just by engaging in the belly and rhythmic breathing.
Your body might lose moisture rapidly while running, as it keeps sweating. Thus, dehydration can be a common problem here. It can cause major exhaustion and fatigue, causing you to feel dizzy while running. You need to carry a portable water bottle when going on a run and constantly keep drinking water to keep your body hydrated.
Apart from fatigue, you are also likely to feel hungry if your body is dehydrated. As a result, you might fall prey to binge eating or snacking, which will cause weight gain. Thus, it is important to drink plenty of water and liquid while running.
Increase the Intensity of Sessions Slowly
If you are new to running as a weight loss method, then you need to be careful about the intensity of the sessions. You can start with walking initially, and then move to small jogs before starting full-fledged running. Moreover, you should keep a record of the duration and distance covered in your first week to compare it later.
Slowly, once your body is adjusted to this sport, you can increase the intensity and duration of the sport. For instance, if you previously took a single round of your neighbourhood in the first week, then consider 2-3 rounds by the next few weeks. This way, you can increase the intensity of your sessions.
How Much Do I Need to Run for Weight Loss?
It usually depends on your weight and plans for weight loss to determine how much running is required. Ideally, adults should run for about 150-300 minutes weekly. Running for about 30-40 minutes a day will help you meet this goal. Adding strength training can improve weight loss goals and prepare your muscles for the demands of running.
How Much Weight Can You Reduce by Running?
Compared to other physical exercises, running is a great activity to reduce weight by burning calories. Many muscles are working at the same time when you are running, which stimulates weight loss. Usually, a pound of fat contains 3,500 calories. Running one mile can burn up to 100 calories on average. However, it is important to note that this figure is an estimate, and it varies from one individual to another. Their overall weight, fat content and health conditions play a part here.
What are the Types of Running that Helps to Lose Weight?
Here are some of the different types of running you can consider for losing weight:
- Base Runs: With this type, you run at a normal pace throughout the session. It can be for both short and long-running sessions based on your comfort level.
- Long Runs: As the name suggests, this is a long-running session, which can be for about 10-15 km. Keeping a slower pace can be helpful in continuing such a session.
- Uphill Runs: This type of running session takes place in a hilly area or elevated path. You can start with running around trails and foothills, take short breaks and walk for a while before starting the running session again.
- Interval Runs: This type of running can be ideal if you are new to this sport. It includes short periods of high-intensity running, combined with low-intensity running and walking, while taking rest in between. You can go for shorter and repeated sessions while taking short intervals.
- Recovery Runs: This type of run comes after your session is done for the day. You are likely to lower your speed as your body is exhausted from the session.
Here are a few accessories and equipment you can consider for staying fit and motivated:
- A pair of comfortable shoes and socks
- Water sippers
- Headphones if you enjoy music while running
- A waist bag to keep your belongings
- SOS medication
- Change of clothes (if necessary)
Hopefully, that gives you a better understanding of running as a useful sport if you are planning to lose weight. However, it is important to be cautious if you have had recent injuries or are suffering from, heart disease or hypertension (High BP), as running can have side effects. In general, running is an easy and effective sport, which helps you burn calories and maintain a healthy weight.