Did you stumble across this blog on your search for weight loss help? Do you want to drop pounds of body fat while improving both your physical and mental health? If you’ve answered “Yes!” to these questions, then you might want to give running a try.
Regular running can result in weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, better coordination and improved mood. It can also decrease the risk of osteoporosis in women and reduce stress in both women and men.
Running is a fantastic form of exercise at almost any age, and a running workout can easily be scaled to suit each individual’s physical condition and limitations. You can run on an outdoor track, on a trail, on the road, through a park, almost anywhere. If the weather is poor, you can run on a treadmill or indoor track. You can run at any time of day or night. It’s easy to fit a running workout into your schedule – even a busy schedule – 365 days a year.
If you’re asking, “How is all this running going to help me lose weight?” the answer is simple. Running is a vigorous exercise and burns a significant amount of calories. In order to lose weight, you have to create a caloric deficit. This can be done through dieting (limiting your calorie intake), exercise (increasing your calorie expenditure) or both. If you want to lose one pound of body fat through any method, you need to create a deficit of 3500 calories. In order to lose one pound of body fat per week through exercise alone, you need to burn 500 calories more than you consume every day. That may sound like a lot, but the average runner can easily burn 500 calories in less than hour of running.
Are you ready to get started? Well, hold on a minute, or at least until you have the right equipment. While running does not require loads of expensive equipment taking up space in your home, the proper shoes are absolutely essential. Running without proper footwear is actually more difficult for your body and can result in injury.
Running shoes have been engineered to provide support and protection to a runner’s feet. Some also correct or enhance natural biomechanics. If you want to purchase running shoes that feel like they’ve been designed specifically for you, have your gait analyzed at a running gear store. The staff at these stores have been highly trained to observe how you stand, walk and run in order to put you into the right running shoe. Some stores even have treadmills complete with video cameras so they can tape and play back your motions. In Atlanta, check out West Stride (www.weststride.com) at 3517 Northside Parkway or Fleet Feet (www.fleetfeetatlanta.com) at 224-B Johnson Ferry Road.
Now that you have your essential gear, it’s time to run. If you’re putting a couch potato lifestyle behind you to gain physical fitness and lose weight, you’re going to need to start out slow. A great program to begin with is Cool Running’s two month three mile program. The program can be found on their website at Cool Running and is basically made up of short walking and running workouts (20 to 30 minutes) three days per week. You’ll slowly increase your endurance and distance until you are able to easily run three miles at a time.
Before you begin any running program, you should consult with your physician. This is especially important if you are overweight or have heart or breathing problems. For overweight beginning runners, a consultation with a weight loss doctor at a medical weight loss clinic can be invaluable. While exercise alone can help you to lose weight and increase your physical fitness, you’ll experience even more dramatic results if you combine that exercise with a sensible diet plan. A weight loss program designed especially for you, as part of a medical weight loss program, will help you lose weight, gain fitness and maintain the important lifestyle changes you are making.