Many people start exercising, and particularly running, to shed some pounds.
As running is so accessible – any one can do it, at any time, for free – it’s one of the go-to methods for people looking to lose weight.
But does it work? Running can certainly boost both your physical and mental health, but can it really help reduce that waistline?
Yes, it most certainly can! It’s actually one of the most effective forms of exercise for weight loss, and keeping those pesky pounds off permanently.
Running is extremely efficient in burning calories and here are my Virtual Runner top five tips to lose weigh.
Set a realistic weight loss goal – What do you aim to achieve? Making half a stone disappear on the scales? Shedding a couple of inches off the waist? Having a weight loss goal will help you focus your efforts and create a great sense of achievement when you get there. And you will! When setting goals, be sure to be realistic and understand how long it will take and what you’ll need to do to get there.
Make sure you have a set of scales and make note of your start weight, and even some simple body measurements, at the start of your running journey. Track your progress by regularly taking your measurements.
It can help to work towards a weight loss goal if you have a specific target or challenge in mind – I’m always more motivated to run when I’m training for a challenge. For beginners, following a plan is a great way to get into running and lose weight at the same time. For more experienced runners, set your sights on a 10k or half marathon..
Don’t expect too much too soon – This is why setting those realistic goals at the start is essential – it helps keep you on track and motivated, even if you start to get disheartened.
Remember that you won’t lose three stone after your first three-mile walk/jog! Losing weight through running is definitely a gradual process, but it’s thoroughly rewarding.
Gradual progress is the name of the game when you start running, not only so you can remain motivated and see progress, but also because this is essential to avoiding injury. Running is a high impact activity, and doing too much too soon can put a lot of stress on your body, particularly for heavier people.
Keep at it and you’ll reap the rewards!
Don’t run before you can walk – With the risk of injury higher for overweight men and women, it is important to ease your way into running. Starting off by walking, or interspersing walking with jogging, is a smart move. It will also make your muscles, bones and joints more resilient for when you are able to jog non-stop. Also, spread your training out over a week. Try to avoid exercising on successive days, so your body can recover.
You still need to watch what you eat – It’s vitally important that running complements a balanced, healthy diet if you’re trying to lose weight.
If weight loss is your goal, then you’ll need to be burning more calories than you eat, and it’s important to pay attention to this. As you’re burning calories, running can increase your appetite, meaning that you might end up eating more calories than your run burned if you’re not careful! Additionally, it can be easy to tuck into a treat as a reward for a run, and whilst there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, just consider where it fits into your overall weight loss plan.
Don’t skip meals in an effort to lose weight. This’ll only make you hungrier and likely to eat more calories when you do eat, and the body requires calories to avoid the breakdown of muscle.
It can help to use a meal tracking app to keep you on track, but as a simple rule for weight loss, aim to cut out the empty calories and focus on eating healthier foods instead.
Hard workouts will not cancel out too many takeaways, so don’t undo your progress by forgetting about your diet!
Introduce strength training – Lean muscle burns more calories whilst resting than fat does, so introducing strength training to your routine can be a great way to increase the calories you’re burning. Additionally, strength training can reduce your risk of running injury as muscles and connective tissues are strengthened.
Following these tips for running for weight loss should help keep you motivated and on track – we’d love to hear how you get on! Why not check out our blog for stories of running and weight loss journeys?