Running for Weight Loss
When some people decide that they want to lose weight, they join a diet program. Others sign up for aerobics classes. And others go out and buy expensive exercise equipment. These things may very well be effective, but if you want to lose weight, you really don’t need anything more than your two feet.
Running is one of the best forms of exercise for weight loss. There’s no special equipment required, just a good pair of shoes and a place to run. The average person burns 100 to 150 calories per mile when running. And in addition to weight loss, running is also great for cardiac health and muscle tone in the lower body.
The idea of running is intimidating to some, especially those with sedentary lifestyles. But you don’t have to start off with a marathon. It’s fine to start out slow and work your way up. Here are a few tips:
- Don’t try to run too fast. If you do, you’ll tire out too quickly and will be more likely to injure yourself. Run at a pace that allows you to carry on a conversation. You may have to start out with brisk walking, but if you stick with it, your stamina will increase and you’ll be able to go progressively faster.
- Run 3 to 4 days a week if possible. Just running once or twice a week won’t be very beneficial. Shoot for at least four days a week for best results.
- Once you’ve worked your way up to being able to run comfortably, work on increasing your distance. Try running five to ten percent further each week. This will progressively increase the number of calories you burn.
When running for weight loss, it’s important to also watch your diet. You’ll need to get enough calories to provide the energy you need to run, but not so many that you can’t burn them by running. In some cases, no changes in the diet are necessary, but you’ll usually need to make a few adjustments.
A reduction of 500 calories per day should result in about one pound lost each week. You can accomplish this by eating 500 fewer calories each day, exercising and burning the same amount of calories, or with a combination of diet and exercise. So if you reduce your daily caloric intake by 250 calories and run to burn off 250 more, you should be a pound lighter after a week.
Running for weight loss is inexpensive, and it doesn’t require the learning of new skills. It’s also quite rewarding, especially when you set goals such as competing in races. So if you need to drop a few pounds, there’s no time like the present to get out those running shoes.