One of, if not the most popular way to lose weight is by running. One needs only to enter a gym environment at peak times to see every treadmill occupied. Many gyms even go so far as to put a ‘maximum time allowed’ policy on each treadmill!
However, the real beauty of running is that it doesn’t even need to be done in a gym!
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits..
Effective – For most, the activity of running will raise the heart rate considerably! Maintaining this increased heart rate for at least 20 minutes will lead to fat loss so long as your body isn’t used to it and is experiencing progressive overload. (See ‘Measurables’ below for more info)
Accessibility – Running is accessible to everybody. You don’t even need to go to the gym to run! Everybody can jog or run (or at the very least take a brisk walk) depending on your fitness level.
Variety – Many types of training can be done when you are running to lose weight. HIIT, Low intensity cardio, brisk hill walking. The variety will keep you stimulated, engaged and motivated. This also means that trainees of all fitness levels can see results with running.
Measurables – There are many measurables that you can adjust when running to lose weight in order to ensure your body is achieving progressive overload with every workout. Doing this will mean that you are constantly achieving results. Adjustments such as increased speed, duration, distance, intervals, calories and incline can be made to keep progressing.
Cost-Effective – As you can walk, jog or run outside, this activity is completely free!
Sports – Running is also involved in many sports that you can take part in as a hobby. If you enjoy sports such as football/soccer, basketball, athletics etc you can incorporate them into your training!
What are the things to watch out for if you’re running to lose weight?
If you have any joint pains such as knee pain or lower back pain, the impact of running might effect these area’s. (depending on the severity of the injury). This can be minimized by carefully purchasing good running shoes that cater to the shape of your feet.
Also, cutting down on the speed may ease the impact on your joints. You can adjust the angle of the treadmill to compensate and give you a similar intensity. Remember the other measurables? This is where they come into play. Decreasing your speed isn’t the end of the world because you still have the angle, intervals and duration to play with. Increasing these can compensate for the speed decrease.
I’d also suggest using a weights/resistance routine in conjunction if you’re running to lose weight. If not, you will be sacrificing muscle as well as burning fat and this will slow down your metabolism! Something we don’t want! At the very least, if you don’t have a gym membership, use a body-weight program/exercises (callisthenics) to maintain as much muscle mass as possible.
With all of these positive aspects it’s no surprise that running to lose weight is as popular as it is! As long as the proper precautions and safety measures are taken, running can be an enjoyable way to get fit and burn fat.
Remember – If you’ve never experienced exercise of at least a moderate intensity, the saying ‘walk before you run’ rings ever true!