HomeRunningRunning Benefits: Running for Weight Loss

Running Benefits: Running for Weight Loss

Running health benefitsYou want a great body. Obviously you are controlling your calorie intake, but are you moving your butt? You know that dieting alone will not get you or maintain the body you want, a plethora of studies have proven this; so what’s stopping you from exercising? Is it, that it actually requires you to do something? I guess, at least dieting requires you to NOT do something, which while still difficult seems easier in our get-results-with-least-effort type of culture. Adding a few weight loss pills will do the trick! NO, THEY WILL NOT.

  • While studies show that calorie restriction (dieting) is effective, in terms of weight loss, they also show that they are almost useless in isolation in maintaining this weight loss. Whatever you think now, a few days into your diet you will discover that self-denial and abstinence is neither fun nor sustainable over the long haul. However, exercise in combination with dieting has been shown to be significantly more successful in maintaining your new body. Exercise is the single best predictor of your chances of keeping the weight off.
  • Dieting alone will help you lose weight, including a significant amount of muscle. However, you DO NOT get a toned, shapely body thrown in. The only way to get a healthy looking, slim and toned body, is to add exercise to your weight loss plan.
  • People who exercise have been shown to attain a better and more sensitive awareness to periods of overeating and wrong food choices. You don’t crave the same foods compared to before you started exercising regularly and that’s without even trying or denying yourself. This is a gift!
  • Stronger heart and lungs. As your lungs become stronger and more efficient, such that you are able to take in more oxygen with each breath. In fact, this improved lung funtion may help improve lung conditions such as asthma, though you should clear it with your doctor first.
  • Running can help protect your joints. I’m not kidding. Research suggests that regular running can delay the onset of arthritis. The weight-bearing nature of running makes it a great method for strengthening bones in your legs and hips. Running injuries are often due to unsuitable or worn-out running shoes, not running per se.
  • Can slow or reverse the effects of aging.
  • Improved skin. Better circulation means you swap a yellow-green or ashen grey complexion for a rosy pink glow – you can’t buy that and it certainly doesn’t come in an expensive little pot of cream.
  • Improved mood. After you’ve finished your run you’ll feel more relaxed, content, calmer and less anxious. The endorphins, a morphine like chemical, released by your body cause these wonderful effects. Research shows that after running the level of endorphins may be more than twice as high than at rest. Also, running is incredibly satisfying. After you’ve run you have a great sense of accomplishment.

I run ... because I can

TWO KINDS OF RUNNERS

Those who run in an almost trance-like manner, switching off, putting their troubles and the daily grind behind them (when else can you do that?). They simply place one foot in front the other and shut everything else out, simply feeling the rhythm of their movements. Then, there are those who see things clearer, chew over and solve problems, achieve clarity and transparency and find motivation in events of their life to run faster, harder, stronger. You won’t know what type of runner you are until you start running. Whichever group you fall into, you will finish with a feeling of liberation, catharsis and accomplishment. While it doesn’t happen after the first run, by the second or third week you’ll get of taste of it.

WHY RUN?

Well, other than it being the best exercise to shed fat, it is also the cheapest. If, you cannot afford a gym subscription, don’t want a gym subscription, hate working out indoors or feel too overweight (though there is no such thing if you are exercising) and self-conscious to exercise in front others, then outdoor activity is for you.

You can go for cycling if you have a bike, but running merely requires a pair of good running shoes. What could be simpler? You can run on the treadmill, either at the gym or if you possess your own, at home. Set the incline at 0.5 – 1%; otherwise it is tantamount to running downhill. Research has found that running on a 0% incline burns less calories than running outdoors at the same speed.

If running is not possible due to weight issues or too difficult, you can still go out and find a suitable cardiovascular activity that is intense and melts those extra pounds away. Weight-bearing exercise (exercise that involves standing on your feet – not sitting) is incredibly effective in burning fat. Therefore, if you cannot run, the cross-trainer/elliptical machine are just as good and have the bonus of being virtually impact free.

 

RUN, JOG OR WALK?

What’s the difference? Walking is when one foot is always in contact with the ground, i.e. the second foot touches the ground before the first foot leaves the ground. Failure of one foot to maintain contact with the ground (thus both feet leave the ground during each stride) means that for an instant you are “floating” and immediately results in the walker becoming a runner. What does this mean? There is no such thing as a jogger. You’re either a runner or a walker. You may be a slow runner (aka jogging), but you’re still a runner. Walking at a pace towards the upper end of the natural range of walking is known as power or speed walking.

In any case, what should you do? Run or walk? The answer basically, is to either go at a constant pace you can sustain in the time available or walk/ run in intervals. Too many people start off way too fast and get turned-off from ever venturing out for a run again. It’s not supposed to be agonizing. Don’t be an overdoer.

You WILL burn calories going slowly, if you are a beginner and exercise long enough. On the other hand, you won’t burn many calories going slow, if you are very fit. That means, whatever your level of fitness, if you exercise at a moderate to high intensity you are on the right track. In the beginning the pace may appear to be slow, but only if you are comparing yourself to seasoned runners! And, please, why are you comparing yourself?

Don’t forget, most people’s ability to run well relies on music. I suggest you get an iPod or other mp3 device, and run to the beat.

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