Getting adequate physical exercise is one of the prime ways to shed some of those extra pounds that you have been harbouring. Any form of exercise will do in such cases but one of the best ways to go about it is to run. Running is one of the surest ways to lose weight because it helps in burning off calories very efficiently.
To start with, a running habit does wonders for your health in ways other than just losing weight. If you are looking to get rid of extra weight, you should start running right away. If you already are a runner but looking to lose more weight, a few simple modifications in your running habits can help you get there.
A. How is running a good way to lose weight?
Of all the various ways of exercising, running is one of the simplest and most effective. Following are a few reasons that make running a suitable option for weight loss:
- Runner’s high
It is common knowledge that a good run can trigger a wave of euphoria to wash over you. This happens because running leads to the release of endorphins and other brain chemicals that give you a sensation of being high. This is a sensation that you start to crave, making you enjoy the exercise, and soon you will end up wanting to go back for another run.
If you don’t enjoy a particular exercise, you will obviously not stick to it and it will lead to failure. This is why it is a good idea to inculcate a running habit as you will start to find it to be a pleasing way for you to lose weight.
- Post run weight loss
Running works to help you lose weight even when you’re at rest. Running is a high intensity ‘workout’ that encourages more “after-burn” of calories than other forms of low-intensity exercises, such as walking. This means that even when you compare running with walking the same given distance, running will yield greater loss of weight. Studies have shown that in a long term comparison of walkers and runners, running led to increased weight loss (about 90 percent more) as compared to walking the same distance. This happens because your resting energy that is spent remains at a high level after you have been for a run.
- Ease and convenience
Running is essentially the simplest form of exercise. You do not have to be an athlete to run. You do not need special help or guidance to run but can go ahead and do it on your own. You can also go for it anywhere you are. There is no need for any kind of equipment apart from a pair of running shoes to run.
Running is completely inexpensive; it is easily accessible, with no impediments to charting out a routine. This holds true even when you are away travelling.
For all of these reasons, running is regarded as the best form of workout for easy and effective weight loss.
It is, however, important to keep in mind certain factors when you decide to start running. First time runners are prone to making basic mistakes that may lead to injuries or disorders. Running for weight loss requires you to take certain measures for the exercise to be effective. All you have to do is avoid a few common mistakes in order to stay on track and lose that excess weight smoothly and successfully.
B. What are the mistakes that should be avoided while running for weight loss?
Some of the common mistakes that people tend to make while running to lose weight are as follows:
- Not following a schedule
Sticking to a well planned training schedule that is tailored to your lifestyle is a simple way to stay motivated to run. With a schedule, you will know exactly what to do every day and it will be difficult to skip or postpone workouts. This increases the effectiveness of the exercise as each run builds on the next.
- Not eating right
When you start running, it is mandatory to modify your diet accordingly. Runners often find that they feel hungry at all times, which makes it a good idea to plan snacks and meals in the right manner in order to avoid going overboard.Some runners will also find that they have put on some weight or hit a weight loss wall despite their regular running and training. There are ways to keep that from happening and one such way is to keep a track of all the food that you consume. Having a record of your food consumption will allow you to see for yourself where your diet needs improvement.
On the other hand, some people tend to skip meals when they run as they feel it will ensure faster weight loss. Skipping meals is not a good way to go when you are exercising as it will deprive your body of nutrition which is a much needed fuel for working out. This is especially true in case you go for in long and intense runs.
- Not progressing the right way
Having a proper schedule can also help in the prevention of running injuries as it ensures that you do not end up increasing your mileage too quickly. Once you have gotten into the habit of running, there often arises the desire to run faster and harder. There is a thought that occurs commonly – “running harder and faster will burn more calories and I will lose weight quicker”
Even though it is absolutely true that the more intensely you run the more weight you will lose, it is also true that it increases your risk of suffering a sports injury. The key is to keep challenging yourself while you run but in a controlled manner. Be sure not to overdo it in order to avoid the risk of injury.
- Not running consistently
When it comes to running for weight loss, it is good to have a long term plan and to see it through consistently. When you start running, make a 3 month plan instead of a 3 week one. It will not help you if you run intensely for four consecutive days and then stop for a week. If you plan to run 3 days a week, make sure that you run 3 days every single week.
This consistency will not only help you lose weight but also bring you numerous other health benefits such as, improved metabolism, higher energy levels and greater self esteem.
C. What are the ways in which running for weight loss can be made more effective?
There are certain simple tips and tricks that you can incorporate into your training schedule once you have begun running. These will ensure that you are running right by maximizing efficiency and minimizing risks. As per experts, these are as follows:
- While you’re running, be sure the pace is such that you can keep talking. You should be able to carry on a conversation while you are on the run. It is important to keep your pace comfortable so as to avoid burning out too quickly. It is always better to run slow and steady than too fast.
- Instead of keeping a count of the kilometers you run, keep track ofthe time. The minutes you spend running are a better count of the calories that you have burned than the distance you have covered.
- Once you have started running regularly, do strength training exercises in order to to build muscle and bone density. This will help protect against any kind of injury. Even a simple 15 minute strength workout every alternate day can help get you there.
- Make sure that you stay hydrated. This is especially important for long and intense runs in hot and humid weather. Carry water on you if possible. If not, make sure that water is close at hand wherever you are running. Dehydration never helped anyone get fit or lose weight.
- Always stretch after your run. Stretching should be done after a workout when your muscles are still warm. Stretching cold muscles increases the risk for muscle pulls and other related injuries.
D. Eating tips for runners
There is a close link between exercise and diet, especially when you are exercising to lose weight. It is important for runners to eat healthy and wholesome meals in order to provide their bodies with the much needed energy. You need not reduce the quantity of food you consume every day. All you have to do is make sure you eat the right foods and avoid the wrong ones.
Following are a few diet tips for those running for weight loss:
- Eat small meals throughout the day. Mini meals at regular intervals will help meet your energy requirements and also make sure that you do not feel hungry all the time. Large meals, on the other hand, make running or working out a difficult task as they take longer to get digested.
- Keep away from processed foods. Eating healthy and nutritious food will not only provide you with the necessary fuel but also aid in post-run recovery. In addition to that, it will also help keep your heart healthy and improve cardiovascular functioning.
- Focus on proteins. This is the most important food group for weight loss as it provides energy without adding superfluous weight. Foods that are rich in proteins, such as whole grains, fish, lean meat, pulses, nuts, low-fat cheese, etc, should be an essential aspect of any runner’s diet.
- Keep healthy snacks handy at all times. Since runners are prone to being constantly hungry, it is a good idea to have access to nutritious snacks and bites for dealing with those hunger pangs. A few examples of healthy snacks include fruits, nuts, energy bars, yogurt, etc.
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