Running to Lose Weight (Especially for Beginners)
by John Litchfield, wlr
Running's great for weight loss, and as with other aerobic activities, there are a great many health benefits to be gained.
Here's the main reasons we think running is good for helping you lose weight:
- A half-hour run can burn between 300 and 700 calories, depending on your size and effort level/speed. That's a lot when put in the context of a typical weight loss diet where calorie intake is restricted.
- People who run report increased energy levels, reduced stress, and greater confidence/self-esteem.
- Running regularly increases the efficiency of your heart and lungs. It can also lower your blood pressure and resting heart rate, minimising the risk of stroke or heart attack.
- Running is also one of the most cheap and convenient exercise activities you can do. Aside from trainers and some comfortable clothes to run in, no additional equipment is needed. As soon as you step out of your front door you have reached your training room.
So how easy is it to get started? Here are 5 running tips to get you off on the right foot.
1. Consult your G.P
If you are new to regular exercise or have a history of ill health, it would be wise to visit your local doctor for a check up to ensure that you are ready to undertake a new exercise routine.
2. Check your equipment
A well fitting good quality pair of trainers is essential to help avoid injury and get the most out of your exercise.
If possible, visit a sports store that specialises in running equipment as many will have staff who are able to observe your running style and advise you on which shoes are most suitable for you.
While it isn’t necessary to fork out for the top of the line pair, often the most expensive part of the shoe is the label, £40-75 should be plenty to get you something more than adequate.
3. Running Advice - Start gradually
It is very important to, if you’ll pardon the overly apt expression, walk before you can run.
Don’t step outside for your first run and start sprinting as this can easily lead to injury.
To start with, especially if you have been relatively inactive for some time, alternate between walking briskly and jogging.
Walk for two minutes at a time and then jog for a minute or two to let your body adjust. Aim to exercise for a total of 10-30 minutes to start with, depending on your fitness level, three to four times a week. Over time, gradually decrease the proportion of your session that you spend walking until you feel comfortable jogging or running constantly.
4. Get others involved
You may find that joining a running club or finding a friend that you can drag along can be an invaluable motivational aid.
The convenience of running can also be its downfall. As no effort needs to be made to get to the gym or training centre and there are no ongoing subscription fees to get your money’s worth from, you may find that the lack of planning needed to get your exercise makes it easier to miss sessions.
Having a designated time when you’ll be meeting your friend or group can give you that little extra kick out of the house.
Mixing your exercise regime with your social life can also stop it from becoming dull or from feeling like a chore.
5. Listen to your body
A little muscle ache or tiredness is to be expected from undertaking any physical activity, however, if you are starting to feel pain in your bones or joints, stop and wait until it subsides.
While it may be frustrating to get into a good routine and then have to stop for a few days or a week to recuperate, this is still far better than the setback of needing an operation.
If you are experiencing discomfort as a result of any form of exercise, visit your doctor to ensure that you are not doing yourself any damage.
If you are finding yourself out of breath to the point where you can’t speak properly, it is possible that you are over working your heart and lungs and you should slow down or stop until you feel more comfortable.
So whether you want to start joining organised runs, improve your health and fitness, earn yourself some extra calories or just want a cheap hobby to do in the evenings, running could be the perfect way to get you to where you want to be.
More Resources for Runners on wlr
Beginners Running Training Plan
This progressive walk, jog, run programme is ideal for beginners and will take you from zero to a 5K (3 mile) run in 8 weeks. (10 weeks if you're very unfit to start with.)
You only need 45 minutes a week, split into 3 sessions, to start with and it's a very gentle start. Give it a go
How to Start Running
PT and former editor of Womens Running magazine, Christina MacDonald knows her stuff when it comes to running. Here's her tips and advice on how to get started.
WLR’s Online Running Club
WLR Members have formed a club to help each other with their goals to lose weight and get fitter. To give you added motivation, help, advice and support take a free trial and join the conversation on the Runners Message Board.
Losing Weight with Parkrun
Our very own staff member Trudi lost weight with the help of parkrun. She says "I felt so welcome, not out of place at all and like I could actually do this!" Here's her parkrun review
See how many calories you burn through running, and how many you'll need each day to lose weight - simply register for free access to WLR Start Now