Running is one of the oldest ways to lose weight. To look at your average marathon runner, you’d have to say to works, too. After all most dedicated runners are nothing, if not pretty darn skinny. Looking at the results, one would conclude that running is a pretty effective way to lose weight. Effective as though it may be, there are many ways to lose weight, and running is only one of them. Should you use it as one of the tools in your weight loss toolbox?
One of the problems with running is that it can be hard on your knees. You should check with your doctor about your joints and cardio vascular system before you begin a running program, just to be sure you don’t have any medical problems that would make running a bad idea for you. This is especially true if you’re more than just a few pounds overweight. Clinically obese people can experience a tremendous load on their hips, knees, and ankles, especially running on hard surfaces, such as paved roads.
The proper shoes are very important as well. Good running shoes support your feet and cushion the impact of the blow your body endures with every step you take. A good running shoes will provide torsional and lateral stability to help keep your feet properly aligned. This will help mitigate the effects of excessive pronation, and guard against sprained ankles as you run.
When running, especially for long distances, stand up straight. Make sure you maintain good posture at all times. No twisting to the side or leaning forward or back. This not only lessens your running efficiency, but can lead to problems or exacerbate existing ones.
How your foot hits the ground is very important too. If you are running middle to long distances to lose weight, try to hit the ground with the middle of your foot, rather than the ball of your foot. It is better at distributing the loads caused by running and minimizing the shock experienced by your body. That will also help protect against tendinitis in your Achilles tendon. Running can be jarring enough without increasing the pounding unnecessarily.
Try to run smoothly. Concentrate on letting your feet contact the ground gently. When I was in track I had a problem with letting my feet just slam back to earth. It took quite a bit of work to make my strides smoother, but the effort was well worth it. Running became more enjoyable, and many of the pains I was experiencing vanished and my times dropped. Making sure you run smoothly is especially helpful if you are heavy or overweight.
One common problem among beginning runners is incorrect breathing. Make sure you breathe normally. Don’t hold your breath or hyperventilate.
Running can be an effective way to help lose weight. It can also cause you problems if you aren’t careful to run correctly. If you are running right, it can be a tremendous benefit. Not only is running very effective as part of a weight loss program, but it offers tremendous advantages for your cardiovascular system and lower body development.
The question is, how should you run to lose weight? Should you just run on endlessly, for miles and miles? Or are there other, more effective strategies when it comes to running for weight loss? You’ll definitely lose weight if you use the running for miles and miles strategy, but even if you’re an accomplished runner, that takes time, and time is something most people have in short supply these days.
As with other forms of exercise, intensity is one of the keys to effectiveness when you’re running to lose weight. So, while running long distances is undoubtedly effective as a weight loss strategy, high intensity interval training is more effective for the time spent, and studies have shown it to be more effective at increasing cardio-vascular health too.
How to Run to Lose Weight –
If weight loss is the ultimate goal of your running program, here is a great way to lose more weight in less time with interval training. First, make sure you warm up thoroughly by running at a moderate pace for about 10 minutes. This will get the blood flowing to your tissues and make injury less likely. After all, being hurt is great for sitting in front of your TV but no way to lose weight.
After your warm up, you can start your interval program. Run for 4 minutes at 85% intensity. You’ll probably want to get a heart monitor to check your maximum heart rate and see where the 85% exertion level is for you. You can count your heart rate, but having a monitor is much easier. After the 4 minutes, rest for 2 minutes and let your heart rate come back down.
Do 4 of these 6 minute cycles. In only 24 minutes, you will be amazed at the amount of weight you lose and the cardio fitness you gain. You’ll have to constantly increase your speed to maintain your 85% level, because your fitness levels will increase so fast. Do these interval sets 3 days a week. 1 day a week, do a 45 minute cross country run with some terrain variation to spice things up and keep your body guessing. That will help prevent plateaus in your progress, although the main thing that will keep you losing weight and increasing your cardio vascular fitness is to constantly keep pushing yourself. Make sure you’re always raising that 85% level. It is that constant pressure to perform that will make your body respond.
If you do it right, you’ll lose weight in only 25 minutes a day, 3 days a week (with one extra 45 minute day thrown in there for good measure. I find that adding high intensity resistance training 2 or 3 days a week will substantially multiply the effectiveness of any weight loss program, so throw those weight training days in there too.