Running is one of the most effective forms of exercise for weight loss for many reasons. For starters, it’s an activity that just about anyone can do with little to no initial investment. In our article, we’re going to explain how running and weight loss works and offer several tips on how to do it effectively.
How Does Running and Weight Loss Work?
Understanding Exercise Activity Classifications
Just like any other activity, the way that running and weight loss primarily works is tied to the way that your body burns calories. Exercises are classified into two categories. The first category is anaerobic activity. These types of activities are burst exercises that last an average of two to four minutes per session.
The primary goal of these types of exercises is to build muscle and to promote quick reflexes. These exercises also build up your ability to release massive amounts of energy in a short time. Exercises that fall into this category include sprinting for short periods, weight training, and pushups.
The second type of exercise activity is aerobic. Aerobic exercise is meant to promote an elevated heart rate for extended periods of time. Some prime examples of exercises that fall into this category include cycling and running for extended periods. With aerobic activity, you tend to build up better stamina as well as improve your ability to process oxygen more efficiently.
Applying the Concept of Thermogenesis for Weight Loss
With both of the exercise categories mentioned above, your body burns fat through a process known as thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is basically a combination of various metabolic factors that are used to create heat within the body. Even while resting, your body is burning calories to create heat to sustain itself and to perform vital functions.
Your resting metabolic rate is your baseline figure that determines the number of calories your body consumes in a resting state. If you were to stay in a resting state all the time, your core calorie count would have to meet the minimum demands of your resting metabolic rate. With each person, their resting metabolic rate will differ based on factors like body composition, age, sex, and current weight.
However, your daily activities and exercise schedule also significantly impact your total calorie requirement to maintain the same weight. The way you achieve weight loss is by achieving a calorie deficit. You can accomplish this with any combination of anaerobic and aerobic exercise activities.
Anaerobic activities tend to help rev up your metabolism for longer periods of time. Building up lean muscle mass also has a net positive impact on your resting metabolic rate which can help with weight loss as well. With aerobic activities, you tend to burn a fixed portion of calories based on the type of activity, its intensity, and your current weight. When both of these activities are combined in an overall exercise program, you create a weekly calorie deficit that causes weight loss.
How to Use Running and Weight Loss Effectively
Start With a Visit to Your Doctor
The first and most important tip to remember for running and weight loss is to always start with a visit to your primary care physician. Before beginning any exercise program, a visit to the doctor is almost always in order to assess your overall health. Your doctor will consider a wide variety of factors like preexisting conditions, your age, and any other risk factors you may have.
People with certain conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes have to be particularly careful when exercising. No matter what, it’s always best to follow your doctor’s advice carefully and to the letter. This is to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself appropriately.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
The second tip to consider for running and weight loss is that you should always pace yourself and keep a steady pace. If you are already overweight or find yourself in less than peak condition, remember to start slowly. This is to reduce your chance of injury.
Starting slowly will also help keep you from getting discouraged as well. When you first start out, it’s common to experience quite a bit of soreness after each session and to not be able to complete long running sessions. As you continue to practice, you will notice gradual improvements to your stamina. You can now slowly work to increase the length and duration of your runs.
Allow Enough Time for Recovery
While running and weight loss is a good thing for many of us, it’s important to allow enough time for your body to fully recover from your running sessions. For each of us, this recovery period will be a little different. For most beginners, it’s recommended to allow for at least two to three days off between sessions.
As you progress, you can gradually decrease this down to one day. No matter what, listen to the signals your body is giving you. If you find yourself in pain still, do not push yourself and wait until you have recovered adequately before continuing. If the pain persists for more than a few days, consider seeing your doctor so that they can rule out a sprain or other injury.
The Disadvantages of Running and Weight Loss
Just like any other physical activity, running does have a few inherent disadvantages you should be aware of as well. The biggest problem with running is that it is considered a high-impact exercise. High-impact exercises are exercises that put a lot of stress on your joints. These types of activities can be particularly painful for people with certain conditions like arthritis.
In addition, running is very physically demanding and people who find themselves in less than ideal shape will often have difficulty adjusting to this exercise routine. If you find yourself in this situation, consider starting with long walks to help your body adjust before progressing to running. In addition, keeping the duration of your runs down can also help with the adjustment period as well for many people.
The Bottom Line
Running and weight loss are two activities that go hand-in-hand. The nicest thing about this exercise is that you don’t need any specialized equipment or an expensive gym membership. Just remember to start slowly and keep our tips in mind to increase your chances of success.
If there are any tips you would like to share, please post them in the comments section.