Running for weight loss is an effective strategy, but only if you run far enough and for long enough – a sprint to the shops won’t do you any good!
Running is probably the exercise that people take up most often to lose weight. Pretty much everyone that has ever tried to lose weight will have gone for a jog at least once!
Whether on the street, in the countryside or on the treadmill at the gym, running is probably the most popular of aerobic exercises.
And rightly so. It’s an extremely effective way to burn body fat if you follow a few simple principles and stick with it.
We have plenty of friends who’ve decided to run or jog as part of their commitment to get in shape.
They’ve got up in the morning, put on a t-shirt and shorts, pulled on a pair of running shoes and hit the pavement.
10 minutes later they’re whacked and worst of all…the scales haven’t budged an ounce!
Daily Running for Weight Loss
People have all sorts of unrealistic expectations as to what exercise will do for them.
For some, it seems that the simple act of investing in a gym membership should automatically knock 10lbs off their weight…the fact that exercise takes time, patience, discipline and a lot of hard work escapes them.
Running for weight loss is no different.
How Effective is Running for Weight Loss…?
Good question! Basically, running, jogging, walking…they all burn around 100 calories a mile for the average person.
Now, a 120lb woman will probably burn around 80 calories a mile. A 180lb man around 120 calories, simply because he has more weight to carry around and hence burns more calories in the process.
One of the great ironies of running for weight loss is that the more you run, the more weight you lose…but the fewer calories you burn a mile!
Simply because the fitter you get, the more energy efficient your body becomes and the less weight you have to move.
Now running is a highly effective way to burn body fat, but it’s not a quick process.
For instance, a three mile run will take around 20-30 minutes for a reasonably fit jogger. That’s about 300 calories in total.
Five runs a week equals 1,500 calories. There’s 3,500 calories in a pound of fat meaning that five, three mile runs a week will burn less than a pound of fat a fortnight.
See what we mean about patience?
Now let’s qualify that. Your body doesn’t just stop burning calories when you stop running. Your metabolic rate gradually drops back to normal over a period of hours so that you may burn an extra 100-200 calories after a three mile run.
The good thing about aerobic exercise, though, is that most of the calories you burn doing it are from body fat.
The exact process is shown out on our page on aerobic exercise. Suffice to say that approximately 70% of the calories burnt running are fat calories.
Running for Weight Loss – How Much is Enough…?
Ideally, you should aim for runs of around 30 minutes or more in which you cover 3-5 miles.
It takes a few minutes for your body to get into fat burning mode when you start running during which you burn mainly carbs.
Once you get into a rhythm, your body switches to its fat burning metabolism. As long as you stay at a steady pace, it will continue to burn mostly fat.
Speed up and it switches to burning mostly carbs.
The lesson being that moderate paced ‘jogs’ of 30 minutes or more will burn the most fat! They’re also the most effective types of running for weight loss.
You’ll also find that as your body adapts to the running, your aerobic fitness increases and you’ll be able to run further at a faster pace whilst still burning mostly fat.
This is the key to weight loss as five miles in 30 minutes burns nearly twice as many calories as 3 miles in 30 minutes.
I used to run every day and it took a painful case of shin splints for me to realise the error of my ways!
3-5 times a week is sufficient. If possible, don’t run on more than two consecutive days so your body has time to recover and adapt between runs.
Exercise is the trigger to increasing your fitness. Your body actually gets fitter whilst you’re resting.
Insufficient rest between workouts will leave you tired and you’ll struggle to improve your stamina.
Running for Weight Loss Takes Time – but Delivers Big Time…
So, there you have it. Running for weight loss works, but you need to give it time to work. Believe me, the results are worth it.
I bumped into a work colleague I hadn’t seen for 4 or 5 months a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t recognise her.
From 20lbs overweight and out of shape, she was now lean, tanned and looked in great shape.
I asked her what she’d been doing to bring about the transformation. “Running”, she replied. No special diet or slimming pills.
She’d simply gone out 4 nights a week and run. She’d entered a half marathon and that was the goal she’d set herself.
To run 13 miles in less that two hours.
When people play at exercise, whether running, weight training or whatever, they pretty soon get distracted as getting fit is tough.
It requires discipline and determination.
However, make exercise a habit, build it into your weekly routine and you’ll reap the benefits in terms of fitness and weight loss.
Running for weight loss is a proven strategy for achieving the shape that you want.
Buy a decent pair of running shoes, mark out a route and get running. Trust me, be patient and it will be worth it.