If you're looking to decrease inches or you're getting started in your fitness journey, running may be just what you need to jump-start your metabolism. In fact, I often encourage clients of all fitness levels to sign up for an outdoor running race and start training. Read below and learn how running can help you start dropping pounds today!
Running Burns a Lot of Calories
According to a calculator by the American Council of Exercise, a 140-pound person burns 635 calories per hour jogging, versus only 317 walking. Jogging just 10 extra minutes a day (averaging 100 calories) is the equivalent of one pound per month. If you're not up for going on a straight run, build some running intervals into a walk, bringing your heart rate up for some HIIT training.
You Keep Burning Even After Your Workout Is Complete
Known as the "after-burn," your metabolism continues to stay elevated for 24-48 hours after you're done working out. The more intense the exercise and oxygen consumed, the more calories your body burns in recovery during a process known as EPOC. Since running is a fairly intense workout, you'll continue to burn calories and decrease inches long after you take off those tennis shoes. Some studies even suggest that HIIT training is a better appetite suppressant than moderate-intensity exercise, giving you one more reason to push yourself during your next running workout.
Running Shouldn't Be All You Do
Cardiovascular exercise is an important part of a workout regimen, but combined with strength training and low-impact stretching, you will reach your weight-loss goals faster. As a personal trainer, I often encourage my clients to incorporate running into a weekly routine that also includes bodyweight exercise, yoga/Pilates for recovery, and resistance training for building muscle. If you're always breaking down the body and burning calories without taking the time to properly rebuild, you're more likely to experience injuries and slow down your long-term weight loss. I see the best results when women spend at least half of their exercise days performing cardiovascular exercises like running and the other half doing something completely different for the body.
Combining Healthy Food and Exercise Will Get You the Best Results
Proper nutrition gives your body the nutrients it needs to complete a workout and properly recover. Prior to your run, taking in a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fluid will give you energy to get going. If your run is longer than 60 minutes, your body will benefit from some continued calories throughout, often consumed in a carbohydrate-rich sports drink or gel pack. If your workout is longer than 30 minutes, consuming a protein-rich snack within two hours of completion will aid your muscle recovery and help keep your food cravings in check. Waiting too long after a run to eat will cause your blood sugar to crash, making it difficult to make healthy food choices post-workout.