Running for weight loss: 4 essential tips

Running is a simple yet effective exercise option for burning calories, blasting fat and improving fitness. Follow our tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your running routine.

Workout trends come and go, but running remains among the best exercises to burn calories and lose weight. Here’s how you can make running part of your lifestyle – and achieve your weight loss results.

TIP #1: MAKE RUNNING A REGULAR HABIT

Running for weight loss only is effective if you do it often – about 4 days per week is best. The first step, though, is to make running a regular part of your life. Decide on the right time of day (morning, afternoon, evening) and block out the time in your calendar, just as you would for any other appointment.

TIP #2: START SLOW

Especially if you are new to running, the key is to start slow, both in terms of speed and duration. Even just 20 minutes a day at first, with a combination of walking and running, can be helpful for beginners. After 1-2 weeks, build up to 30 minutes of continuous running at a medium pace. Once that feels comfortable, you’re ready to move on to the next level.

TIP #3: NOT ALL RUNNING IS EQUAL

A common mistake is running for the same duration at the same intensity, week after week. Your body adjusts to this level of activity, and you won’t lose weight. Running to lose weight is most effective when you run at a higher intensity. Try sprint interval training, for example 30 seconds of sprinting followed by 3 minutes of active rest (i.e. moderate jogging). Repeat this 5-6 times. By running faster, you build more muscle and will keep burning calories even after your run is complete.

TIP #4: THE SECRET IS IN THE MIX

To lose weight (and keep it off), the secret is to combine different types of running plus strength training. Your weekly plan should include a combination of long runs of at least 45 minutes to build endurance, sprint-interval workouts for ultimate fat-blasting, and strength training. Aim for two 15- to 20-minute strength training sessions per week.

THE BOTTOM LINE…

Running for weight loss requires some strategising and a well-rounded approach to be most effective. But if you stick with it and eat balanced meals, drink plenty of unsweetened fluids and get quality rest, you will look and feel better than ever.

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