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If you have decided that the time has come to lose weight, the thought of yet another salad probably fills you with dread.
If you find yourself craving a curry, or drooling over the chocolate in the fridge, then it becomes more likely that you will crumble, and the diet will soon be forgotten.
That is why turning to exercise can be the most effective key to losing weight.
The next decision is what type of exercise is best for helping you to reach your goals.
Running is one form of exercise that many people turn to as it is free, easy to get started, and can be done just about anywhere. Running and weight loss go hand in hand, so it is no wonder that we see more and more people out there, pounding the streets.
So, how much should you run to lose weight, how do you lose weight through running, and what type of weight loss can you expect?
Running is great for weight loss beginners, as it does not need specialist equipment of knowledge to get started.
Just grab your trainers and get going!
As many different muscles are required to work together, running is one of the most effective ways to burn calories.1
Not only will this help you to lose weight, it will also help to protect against heart disease, lower blood sugar, reduce the risk of falls and strengthen the knees.
Whether it is a mummy tummy or a beer belly, our stomach is the most common problem area that most of us face - and this belly fat is known as visceral fat.
So, will running to lose belly fat actually work, or should you be targeting that area differently?
One of the main benefits from running is that it burns up to 600 to 800 calories, thereby reducing your body fat percentage.2
That means that this type of moderate to high-intensity aerobic exercise is an effective way to decrease belly fat as well as fat in other areas.
This can be boosted by coupling it with a sensible, low-calorie diet. It can be hard to know how long it takes to lose belly fat by running as each individual is different.
Your success will be linked to your overall weight loss and diet, your family history, age and sex.
Your running weight loss plan should include the opportunity to run three or four times a week, but should always include a warm up and cool down to prevent injuries.
If you are running to lose weight, then half an hour of exercise should be plenty.
Start by alternating running and walking until you can build up to running longer distances without a break.
If you feel that you are running further than Mo Farah but you still do not seem to be losing weight, you should not feel defeated.
There can be many reasons for this and not all of them are negative.
To start with, you should remember that running not only helps you to lose weight, but also to build muscle. It is well known that muscle weighs more than fat, so this can be one reasons why you do not see any great losses at first.
You may also find that you body starts to store more water in order to repair the damaged muscle fibres.3
This will add to what you see on the scales, but it does not mean that you are not burning fat.
Finally, you should consider your diet. You will only lose weight by burning calories, but if you are making your way through a takeaway every night and have become a regular at the bakery then your running will only ever have a minimal effect.
Keeping your diet healthy and balanced will help to support you in your running and weight loss goals.
Ultimately, you may just need to be patient. Weight loss should be gradual in order for it to be healthy, and so you won’t see any massive changes overnight. Keep sticking to your plan and give it time before you worry about seeing results.
Running is a great way to lose weight and keep fit, but many runners can be prone to injury. You should make sure that you take care of how your run and do not push your body past its own limits.
Before embarking on any change to your lifestyle, you should consult with your doctor to make sure that you do it safely and effectively.
Last updated: 27 April 2021
Joined Holland & Barrett: Apr 2019
Masters Degree in Toxicology and BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry
Bhupesh started his career as a Clinical Toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products.
After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.