Running uses loads of calories and is an excellent supplement for weight loss.
When starting out running, there is no shame in kicking off with walking. Then moving on to jogging and then when you're up to it, running. It's possible for almost everyone. Over time it becomes less demanding and more enjoyable.
The immediate benefit is that it enhances your overall well-being.
Also, the objective, measurable progress is motivating.
But it has its downsides. It's tough, and when you start out, it may hurt. As you get older, you more easily become the victim of injuries. They often take a long time to heal, or even worse, become chronic.
Understand that running is not a fast track approach to losing weight. Weight is not going to drop off overnight. You won't lose 5 kilos in a week!
But it can become an integral part of a holistic, healthy lifestyle.
How to lose weight by running
If you start with realistic expectations, you won't become one of the many quick quitters.
One of the many who start with lofty goals and, after a few weeks, is back on the couch. Or one of the others who try to do too much, too quickly, get injured and give up.
When starting, it is essential to be sensible about your current level of fitness and general health. In many cases, it's advisable to start walking and then, over time, including increasing periods of jogging into these walking sessions.
A good start is 30 minutes every second day.
The golden rule is: don't increase either speed or distance by more than 10% per week. As when ignoring this rule, even experienced athletes are susceptible to injuries.
Running is not easy, especially when you start. But it does get easier after building a "road hardened" base in your legs. Many years ago, an experienced runner told me that this "hardening" would take two years. I poohpoohed the idea. That was for others, not for me. But I was wrong, and I learned the hard way that this was true.
Running is then one of the most liberating and enjoyable forms of exercise.
It can be done anywhere, at any time, and all that's required is a pair of running shoes.
Running shoes come in a wide range of designs with an ever more comprehensive range of specifications and prices.
Whether you're running for fun or training for a marathon, the appropriate running shoes provide the foundation for your entire body. It can help prevent injuries and make it far more enjoyable to log those miles. Ultimately, the right pair should fit comfortably from the start and complement your running style.
Here are the critical decision points to help you find a shoe that fits and feels good:
- Consider where you're planning to run. On the road, or trails and gravel paths? Your choices are road-running, trail-running or cross-training shoes.
- Decide if you want more or less cushioning underfoot. Cushioning—the thickness of material under the heel and midsole and the firmness of the foam—and heel drop are two factors to consider in a running shoe.
- Know whether you need a specific type of support for your gait. Most runners will choose a neutral shoe, but if your foot tends to roll too far outside or inside, other specific shoes will help you.
- Make sure the shoe is comfortable. Comfort is most important, especially when starting out. Shoes should fit well from the start with no breaking-in period.
Today even shoes may be more than you need if you decide to follow the 'minimalistic running' movement. The group that claims running barefoot is best. Barefoot running has a dedicated group of supporters who believe that inappropriate shoes and running styles cause many running injuries.
So they believe in going "primal".
If you live in a place where you can do this, then try it. It needs some getting used to and toughening up but makes one feel like a barefoot kid again.
Running or jogging uses many muscles, particularly those in the legs, feet, and back. It can also tighten specific muscles making them prone to injury.
Not stretching can result in torn muscles and ligaments. Forgetting to stretch before and after running can cause muscles to become tense and painful, keeping a runner from achieving their fitness goals.
People should stretch after every run while the muscles are still warm and hold each stretch for 10–30 seconds. It is helpful to focus on breathing in and out throughout the time.
Stretches should not cause pain, and one should stop immediately if they find any position painful. In most cases, it is possible to modify a movement or posture to tailor it to the individual's level of flexibility.
Starting with running for weight loss.
When deciding to start running for weight loss, you need to make a plan. Finding answers to the questions: "What do I want to achieve?" "Where am I now?" and then "How will I achieve it?"
I also recommend;
- Keeping a record of your runs and other exercises,
- Buying one of the many fitness tracking wearables available on the market,
- Subscribing to Endomondo, Strava, Runtastic or any of the other available fitness apps.
It's great for motivation to have a friend as an exercise partner. Who will ensure (or at least makes you feel guilty when you do!) that you both don't miss sessions. As cycles of motivation are often different – when you want to miss a session, they don't, and when they want to miss a session, you don't.
Set a goal
Another excellent motivation is to set an objective of taking part in a race in the future. If you think your resolve might dissolve, then tell everybody that you're going to do it. Then make an additional commitment by taking a few wagers!
Burning calories running for weight loss
So how many calories will running burn? As a rough estimate (it depends on your weight, speed and fitness), running burns about 600 calories an hour.
It requires about 3 500 calories to burn a pound of fat. So you can easily calculate that you will have to run for about 6 hours to lose a pound of fat.
If you're interested, you can get more details here of calories you'll burn for various activities.
Jogging or running will be just one element of your steady lifestyle changing weight loss plan.
Running to lose weight can be fun, social and enjoyable. It is something the whole family can do and always remember we were 'born to run'.