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How to Use Running to Lose Weight

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While studies show that calorie restriction (dieting) is effective, in terms of weight loss, they also show that exercise is important for maintaining this weight loss. Exercise in combination with dieting has been shown to be significantly increase the likelihood of longterm weight loss. Exercise is the single best predictor of your chances of keeping the weight off.

  • Dieting alone will help you lose weight, but that also includes some muscle. The only way to get a stronger body and to stave off the loss of muscle during dieting, is to add exercise to your weight loss plan.
  • People who exercise may to attain a better and more sensitive awareness to periods of overeating and making poor food choices. You are less likely to crave the same foods compared to before you started exercising regularly.
  • Stronger heart and lungs. As your lungs become stronger and more efficient, you are able to take in more oxygen with each breath. In fact, this improved lung funtion may help improve lung conditions such as asthma, though you should clear it with your doctor first.
  • Running can help protect your joints. Research suggests that regular running can delay the onset of arthritis. The weight-bearing nature of running makes it a great method for strengthening bones in your legs and hips. Running injuries are often due to unsuitable or worn-out running shoes, not running per se.
  • Can slow or reverse the effects of aging.
  • Improved mood. After you’ve finished your run you’ll feel more relaxed, content, calmer and less anxious. The endorphins, a morphine like chemical, released by your body cause these wonderful effects. Research shows that after running the level of endorphins may be more than twice as high than at rest. Also, running is incredibly satisfying. After you’ve run you have a great sense of accomplishment.

TWO KINDS OF RUNNERS

Those who run in an almost trance-like manner, switching off, putting their troubles and the daily grind behind them (when else can you do that?). They simply place one foot in front the other and shut everything else out, simply feeling the rhythm of their movements.

Then, there are those who see things clearer, chew over and solve problems, achieve clarity and transparency and find motivation in events of their life to run faster, harder, stronger.

You won’t know what type of runner you are until you start running. Whichever group you fall into, you will finish with a feeling of liberation, catharsis and accomplishment. While it doesn’t happen after the first run, by the second or third week you’ll get of taste of it. Music can also help improve running performance.

WHY RUN?

Well, other than it being one of the best exercises to lose weight, it is also the cheapest. If, you cannot afford a gym subscription, don’t want a gym subscription, hate working out indoors or feel too self-conscious to exercise in front others, then outdoor activity is for you.

You can go for cycling if you have a bike, but running merely requires a pair of good running shoes. What could be simpler? You can run on the treadmill, either at the gym or if you possess your own, at home. Set the incline at 0.5 – 1%; otherwise it is tantamount to running downhill. Research has found that running on a 0% incline burns less calories than running outdoors at the same speed.

If running is not possible due to health issues or too difficult, there are many other low impact, high-intensity workouts. Weight-bearing exercise (exercise that involves standing on your feet – not sitting) are also great to improve health and help weight loss. You can also try the elliptical machine, which is just as good and has the bonus of being virtually impact free.

RUN, JOG OR WALK?

What’s the difference? Walking is when one foot is always in contact with the ground, i.e. the second foot touches the ground before the first foot leaves the ground. Failure of one foot to maintain contact with the ground (thus both feet leave the ground during each stride) means that for an instant you are “floating” and immediately results in the walker becoming a runner. What does this mean? There is no such thing as a jogger. You’re either a runner or a walker. You may be a slow runner (aka jogging), but you’re still a runner. Walking at a pace towards the upper end of the natural range of walking is known as power or speed walking.

In any case, what should you do? Run or walk? The answer basically, is to either go at a constant pace you can sustain in the time available or walk/ run in intervals. Too many people start off way too fast and get turned-off from ever venturing out for a run again. It’s not supposed to be agonizing. Don’t be an overdoer!

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2 COMMENTS

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