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Weight Loss and Running

Weight Loss Benefits of Running

Running is perhaps the most effective way to lose weight, but that doesn’t make it either fast or magical. In fact, you may gain a few pounds early on as your body converts fat tissue to muscle tissue, which is denser and heavier than fat. But if you stick with the program, you’ll literally run off the excess pounds.

Here are some of the strategies that have proven most successful for runners interested in maximum weight loss.

Run 25 to 30 miles a week. According to statistics from the National Weight Control Registry, which studies people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept the weight off, individuals who succeed in their weight-loss efforts burn about 2,800 calories a week through planned exercise. Note that you don’t have to run fast or win races, you simply have to be disciplined enough to put in 25 to 30 miles a week of relaxed running.

Run long and slow. Slow workouts that last 90 minutes or more put you into the fat-burning zone, where your body begins to use stored fats, rather than carbohydrates, as a source of fuel. You can’t and shouldn’t do these longer workouts every day. With good planning, you may be able to fit in two a week. And, yes, it may take you months to work up to a run this long. Don’t be afraid to mix running and walking to reach your goal.

Several times a week, at the end of an easy run, do five or six strides on the grass or on a smooth road surface. Strides are 60 to 80-meter bursts of running at a fast but controlled speed. You don’t have to sprint like an Olympian; simply pick up the pace and run smooth and fast for about 10 seconds. Then decelerate, jog for a minute or two until you feel recovered, and do another stride. These bursts of faster running at the end of a workout will boost your after burn, increasing the number of calories that your body burns after you have finished running.

SOURCE: Runners World Magazine

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