Running as a Weight Loss Program

Lose Weight Via Exercise

To lose weight one must burning more calories through activity than one consumes. That means either exercise more, eat less, or do a combination of both. Running and walking are both good exercises that can help control weight and improve cardiovascular fitness.

Calories Burned Running

Ralph LaForge of the Duke University Medical Center provides a detailed analysis of the net caloric requirements of running and walking. He defines the net caloric requirements as the calories required beyond what the body would burn if one had remained sedentary. (Technical detail: The calories used here are food calories, which are 1000 of the calories used in physics and chemistry.)

A person running burns calories at a net rate of 1.53 calories per kilogram of body mass per mile. That corresponds to 70 calories per mile for every 100 pounds of body weight. A 150 pound person will burn just over 100 calories per mile, and a 200 pound person will burn about 140 calories per mile of running. To compute how many calories you will burn running a mile, multiply your body weight (in pounds) by 70 and divide by 100.

Weight Lost Running

Losing a pound of fat, requires burning about 3500 calories more than is taken in via food. As seen above, someone weighing a little over 150 pounds will burn just over 100 calories per mile running. That means one would have to run 35 miles to lose a pound. That makes it sound virtually impossible for the average person to run enough to lose weight.

The key to a healthy weight loss program is losing weight slowly via a permanent change in lifestyle. A program of daily fitness running combined with a sensible diet does just that. With daily running the calories burned add up.

Running a mile a day at 100 calories per mile adds up to 36,500 calories per year. One should not run every day; the body needs rest days to recover. Allowing for rest days, 35,000 extra calories burned gives a 10 pound weight loss. Adding a 1 mile daily run without eating more calories, can produce a safe 10 pound weight loss in a year.

A more ambitious running program can yield faster results. Running an average of 5 miles a day will burn the extra 3500 calories needed to lose a pound in a week. This rate is a good safe weight loss.

Starting a Running Program

To lose weight by running, first check with your doctor to make sure you can run safely. If running is too ambitious for you, start by walking. Buy a good pair of running shoes and slowly build up the distance you can run.

While you are trying to lose weight, be careful not to increase your calorie intake. After you reach a healthy weight, continue the running program for general health and fitness. Don’t overdo it, but the continued exercise will allow you to safely eat a little more than if you were sedentary. The extra calories burned will help you maintain your healthy weight.

Many people who start running programs to lose weight find that they enjoy running just for the pure pleasure of running. If you find yourself in that group, you may want to participate in local fun runs and road races in your community or even work up to a marathon.

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If you feel that you have a health problem, you should seek the advice of your Physician or health care Practitioner.

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