How Does Running Benefit Weight Loss?

running for weight loss

Running is one of the most popular exercises one can do. Besides promoting physical fitness, it’s also an excellent way to boost energy levels, self-confidence, self-esteem, and cognitive abilities.

What’s more, running is free and can be done anywhere. More importantly, you don’t need any special equipment or a gym to get started. If you still aren’t convinced on why you should incorporate this exercise into your daily routine, stick with us as we walk you through various means by which this activity promotes your general well-being, and more particularly, how it enhances weight loss.

Why You Should Consider Running for Weight Loss

Numerous science-backed reports highlight the various effects running presents to those looking to shed excess weight. The following section throws light on some of these benefits.

A Faster Way to Burn Calories

Exercising promotes weight loss since you burn more calories than you ingest. Running is a fantastic exercise option because it needs several different muscles to work together to burn more calories than most other types of exercise.

A study on 24 individuals evaluates how many more calories were expended running 1 mile (1,600 meters) against walking the same distance on both track and a treadmill. Running 1 mile on the track burns an extra 35 calories than walking while running the same distance on the treadmill burns an extra 33 calories compared to walking.

At first glance, 33–35 calories may seem insignificant. However, this is equivalent to 660–700 calories over a distance of 20 miles.

Induces Metabolism Changes

Running is one of the high-intensity workouts that keep the body in an accelerated state even when it’s not being used. This implies that even after you’ve completed exercising, your body is still burning calories. This results in an enhanced metabolic rate and keeps the body machinery active, helping you to prevent excessive weight gain.

Protects Your Heart Health

Running is associated with a healthy heart as it promotes an active cardiovascular system. When you run, your heart rate rises, putting the arteries and blood vessels to work and keeping them healthy. Regularly engaging in a run can also help prevent diseases like high cholesterol and diabetes — potential risk factors and complications of excessive weight gain/obesity.

Enhances Sleep Quality

Running for a minimum of 30 minutes regularly can yield significant improvements in your sleep quality. This also applies to those that engage in other high-intensity exercises — a short run will help you sleep better than someone who barely jogs. This is of significant importance since research links adequate sleep to better obesity management.

These benefits manifest in the quality and quantity of your sleep — you’re more likely to drift into sleep in no time, with most of your sleep time spent in the deep sleep stages, essential for physical recovery. However, there’s a twist to this; it’s vital not to run right before jumping into bed. This is because exercise prompts a release of endorphins, boosting brain alertness and making it difficult for some to sleep. For best results, it’s best to exercise at least two hours before sleeping.

Gives You a Better Appearance

Running for about 30 minutes thrice weekly can yield visible body improvements such as well-developed muscles, improved weight loss, and brighter, healthier skin in no time. Stronger muscles enable you to benefit maximally from gym sessions, while enhanced aerobic fitness allows you to take on activities that may have proved difficult in the past.

It May Help You Live Longer

This may appear as a bold claim, but studies certainly back it up. Consistent, shorter runs can boost your fitness level and extend your life expectancy. Namely, a 2019 meta-analysis reveals that running is associated with a 27% reduction of all-cause mortality.

There are numerous reasons for this — enhanced blood circulation, lowered blood pressure, reduced stress hormones, an optimal balance of good and bad cholesterol, etc.

Maintains a Negative Energy Balance via Appetite Suppression

After a long run, what do you yearn for? Yes, you guessed right; a large glass of water or some other drink that provides hydration.

Following a run, the brain is instinctively drawn to low-calorie, high-water-content foods due to the thirst experienced by the body. This significantly aids the maintenance of a negative energy balance as well as weight loss through running.

Promotes Healthy Eating Habits

After a strenuous run, your body requires good foods to help your muscles recuperate. Fueling the body with healthful, low-calorie foods rather than those high in fat and empty calories makes the body feel much better — since they avoid excessive weight gain and promote weight loss. When you religiously stick to these habits, the body gradually responds positively to healthy feeding patterns, prompting the mind to adopt healthy eating habits.

How Much Running Should You Do to Lose Weight?

Running for 45 minutes to 1 hour three to four times per week is sufficient for weight loss. For better results, running should be paired with a nutritious, well-balanced diet to keep you fit and ready to run and push yourself even further. Additionally, the intensity with which you take those strides also affects how much weight you lose while you run.

Tips to Optimize Weight Loss via Running

Sometimes, running alone isn’t enough. In such cases, the following tips may come in handy if you seek better results.

Drink a Cup of Tea Before Running

The intake of green tea extract for just four weeks has been found to boost running distance by 10.9% in men. Hence, taking a cup of green tea just before running may help you cover more ground while running.

Eat More Slow-Digesting Carbs

Because slow-carb foods take longer to digest, they keep you feeling full and energized for longer. This prevents unnecessary snacking throughout the day.

Consume Carbohydrates the Night Before Your Run

The reason behind this is explained by the term ‘diet-induced thermogenesis.’ When taken a night before a run, these carbs are digested the following day, prompting the body to burn more calories due to an enhanced energy expenditure/metabolic rate.

Consume Some Chocolate After Running

Researchers at UC San Diego discovered that runners who eat chocolate have a thinner body than those who don’t.

Consume Quinoa

Quinoa is high in protein and includes the complete chain of amino acids required for muscle growth and fat removal, resulting in weight loss. It’s also high in betaine, a substance that keeps belly fat in check.

Hit and Monitor Your Running Goals With the Strive App

It’s one thing to make up your mind to engage in running tasks; it’s another to ensure you’re achieving your desired results via this activity. The Strive Weight Loss Challenge App provides an excellent means of monitoring running indexes like body fat percentage, body mass index (BMI), distance in miles, number of steps, etc. You can also check your weight on the app when you connect it to a Smart Scale.

In addition to these, it makes your running even more fun by providing you with a platform that allows you to compete with family and friends’ fitness goals easily. Download the Fitness Competition App from the App Store today to easily monitor your activity and progress all from your Apple Watch.