Is Running Good for Losing Weight?


A Runner Tying Her Shoe

About 5 million years ago, human beings stood upright and began walking on two legs. It is believed that running happened shortly after that, probably the first time that an erect being was chased by a predator. We do know that the over 10,000 years ago certain tribes would run for miles during a daily hunt. Although many scholars still consider it to be a myth, in 490 BC a Greek messenger named Pheidippides became a household name when he supposedly ran almost 150 miles with news of the Persians landing at Marathon. And yes, that gave birth to the Olympic marathon  that is still run at today's Games.

But... does running really help people lose weight? Well of course it can but it isn't normally recommended as the best exercise for someone that needs to shed pounds. If you look at the numbers, walking a mile burns just under 90 calories with an after-burn of just over 20 calories. Whereas, running a mile burns just over 110 calories with an after-burn of around 45 calories. Not as much difference as some might think. Where running pays off is in the "time spent" exercising. If you have a very busy day or are just short on time, clearly running burns more than twice the calories per minute.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you get plenty of health benefit from moderate exercise, but you do accrue even more benefit from a more vigorous exercise. In fact, the ACSM report pointed to a research study that concluded those who ran more than 50 miles per week had a greater increase in HDL (the good cholesterol) and a decrease in triglycerides (the bad stuff). However, when it comes to weight loss, eating the right foods and taking the right supplements for hormonal balance are equally important as exercise. And, for non-marathon runners, there are far more pleasurable forms of exercise that support healthy weight loss and help restore your health.

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