Is it True That Running Helps you Lose Weight? Personal Experience

In this topic, we will learn all the basic information about running by Nikita Danko. Is it true that it helps to reduce weight? Is it true that it is harmful to the joints?

Running Statistics: Mens vs Womens

Distribution of Runners by Gender
Running is one of the most massive and popular sports. In any metropolis and small town, you can see a running person. Running acquired such popularity because it requires a minimum of equipment and in return, they promise a slender and toned body, a healthy heart, strong bones, a good mood, and a charge of vivacity.
According to statistics,  women run more often than men . According to American studies,  women make up 63% of all runners, and men are 37% . The largest number of runners are not young men and girls, they are adults  35-54 age . All these people run for various reasons: most people run for health reasons. Others want to hit a personal best and run a new track. The rest want to lose weight or aim to run a marathon.

 I started running a couple of years ago to improve my health and fitness and last year I managed to run the Minsk half marathon in two hours and 5 minutes.  It was an unforgettable experience. Now my goal is to make running an assistant to reducing weight and improving health. I researched a lot of information and read various studies, so below I will only provide  verified facts  about running and health.

Top 7 Verified Facts About Running

  1.  Running cures depression.  For patients with depression, running has shown to be as effective as prescribed medications.
  2. Runners are less likely to develop arthritis. People who are regular runners  suffer from arthritis  about half as often as other people. This information will be useful to those who are afraid of their knees and shirk running.
  3. Running helps  keep a sharp mind even in old age. 
  4. Running  reduces the risk of some types of cancer.  For example, there is evidence that running reduces the risk of breast cancer by 30-40% in women. Also reduces the risk of prostate cancer by 10-20% in men, and reduces the risk of lung cancer by 30-40%.
  5. Running improves  sleep quality. 
  6. Running  reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases:  high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases.
  7. Most importantly —  running prolongs life.  Studies have found that regular running increases the life expectancy of various groups of people and even five minutes of running can benefit health. Smokers added to their life span of 4.1 years, non-smokers — 3 years. Patients who defeated cancer began to live longer by 5.3 years, and patients with heart disease by 4.3 years.
  8. How Does Running Work? What Happens to the Body?

    running and your body
    To find out how much running really affects life expectancy, scientists conducted a meta-analysis of 14 different studies, containing data on 230 000 people in total. Most of these people did not run at all, and others ran at different volumes with different regularity. When scientists combined the data from the studies, they found that runners had a  27% lower risk of death  during the study period from any cause compared to those who have not run. One can definitely say that running is a useful tool for improving health, now it remains to figure out whether running helps to reduce weight.

    Among runners, there are quite a few people who are overweight or obese. Running really helps to reduce weight and does it quite effectively.  During long runs, from 20 minutes up to an hour, the body begins to burn fat as fuel.  At this point, we experience what we call a “second breath”.

    Running up to 20 minutes burns the body’s carbohydrate stores. That does not mean that you have to run for an hour every day. Even 10 or 20 minutes of running can significantly improve weight loss results.  In 20 minutes of running, you can burn about 300 calories. In 20 minutes of walking 100-150 calories , so if you do not have time to get out of the norm of steps in a day, running can make the norm in less time and sleep peacefully with a sense of accomplishment.

    When you start a new physical activity, your body begins to experience stress. To digest this stress, it must somehow react, say, speed up metabolism and increase calorie consumption. So if you are faced with the stagnation of results or want to make even more progress in weight loss, you need to be sure to try running. It will give a good boost to your body and it will definitely work, but you should remember that  the main principle of losing weight is to create a calorie deficit.  It is very easy to cancel the results of a running workout by making nutrition mistakes. Let’s find out how many kilometers different goodies cost:

    • 300 grams of waffles will cost you 5,5 kilometers;
    • big mac — 8,5 kilometers;
    • small snickers or Mars — 3,5 kilometers;
    • a can of cola — 2 kilometers;
    • 2 Ferrero rocher sweets — 2,2 kilometers;
    • an apple — 900 meters.

    You will be most likely to lose weight and get in shape if you do short runs, and circuits, pass the norms of 10,000 steps and also monitor your nutrition.

    Wow to start running? How to Prepare for Running?

    • First 2-4 weeks try to walk from 10k to 15k steps
    • Every week increase the load by no more than 5-10%
    Many people say that they don’t love running and I think it’s because these people approached the run unsystematic and abruptly without proper preparation. It is impossible to judge the love of running if you completed the only run in five years while not monitoring your pulse and running in bad shoes at the wrong pace. But with the right and gradual approach running can become ways to relax and have fun. There is even a special term “runner’s euphoria” when, after a long run, a euphoria appears and your mood improves significantly.

    If you have never run or it was in school, you should start with brisk walking and walks. This will help prepare the joints and ligaments and the cardiovascular system. Within 2-4 weeks try to walk from 10k to 15k steps. If you can walk 15 thousand steps five days in a row, you can try to start small runs. For a beginner, two or three runs in the first month are enough. Then you can switch to a five-day schedule running after two days of rest. For a beginner is the easiest run in time because everyone has a stopwatch, and measuring a kilometer by eye is quite difficult. Professionals run distances for a time. If you start running overcoming yourself and not listening to your body, you will receive microtrauma. Gradually they will begin to accumulate and this will be reflected in pain and inflammation of the joints and ligaments.

    A test run will help to avoid trouble. Go out for running, turn on the stopwatch and start running at the slowest pace. Finish the run when you feel the desire to stop, but this should not be associated with acute pain or with a frantic pulse, a tongue on the shoulder, or red face. Just stop when you feel the warm-up turning into a challenge. Remember the time you managed to run in the test run — this is the starting point even. If it turned out four minutes, nothing terrible. This week when I started running, I planned that they would run 10 minutes at each workout. However, I managed to run only 4 minutes for the first time, so the whole first week I will run for 4 minutes.
    increase the load
    Now let’s figure out how to increase the load. If you run no more than 10 minutes in the test run, then feel free to add to the workout each week by one or two minutes. If you were able to run a test run for more than 20 minutes, then every week increase the load by no more than 5-10%. Such a load increase scheme is suitable for beginners and amateurs. It allows you to smoothly increase the level of score training to avoid injury.  For optimal fat burning, there is a special heart rate zone. It is 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. Heart rate is calculated using the formula: 220 minus your age, further from this figure you measure 60-70% — this is your cardio zone or fat burning zone.  At about the same pace you will need to run, but if you don’t have a fitness bracelet or a pedometer that allows you to clearly track your pulse zone, it’s not a problem. Try to keep it in such a way that you can talk on the headset or with your interlocutor partner who runs with you. In this mode, while running, you will fall heart rate zone. For many beginners, it will be a very slow run.

    How to Avoid Injury or Choose Running Shoes

    Running shoes with good cushioning forgive the beginner’s lack of running technique and reduce the likelihood of injury. Quality shoes are probably the biggest investment for the runner and at the same time his pride. Spending money on really good running shoes you will have much more incentive to keep going. I can tell by myself that once wearing running shoes, I have been wearing them constantly for several years. Modern sneakers are a work of art.
    If you are serious about running and want to reduce the likelihood of injury, pay attention to these models:

    Running Shoes
    Their excellent cushioning creates a special effect of running on an air cushion. You are literally waiting for the moment when you put your shoes back on and go for a run. You can buy more budget shoes from these or similar sports shoe brands. In this case, look for those with thicker soles. Definitely don’t go for a run in sneakers with thin soles or oak sneakers, this can harm you.

    FAQ About Running

    At the end of this topic, I left some of the questions that you may have.

    Is it possible to run with a weight of 100 kilograms, obese or overweight with height?

    Yes, running is possible, but it is necessary to carry out preliminary preparation. For 3-4 weeks you need to do brisk or long walks. If you can walk 15-20 thousand steps within 5-6 days, you can try to make short runs. If we take good running shoes the risk of injury will be minimal, your untrained body will in any case stop before you could get a microtrauma or inflict some kind of injury on yourself. The main rule — is if you have a lot of excess weight and if you want to start running, be careful and swipe in preliminary preparation. If you have doubts about the state of your cardiovascular system and your musculoskeletal system, then you should go to a specialist and get an appropriate opinion from him.

    Is it allowed to drink before and after running?

    Yes, you can drink before, during, and after running. We need to prevent dehydration.

    How to eat before and after running?

    It is advisable not to eat 1-2 hours before training because a full stomach can cause discomfort during running. You can eat after running training almost immediately, this does not affect its effectiveness and fat burning in any way.

    Is there a difference between running on the street, on a treadmill, or for example, on an elliptical?

    There is no such difference where it is more comfortable for you to run, where you can train there today and do it, there is no problem.

    There is an opinion that it is better to conduct running training on an empty stomach because in case of our glycogen stores are empty and as soon as we start moving, our fat reserves begin to be consumed immediately. But perhaps this is not the case, there are doubts that during the night we manage to spend all our glycogen stores, something remains and therefore there is not much difference when to start running. But if you are doing a running workout after a strength or circular in this case, your glycogen stores are depleted, and then running will have the greatest effect. Of course, we have not touched on all aspects related to running in this topic, but now we know for sure about its health benefits and shape.


    This article was prepared using Nikita’s Danko video.

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