Running for Weight Loss

If you’re embarking on a weight loss journey, then adding exercise to your routine along with a healthy eating plan can really help to boost your weight loss and get you to your goals sooner. Not only can exercise, such as running help you to lose weight but it tones muscles and can improve your mood – as physical exercise releases endorphins (the happy hormone).

Is running good for weight loss?

The NHS recommend a steady weight loss of 1 to 2lbs a week, which can be achieved through healthy eating and exercise, such as running. Running is free to do and you can run anywhere, round your local park or the street you live on, all you need is a pair of trainers and some will power. Running also burns more calories than other mainstream exercise*, meaning that you can reach your weight loss goals in no time.

You might want to use a running app to help you track the progress you’re making on your runs, as well as the amount of calories you have burnt. This is important if you are running with the aim of weight loss, as it can be tempting after a run to reward yourself with a treat, however eating high calorie food will harm your weight loss and could mean that you are eating the calories that you have just used up.

In order to lose weight, we need to eat fewer calories than our body uses as energy, find out more about how to healthily lose weight here.

Is there a running program I can follow?

If you’re a complete beginner and want to get into running, the NHS has a Couch to 5K plan that you can follow; it’ll help you get running in just 9 weeks. It’s important to ease yourself into a new fitness routine, so that you don’t injure yourself or lose motivation. It’s also better to do two runs a week consistently, rather than running every day for one week and then never putting on your trainers again. Make running a part of your lifestyle and you’ll soon feel and see the benefits.

What do I need to start running?

You can run everywhere and anywhere, however before you start there are a few things you might want to invest in to help you to reach your running goals.

  • Trainers - looking after your feet is crucial when you’re running, and finding the right running shoes can help to reduce stress on your feet with cushioned soles and the right support.
  • Sports bra – sturdier than your average bra, sports bras can offer much needed support during exercise. So that you can get on with your run without worrying about breast pain or unnecessary movement.
  • Knee or ankle supports - Running on pavements or hard ground can take its toll, especially if you already experience joint pain. There are supports that you can use, such as straps to help decrease your pain, find out more about joint supports here.
  • Headphones – listening to music may be the difference between you breaking through the running wall or going home. Music can motivate you on runs, so why not create upbeat playlist to keep you going?
  • Running app – tracking your progress, noting your personal bests and watching the calories you burn can keep you motivated, as well as allow you to set new goals to reach for.

Running tips

Creating a running plan can seem daunting, but if your hope is weight loss then running shouldn’t seem like something you can’t do. The best way to start is to get out there and try it, simply start small and build up to longer runs. It’s also important that you fuel your body with the right foods before you run as this will help you to keep going. For example, carbohydrates will give you the energy to keep going, if you run in the mornings make sure your breakfast includes toast, oats or cereals.

For more helpful tips and handy hints read our running for beginners blog post to kick start your runs.

Sources

*www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/running-tips-for-beginners

www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Couch-to-5K-running-plan.aspx

www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/get-running-with-couch-to-5k

www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/how-to-run-correctly

The distance or amount of time that you run doesn’t really matter, as long as you are burning more calories than you are consuming. For weight loss to happen we need to eat fewer calories than our body is burning, find out more about losing weight healthily here.

Yes, you can lose weight through running and this can include weight that you carry around your middle, to lose weight effectively you need to pair exercise with healthy eating. Core exercises such as sit ups can also help you to tone your stomach, if combined with running and a balanced diet.

Whether you decide to run in the morning or evening, you’ll be boosting your metabolism, allowing your body to quickly convert food into energy. In turn this can help you to lose weight, although make sure that you’re fuelling your body with the right foods, such as carbohydrates before a run to give you the energy you need to keep going.