Of all the forms of exercise available to modern athletes, running may be the fastest and best way to help you lose weight. Losing weight is partly a function of simple math (calories in – calories out), partly a function of staying motivated long enough to be consistent, and partly a function of using your time most effectively. As we’ll see, running helps you accomplish all three goals at once to help you lose weight.
Calories Out Must Be Greater than Calories In
The seemingly endless number of weight loss programs and articles on the market may lead you to forget that weight loss comes down to some relatively simple math: the calories you use must exceed the calories you take in. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight; if you burn more calories than you eat, you will lose weight. All complicated weight loss formulas can be reduced to this simple rule.
This means that if you want to lose weight, your best bet is to pick an activity which is intense enough but repeatable enough to allow you to burn a high number of calories in a short time. And what activity could be better for that than running? No exercise physiologist denies that running is one of the highest calorie-burning activities,. It’s a full-body exercise which involves a wide range of major muscle groups. All such criteria make it a prime activity for maximizing calorie burn and by this means, losing weight.
Weight Loss is Easier When You are Motivated to Exercise
Runners often speak about the “runner’s high”. It’s a release of endorphins in the brain associated with feelings of well-being and motivation which runners experience during or after a run.
Why is this important for weight loss? Simply put, you are much more likely to continue a weight loss or exercise program if you enjoy the activities which lead to weight loss. If you hate trudging along on a Stairmaster, it’s very unlikely you will stick with it long enough to see significant weight loss. But runners love their sport in part because it is motivating and inspiring. A peaceful morning run through a quiet forest or along the oceanside is a highly motivating escape which will keep you coming back for more. And the more you continue with it, the more calorie burn—and therefore weight loss—you can expect to see.
Running: The Easiest, Most Time and Cost Effective Weight Loss Technique
There are certainly other sports available to assist with weight loss. Swimming, cycling, aerobics, Stairmasters, elliptical trainers, and any number of other gym machines and activities can achieve a similar end.
But when you compare these other activities with running, you may find that the latter gives you the most bang for your buck. Professional cyclists and swimmers often need to train for many hours a day to get the mileage necessary to condition themselves for competition. Whereas professional runners can often achieve the same benefits—and therefore, the same weight loss—in far less time.
Running is also far more accessible and easy to begin than almost any other sport. Cycling requires clear roads and a bicycle. Swimming requires a pool. Basketball demands a court, hoop, and ball, hockey players need a rink, ice, and skates, baseball players a diamond, bat, and ball, and so forth. But as a runner you only need to open your door and set off. Little special equipment is required. The ease with which you can keep up a running program makes it far more likely that you will stick with it long enough to reap the fruits of weight loss.
Running: The Best Way to Lose Weight
As we’ve seen, weight loss depends on burning more calories than you consume. To achieve that goal, you want an activity which is intense enough to burn lots of calories. Also, enjoyable enough to keep you motivated, and easy and convenient enough to encourage you to participate in it regularly. Running passes all these tests with flying colors. If you want to start losing weight quickly, lace up your shoes and head out for a run!