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All over the world excess weight is a major problem among people of all ages. The primary reason why people want to lose weight is because being fat is unappealing and also poses various health risks. Obesity is taking the form of an epidemic in several countries around the world. Even infants and children are overweight these days, which can turn into various health issues as an adult. There is an increased awareness about weight related problems today more than ever. From healthy diets to calorie burning workouts, people are more eager than ever to be fitter.
While crash diets and fad workouts may not be the right way to lose weight, there are various everyday measures one can take to get closer to their ideal weight. Aside from the right diet and a calorie deficit of 500 kcal a day, the next best thing to follow for weight loss is an exercise regime. The problem is overweight people find it hard to exercise. Because of their excess weight, they are prone to getting exhausted easily. Exercising without the guidance of a trainer or coach can even result in injuries and illnesses.
When it comes to weight loss workouts most of us tend to think about going to the gym and using the various equipment and machines. We often forget that weight loss can be achieved even without heading to the gym. Running is one such effective exercise for losing weight over time. However, to get the best results out of any form of exercise it must be remembered that losing weight does not happen instantaneously. There is no diet or exercise that can make weight loss happen overnight. Losing weight is more like a marathon, not a sprint. The changes take place is slowly, so one must be patient and stick to the proper diet and exercise routine for progress.
The connection between running and weight loss
The majority of people that not only lose weight easily but also keep it off are into regular exercising. This is because it’s impossible to create a calorie deficit with diet alone. Unless you spend more energy than you consume, weight loss is not possible. Diet and exercise should always go hand in hand in the process of weight loss.
There is a popular opinion on why exercising is not always effective in weight loss. This is because of an increase in our calorie intake the more energy we spend. This often leads to over-compensation of calories and negates the effect of the exercise. This is why maintaining a proper calorie deficit is vital. A calorie deficit of a 500 is the average for any adult. The more you weigh the higher your calorie deficit should be.
Running is not only very simple and common but also incredibly popular as a weight loss exercise. Running serves as a warm up before any workout and also makes for a whole exercise regime. There are so many different ways to run that they can be combined to make a wholesome exercise routine for weight loss.
So how does running help us lose weight? Running is an aerobic exercise. Also known as “cardio”, aerobic exercise trains the heart to pump blood more efficiently. Aerobic exercises do not make you breathless because they are performed at a steady pace over a continuous stretch. Swimming, walking, cycling, using the treadmill, and dancing are all forms of aerobic exercise. It pumps more oxygen into your body by increasing the heart and breathing rate. Aerobic exercises aren’t too intense, because they provide the body with oxygen.
Keep in mind that when you sprint over a distance in a short time, it becomes anaerobic conditioning, because it makes you out of breath. This is the opposite of aerobic exercise, and does not help in weight loss. Anaerobic conditioning helps in building muscles and strength. Therefore if you want to lose weight with running you must stick to a steady pace over a consistent stretch.
Running is the natural progression of walking. When you walk in a really fast pace the body switches gears and takes to running. Both walking and running use the large groups of muscles in the body. But since running has a greater energy expenditure compared to walking, it burns more calories and aids in weight loss.
People often assume that walking and running the same distance will burn the same amount of calories. This is a wrong assumption because distance has no relationship with calories. It is the energy expenditure that counts. For instance running a 10 kilometer stretch will burn more calories than walking for 10 kilometers. Running is more intense, burns more calories, and helps in losing weight.
Types of runs
Running can be of various kinds, whether you perform it for weight loss or for other fitness goals. The normal running that we all perform is base running. Normal runs are performed at the natural pace and are usually of moderate length, within 10 kilometers. When running for weight loss, base runs are the most common. They can be performed by anyone and help in aerobic conditioning besides burning calories.
There are other forms of running as well, not all of which are done with the intention of losing weight. Some of them are long runs (15 to 20 km), interval run, which involves running short distances several times with breaks in between, uphill run, recovery run, which is a slower run after an intense session, and progression run, which starts slow and gradually increases pace.
Benefits of running
The biggest benefit of running is calorie burn and weight loss. The amount of weight you lose with running depends upon the intensity and the time you spend doing it. A light stroll at a slow pace might be good for overall flexibility and agility but it does not contribute to weight loss because of its low intensity. Base and long runs are two of the most popular ways of running for weight loss the intensity of these two types of running are moderate to high and contribute to significant weight loss if done consistently. Any high intensity exercise like running not only burns more calories per minute but is also time efficient. If want to lose weight but can’t make enough time for exercise, just a hour of running every day is a good workout.
Most people run with the sole intention of losing weight. But running has several other benefits as well. Some of them are:
Heart and lung health: Cardiovascular exercises are called so because they help boost the health of the heart and the lungs. Whenever any physical activity is performed the heart and lungs are the main organs involved. The heart pumps blood while the lungs supply it with oxygen. When aerobic exercises like running are performed consistently they enhance the heart’s capacity to pump blood by enlarging the ventricles. When the heart pumps blood more efficiently it requires less oxygen to function. This also improves the function of the lungs. This is why running seems difficult at first but slowly becomes easier over time. Any kind of physical activity when performed consistently at a steady pace becomes easier gradually because the improvement in the heart and lung strength. This explains why athletes are able to run at a far higher pace compared to the average individual without getting tired or breathless.
Sleep: It isn’t a secret that exercising is deeply linked to better sleep. Aerobic exercises like running keep the appetite in check, improve blood flow to all organs in the body, and regulate the circadian rhythm. Running has also shown to promote daytime alertness, night time sleepiness, cognitive functioning and memory. There is another connection between running and weight loss and that is hormonal balance. When exercising keeps hormones balanced the appetite suppressing hormone leptin functions normally, reducing cravings and keeping the person’s appetite under control. This leads to proper eating and weight maintenance.
Prevention of diseases: Running prevents several diseases like osteoporosis, depression, diabetes, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. When it comes to diabetes, lifestyle changes are a big factor in preventing it. Adding 20 to 30 minutes of running to your daily routine has shown to improve insulin resistance. Running also helps prevent age related cognitive illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by promoting mental sharpness, concentration, and memory. Another health benefit of running is preventing or slowing down osteoporosis by improving bone density. If you suffer from mood swings or mild forms of depression, starting your day with a run will boost your mood and keep you fresh the whole day (although it isn’t a substitute for medications or therapy).
Beginner tips for running
When a person is overweight any physical activity seems tough. This is truer in case of a high intensity activity like running. There is a high chance of injuries when overweight people suddenly start to run in order to lose weight. The heavier a person is the higher the leg of physical fitness. If they try to run without expert guidance or proper precautions it can result in injuries, dehydration and breathlessness.
Although running is easy and can be done by everyone unless they suffer from weak joints, it does not mean you can just start running anytime you want to without proper preparation. For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds and have never run in your life, you will be exhausted in five minutes even at the slowest pace. You may even get dehydrated and collapse if you force yourself to carry on.
Regardless of what your weight is, you must remember to take adequate preparations before beginning any exercise regime. The following are ten of the most important factors to consider when running for weight loss.
Decide your weight goal
You cannot be aiming for weight loss without considering what your ideal weight is. Without a weight goal it is easy to lose motivation. It is important to be realistic when deciding await goal. If you are 300 lbs you cannot expect to lose 150 pounds in a month with running. A realistic goal would be to lose 10 pounds a month. Once you have your weight goal find out how many calories a day you will need to burn to achieve that. When you know the calories you will need to burn each day to achieve your desired weight in a month, plan a diet and running regime to make that goal a reality.
Follow a healthy diet
Several people wonder if it’s possible to lose weight only by following a diet without any exercise. While it is indeed possible to lose weight only by sticking to a diet, remember that without any exercise you lose all mass along with fat. This means you become skinny instead of toned. When you exercise along with the proper diet you lose body fat but also make the muscles stronger and toned. It makes you slimmer and adds definition to your body.
The worst assumption people make about exercise is that it’s going to work miracles. They think that they can continue to binge on junk food and running will still help them lose weight. This is one of the biggest mistakes that keep people from getting into shape despite exercising regularly. Even before you begin any form of exercise you have to clean up your diet. Your diet is where you get your calories from so unless there is a calorie deficit in your diet exercise will not be of much help. The first thing to do is get rid of unhealthy food from your diet. These include junk food, processed food, excessively oily and fattening food, sweets, and aerated drinks. Increase your intake of protein rich food and healthy carbohydrates and fats. The goal should be to consume nutrient rich food to control your calorie intake. When you consume food high in nutritional value you automatically consume fewer calories because it takes little to feel full. Once there is a calorie deficit in your diet it becomes easier for your running regime to deliver the best results because there are fewer calories to burn.
Take it slow
Patience is not something most beginners have when running. They expect fast results in a short time even if that means increasing their level of intensity suddenly and abruptly. However instead of delivering results, such abruptness leads to injuries. This is especially true for overweight people. Beginning runners need to realise that running is more intense than any other forms of cardio. Therefore it needs to be eased into. Running puts greater pressure and strain on the joints and muscles, and increases the risk of injury. All beginning runners should remember to increase the level of intensity slowly.
Begin with walking
The first step to running is walking. Those who have never exercised and want to start running should begin by walking the first few weeks. Even though walking is lower intensity than running it is still an exercise and has some of the same benefits of running. Walking is the perfect warm up to any intense exercise including running. It makes the muscles and joints more flexible and ready for more intense exercise. Fitness experts recommend that the first few weeks should only be about walking or walk-runs. The level of intensity should be increased gradually, progressing from walking to running. This is the best way to prevent injuries once you start running.
Don’t run every day
When an overweight person begins some form of exercise it is normal to feel soreness in the muscles the first few weeks. That is why regular breaks should be taken in order to give the muscles and joints time to adapt. Ideally, you should not run every single day. If you run on Monday then you should take a break on Tuesday and run again on Wednesday. If you continue running when your muscles and joints are still sore you increase your risk of injuries. Besides when your body is still sore, it cannot reap all the benefits of running. You should run on every alternate day and take a break on each day in between. If you still want to exercise on the days in between, you should stick to something lightweight like walking or swimming.
Increase the distance gradually
You are not going to lose more weight if you start by running longer distances. Instead you are very likely to be injured. Beginning runners should stick to a short distance at first. One or two kilometers is a reasonable distance to begin with. As the weeks pass and running starts to become easier, gradually increase the distance. Patience is key when trying to lose weight with any kind of exercise. Remember that the pounds you put on while bingeing on your favorite food will take at least a few months of hard work to shed.
If you have been running for a few weeks or months, it will only become easier. That is when you will feel like increasing the distance or intensity of your runs. Depending on your fitness level you can easily increase you are running distance or speed. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds and run a mile in 10 minutes, you will burn more than 4,000 calories a week. If you don’t think you can run any faster you should consider increasing the distance that you cover every day. For example, instead of running 10 kilometers you could try increasing it to 15 or 20 kilometers. Remember when the intensity is more, you can get away with running a shorter distance while a low intensity requires you to run a longer distance for the same results.
Add strength training
Some people may not get the best results from running alone. This is when they should try adding strength training to their regime. When resistance training is added to a weight-loss regime, people are usually able to shed the pounds easily and also preserve lean body mass, compared to those who stick to aerobic training. But when strength training, make sure to always do so under the guidance of a fitness professional. It is also important to make sure that you let your muscles recover properly to prevent excess strain and consume healthy proteins.
When you decide that you want to run for weight loss, you must start on the right foot. This means getting the right pair of shoes is indispensable. Always remember that running in your old, worn-out pair of sneakers is like inviting injury. The shoe should not only fit you properly but should also be comfortable, breathable, and shock proof. Because running is very intense and puts a lot of pressure on your feet the shoes act as a cushion to absorb the shock and prevent injuries. This does not mean you have to splurge on an expensive pair of running shoes. There are high quality budget running shoes available for all sizes at any sportswear store. Only make sure to try out the pair before purchase. If you find that the shoe hurts your foot while running, stop wearing it immediately.
Make running the reward
If you have always loved to eat, your first impulse will be to reward yourself with a treat after completing a long run. The treat is open in the form of low quality, high calorie food like sweets, chips, pizza, or burgers. This negates all the benefits of running. Instead of making running the chore and the treat the reward, make running itself the reward. The key is to have fun while running instead of looking at it like a chore that needs to get done. The mind set with which you approach exercise makes all the difference. Regardless of the purpose for which you are running your first goal should be to enjoy the process. If you have never enjoyed exercise then slowly learn how to. Unless you enjoy the exercise process you cannot put your heart and soul into it.
Running is powerful in torching calories and getting rid of the extra inches. Make sure to take the necessary preparations and precautions and stick to the right diet in order to get the best results in the fastest time.