Nineties rocker Alanis Morissette once said that being a runner makes it impossible for her to get depressed. You either agree with this, or the thought of running makes you depressed.
Either way, running burns calories, which makes it an acceptable activity in our books. Here’s how to do it right.
Can you lose weight from running?
Running is indeed a strange pastime where those who do it regularly become very passionate about it. And those who don’t, simply don’t understand it at all.
So what is the appeal of running? This question has been asked a few times on question-and-answer website Quora. One user states that when he started running, it was terrible.
“While running, I used to tell myself that I was just going to drop dead any moment.” But then, he says, his body got used to the stress of running and he began to really enjoy it.
“The amount of space your lungs have when you run, the way you can feel your heart pumping all that blood and an added bonus of your body slimming down. I feel rejuvenated and very fit. I love it.”
Runners not only wax lyrical about the physical benefits of running, but also the mental ones:
“Before I started running several years ago, I was in bad shape and always stressed. After I took up running it gave me the confidence that I needed in life, which made me a lot happier.”
“Running taught me to get through obstacles in life and how to better deal with them.”
People often take up running when they want to slim down. But how effective is running for shedding your unwanted kilograms?
Successful weight loss is the combination of two factors: firstly getting rid of excess body weight, and secondly, keeping it off.
Losing weight is mostly a matter of what you put in your mouth. All the exercise in the world will not help you to lose weight if you do not eat a healthy diet.
However, those who exercise regularly tend to be more likely to keep the weight off.
Keeping that in mind, running is a great form of exercise to take up if weight loss is your goal.
Running requires that you use many of your muscles together, resulting in a large number of calories being burned. In fact, running is one of the exercise types that will see you lose the most calories.
This is good news for weight loss, as getting lighter is a matter of burning more calories than you consume.
Some types of exercise will continue to burn calories even after you have completed your workout, and high-intensity running is one of these, burning calories for up to 48 hours after you work out.
This glorious phenomenon occurs because so many muscles are working hard during the exercise that they need more energy afterward to recover. This is called the afterburn effect.
Running is already beginning to sound like a pretty good idea if you need to lose weight, but wait, there’s even more. High-intensity running actually reduces your appetite.
This helps you with one of the hardest things about weight loss and the reason why many fail: feeling hungry all the time from limiting our food choices.
There is another piece of good news: running has been found to reduce harmful belly fat, even if you don’t make an adjustment to your diet.
With the price of petrol skyrocketing, it might not be a bad idea at all to invest in a pair of running shoes.
|6 types of running|
|If you were around in the ‘90s, you might remember the TV show Friends. In one episode Rachel refuses to go jogging with Phoebe, because of her ridiculous running style.|
Phoebe’s running was not quite normal, but these are some popular running styles:
Base run. Pretty much a normal run of around 10km at your natural pace.
Long run. A longer version of the base run (15-20km) that helps improve your overall fitness and endurance.
Interval runs. These are short, intense runs repeated several times, with short breaks in between. These runs train your running power and speed.
Hill repeats. These are like interval runs, but they are done uphill and improve your stamina.
Recovery run. This is a slow run that you do after harder runs like hill repeats, to add extra distance to your overall run.
Progression run. This is a run that starts slow and then finishes at a faster pace. They build endurance, speed and reduce fatigue.
Running for weight loss – 6 tips
Runner’s World says that running is great exercise not only because of the amount of calories you burn, but also because of the amount of money you save.
Running is accessible to most people. All you need are good running shoes and you’re good to go, no matter the weather, no equipment needed.
They offer these tips if you are planning to run your way to a slimmer you:
- Be careful of overestimating the calories you burn on a run. Yes, it feels like a lot because you work hard, but it’s not enough to allow you to eat more.
It’s also very tempting to reward ourselves for hard physical work, but that chocolate will probably still keep you from losing weight, despite your exercise routine.
- Keep things simple when you are just starting. You don’t need to put as much thought and planning into it as athletes do.
The most important things are sticking to your calorie deficit, and moving your body more than you used to.
- Push through the pain. Starting to run might be torture, but keep reminding yourself that soon, it is going to make you feel great.
Running releases endocannabinoids, which are associated with pleasure. Hence the so-called ‘runner’s high’ that keeps runners coming back for more. That is what you are working towards.
- Make room for strength training in your exercise plan. It makes you stronger, reducing your risk of injury. Also, the more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll burn at rest.
- Drink a lot of water. Good advice in pretty much any context.
- Fasted running, which is running before breakfast, allows you to burn up to double the amount of fat. Be careful though. Fasted running needs to happen at a comfortable pace for shorter time periods.
Other health benefits of running
The human body was made to run, and the only reason it becomes uncomfortable is because we don’t do it enough. There are multiple benefits to taking the effort and becoming fit to run again:
- A study that ran over 15 years with over 50 000 participants revealed that running for five to 10 minutes a day, even at low speeds, reduces heart disease risk by a massive 45%.
- Running helps to lower blood sugar.
- Both running and walking reduces your risk of cataracts. The more you exercise, the lower the risk.
- Running reduces the risk of falling in elderly people, because it makes their leg muscles more responsive.
- We often hear that running is bad for your knees. Good news, this is just a myth. In fact, studies found that running leads to stronger knee tissue and healthier knees.
Running can also reduce knee pain, with a study showing that running was not linked to knee pain or arthritis in people with an average age of 64.
The benefits of running are amazing, but, as with all the best things in life, enjoying them will take work. And planning, motivation, dedication, and some sheer willpower.
Your starting point is safety first, especially if you have not been exercising for a long period of time. Visit your GP to find out if there are any risks associated with running that relates to a medical condition you might have.
For example, patients with type-1 diabetes will have to make provision for their blood sugar dropping while they are on their run.
Before you start, it’s a good idea to invest in comfortable shoes that fit well. Investigate running gear that is designed to keep you dry, comfortable and free from injury, and get the best that you can afford.
Remember to warm up, and then start slow. Even just 10 minutes at a time are enough when you are still building up your stamina.
Alternate between walking and running. As you get stronger, you can spend less time walking and more time running.
If you can, invest in a trainer to teach you the technical aspects, such as correct posture, nutrition and hydration.
If you are interested in getting started check out local running coach, Coach Parry and some of his awesome classes on becoming a better runner no matter what.
- The Faster Beyond 50 Masterclass
- The Running Through Menopuase Masterclass
- The Coach Parry Training Club
Every sport has its injuries, and running is no exception. However, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Do proper research to get you going, and start armed with education that will leave you free from injury – and free from those excessive kilograms that you have been trying to get rid of.