Running is scientifically proven to be an effective method of losing excess body weight. Especially when combined with a calorie-controlled balanced diet, running can be used to safely increase the pace and ease of fat burning. But it isn’t a simple as hitting the tarmac and watching the pounds fly off.
To get the most out of running for weight loss, you have to understand what works well and why.
How Running Helps Weight Loss
The basic science behind any weight loss method is calories in/calories out. This means that your body must burn more calories than you consume each day in order for weight loss to occur. The average man burns about 2,500 calories per day.
If he eats 2,500 calories per day, then he will remain at the same weight. If he eats 3,000 calories one day, then his body has 500 calories more than it needs. Rather than wasting those calories, the body will store them as fat. Learn how many calories you should eat to lose weight.
If our average man eats 2,000 calories one day, then he will have consumed 500 calories less than his body needs. His body will dip into his fat stores, and burn 500 calories worth of fat to replace this deficit. This is how weight loss occurs.
Because of this mechanic, people have two options to lose weight. They can decrease their calorie intake while maintaining the same amount of activity (a diet), or they can increase their activity while maintaining their calorie intake (exercise). A good weight loss regime will include both calorie restriction and exercise.
How Many Calories Does Running Burn?
The number of calories you will burn depends on three main factors. How much you weigh, and how fast you run, and how long you run for. Running faster or for longer periods will burn more calories than running slowly or for short periods.
The larger you are, the more effort your body has to undertake to move, and the more calories you will burn. This means that an overweight person will burn more calories than a slim person who runs the same distance and speed.
Here are a few examples as a guide.
- A 160-pound person running for 30 minutes at 5 mph = 291 calories
- A 200-pound person running for 30 minutes at 5 mph = 364 calories
- A 240-pound person running for 30 minutes at 5 mph = 436 calories
As you can see, for every 40 lbs that a person weighs, they lose an additional 74 lbs from running the same distance. A good rule of thumb for working out how many calories you will burn in 30 minutes is to multiply your weight in pounds by 1.8.
How Much Should You Run To Lose Weight?
Now that you know how many calories you will burn running, you need to figure out how long you should run to lose weight at a significant pace. A pound of fat contains approximately 3,500 calories. This means that you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you consume to lose a pound of fat.
A 7,000 calorie deficit will burn two pounds of fat, and so on. Weight loss between one and two pounds per week is often regarded as a safe and sensible goal, so you should aim to have a daily deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories. A pound per week may not sound like much, but it soon adds up. That’s 52 lbs of weight loss per year!
To calculate how many minutes you should run per week, multiply your weight in pounds by 1.8 and then divide that number by 30 to get your per minute calorie burn. For example, a 250-lb person would burn 450 every 30 minutes. Divided by 30, we can work out that they would burn 15 calories for every minute they ran.
Once you know how many calories you burn per minute, divide 3,500 by that number. The result is how many minutes you must run per week to lose one pound of fat. Going back to our example, a 250-lb person burns 15 calories per minute. 3,500 divided by 15 is 233 minutes or 3.8 hours per week.
Once you know how many minutes you have to run, split that time over a certain amount of days. A balanced routine splits running sessions over four or five days per week, with rest days in between. Our 250-lb example could run for 58 minutes 4 days per week or for 46 minutes five days per week and they’d lose 1 lb either way.
Five Tips To Help You Lose Weight
- Keep yourself hydrated. Dehydration is one of the main reasons people end a run early. Worse yet, dehydration is proven to cause overeating, as your body can’t easily distinguish when your stomach is lacking food or liquid. Learn how much water to drink a day.
- Make a running schedule and stick to it. It takes 21 days to form a habit. Once you have been running for a month, you won’t even think about it. Force yourself to run on every single run day for the first 21 days, and the rest will be a breeze.
- Don’t give up. The first week of running can be painful, tiring, and may seem like a waste of time. If you stick with a consistent running program, you will get results.
- Get a good pair of running shoes. They don’t have to be expensive, but they do need to be comfortable and a good fit. Running shoes should grip your feet well without being tight, and they should have a relatively flat sole.Check some best running shoes online.
- Don’t over-do it. You may become a marathon runner one day, but you aren’t one yet. It can be tempting to try and run too much in the early days, especially when you start seeing results on the scale. However, it’s important to increase your speed and distance gradually. Running too much, in the beginning, will accomplish nothing but an injury.