Running for weight loss: Can running help you lose weight?
Stick on your running shoes and hit the road. Running can be done in any weather, alone or with a friend (as long as you’re two meters apart). It’s also totally free, so no excuses! But does it really help you lose weight? Express.co.uk scoured the internet to find out how you should adapt your running routine to lose weight.
What is running good for?
According to the NHS website, running burns more calories than any other mainstream exercise.
The NHS says: “Regular running can reduce your risk of long-term illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.
“It can also boost your mood and keep your weight under control.”
The NHS advice is to build your fitness levels gently before attempting a fast-paced run.
The advice adds: “Plan your runs. Work out when and where (the exact route and time) you’re going to run and put it in your diary. That way, it will not slip your mind.
“If you feel out of shape, or you’re recovering from injury or worried about an existing condition, see a GP before you start running.”
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How to lose weight from running
Fix your diet
You may not want to hear this but running may cause you to gain weight instead of losing it.
If you over-fuel your runs with energy bars and a big meal, you will pile on the pounds.
Don’t overestimate how many calories you burn on a run. On average you will burn around 100 calories a mile.
Running makes you hungry and works your muscles really hard. This can lead you to ‘treat yourself’ after a long run.
It’s normal to crave something carb-heavy or sweet and sugary after a run.
If you eat a whole pizza or a 400 calorie dessert but only ran about three miles, you will not be in a calorie deficit. This means you will not lose weight.
Don’t deprive yourself of treats, but keep an eye on your calories if weight loss is your goal.
Change your pace
The most important thing about weight loss is to keep moving. Spring when you feel you can, and jog when you need a rest.
The slower you run, the longer you will need to run to burn those calories.
According to a Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise study, runners lose more weight than walkers over a six year period.
It is possible that this is due to the ‘afterburn effect’.
When you run at a high intensity, this creates an afterburn.
An afterburn is when your body continues to burn calories when you are no longer moving.
Try starting with three half an hour runs a week, where you sprint for 30 seconds and then walk for a further 30 seconds.
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The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn at rest. This means you will burn calories from simply sitting around.
You will burn more calories and lose more weight if you lift weights alongside running.
Lifting weights also makes you a stronger runner and reduces your risk off injury.
This is because muscles will support your joints, protecting them from harm when running.
Focus on the runner’s high
Running releases endocannabinoids, which are associated with pleasure and happiness.
This will make you a running addict, and the more you do it the more you love it.
Run three times a week, and gradually increase how often you run.
Enjoying running will take your mind off how difficult the exercise is, and weightloss will become an afterthought.
But, the NHS site says: “Regular running for beginners means getting out at least twice a week.
Your running will improve as your body adapts to the consistent training stimulus.
“It’s better to run twice a week, every week, than to run 6 times one week and then do no running for the next 3 weeks.”
It’s difficult to stay motivated when you have no goal, other than weight loss.
While there are no charity runs coming up due to COVID-19, why not imagine you are training for next year’s marathon.
The NHS site says: “Whatever your level, setting challenges is useful to stay motivated. Training for a race, such as a 5K, or a charity run is a good way to keep going.”
It also suggests running with a partner, which you are allowed to do if you stay two metres apart.
The site explains: “It really helps to have someone about the same level of ability as you to run with. You’ll encourage each other when you’re not so keen to run.
“You’ll feel that you do not want to let your running partner down, and this will help motivate you.”
You could also start a diary, the site says: “Keep a diary of your runs. Note down each run, including your route, distance, time, weather conditions and how you felt.
“That way, whenever your motivation is flagging, you can look back and be encouraged by how much you have improved.”
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