Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise out there! It’s easy to get started and you don’t need a lot of equipment.
Even better, running burns a lot of calories, so it can be a valuable tool if you are trying to lose weight.
In this article, we’ll look at why running is an excellent way to shed those extra pounds and reach your weight loss goals.
Why Running Is Great For Losing Weight
Most people know that you need to exercise to burn calories, and burning calories will help you lose weight.
And if you run, you’ll burn a lot of calories. On average, you will burn around 100 calories for every mile you run!
Running will also keep you active as you age, reducing the chance of falling into a sedentary lifestyle, which is counterproductive for weight loss.
Running helps your body lower blood sugar levels, making the cells in your muscles more sensitive to insulin. This helps sugars move into your muscle cells to be stored as glycogen, rather than fat.
Running can also be amazing for cardiovascular health. Studies show that running reduces the risk of heart disease by almost half! If heart disease runs in the family or you just want to get ahead of poor cardiovascular health, running is a superb way to do so.
Can You Lose Weight Just By Running?
You can lose weight when running is your only form of exercise. But it’s important to know that you can’t just add a run to your daily schedule without considering other factors in your life.
Your diet is just as important as exercising when you are trying to lose weight. So if you aren’t paying attention to what you eat, your running is unlikely to have the weight loss effects you’d like. The basic premise is that in order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat every day.
If your run helps you burn more calories than you consume, then yes, you can lose weight simply by running.
But it’s essential that you have your diet in check if you want to achieve your weight loss goals.
How to Start Running For Weight Loss
Want to start running for weight loss? Here are the things you need to do to make sure you have the highest chance of success!
1. Pick a Training Plan
You can start running without a plan, but it’s going to be much harder if you don’t know when and how far to run. We highly recommend finding a good training plan because it takes out all the guesswork!
Make sure it’s aimed at beginners. Most training plans last for 8 to 12 weeks, which allows for enough time to build up a habit, get in shape, and see some weight loss!
2. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is also important, especially if you want to lose weight. While your body is naturally 50 to 70 percent water, when you don’t drink enough, your body begins to store water—known as water weight.
Staying hydrated also helps to keep nutrients and oxygen moving freely throughout your body. So it can be a valuable tool to help you perform better while running!
3. Embrace Rest Days
When you start a running program, you’ll see that they have rest days built in. It can be tempting to skip the rest day to get an extra run in, but resist the temptation! These days are there for a reason—to give your body the space to heal.
4. Improve Your Sleep
When your body doesn’t get enough rest, it’s harder to get up and run in the morning… And it can also lead to impaired concentration, poor running form, and extra hunger!
Set a dedicated bedtime, and make your room as conducive as possible to get quality sleep. Set the right temperature, and make sure it’s dark and quiet. Aim for 7 to 9 hours.
5. Find a Way to Track Progress
Tracking your running and weight loss progress can be a huge motivator. Most smartwatches and fitness trackers come with running as an activity, so you can view your stats like distance, time, and pace.
It’s also a good idea to get a running journal and take notes of each run. This could be about how you felt during the run, if anything was bothering you, if you had any nagging pains, and so on.
In the journal, you can also track your weight loss. This gives you a tangible way to see results!
6. Run With a Friend
Running with a friend helps in many ways. You can motivate each other when you’re feeling less inspired, but it also gives you someone to be accountable to.
It’s hard to get out of bed when it’s just you. But when you’ve got someone else you can’t disappoint, it becomes easier to stick to it!
Common Mistakes to Avoid
“Eating Back” Calories You Burned
Don’t think that because you burned 300 calories during your run, you can eat an extra 300 calories during dinner!
If you’re burning a set amount of calories per day, make sure you’re sticking to your calorie deficit. This is the only way you’ll lose weight—to eat fewer calories than you burn.
Not Fueling Before Your Run
If you’ve been looking for information on running for weight loss, you may have heard about fasted training. That is, running before you’ve had something to eat.
The truth is, it can help speed up fat loss IF you’re doing high-intensity exercise. But if you’re doing lower-intensity workouts, it’s not likely to make much difference… And it can actually make you feel drained and weak during your run.
Wearing Shoes That Aren’t Right For You
If you’re finding that your feet, ankles, or knees hurt after or during your run, your shoes may be to blame!
You should be wearing shoes with good cushioning that support your feet wherever they need to be supported.
It’s a good idea to find out if you have a neutral foot or if you overpronate. This will help you to decide if you need a neutral shoe or a stability shoe.
Running can be an extremely effective way to exercise for weight loss – as long as you do it right! There’s much more to it than just leaving the house or getting on a treadmill and moving.
If you get your diet right—and stick to it for the duration of your training plan—stay consistent, drink plenty of fluids, and get enough rest, you should find yourself shedding that extra weight.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.