Running MAY burn a TON of calories! Studies have shown that both men and women who run are lighter and leaner than those who do comparable amounts of traditional exercises. But to get the benefit you have to push your limits.
Running is a full body workout and one of the most vigorous exercises out there. To put this into perspective, a 40-minute run can burn between 500-800 calories, more than you can burn with nearly any other form of exercise. The average person aims to eat between 2,000-2,500 calories per day. If you’re burning 500-800 calories in your 40-minute workout that means you’re burning 1/2 to 1/3’rds of your total calorie count for the day!
When you run, your body releases several different hormones like adrenaline and myostatin which help you break down fat and tissue. With this hormone release your body becomes more energy efficient. This means that you’re always burning fat, even when you’re sleeping, working, lounging! Running also increases full body muscle tone and elevates your V02 Max. What does that mean you ask? This means that your body can take in more oxygen and distribute it to your muscles enabling you to run faster and burn more calories.
So now you may be curious as to how you can most efficiently burn calories while running. A slow and comfortable run will not torch calories, but it is great for boosting your metabolism. A more intense run is better at burning calories and requires more energy post workout for recovery. This post workout energy is commonly known as the “afterburn effect”. The “afterburn effect” will continue burning calories even once you’ve stopped moving while it recovers, builds muscle, and burns fat. To get the biggest bang for your buck while running you’ll want to incorporate things like sprints, interval training, and mix up the variation of intensity and duration for each run.
So, bottom line, in the short term running burns a lot of calories. In the long term running helps to change your metabolism and hormonal make up so that you’ll be burning through calories more efficiently than you were before! This is all great news but don’t forget diet matters too. You’ll want to make sure you’re not overestimating the calories burned during your run. There is rarely a need to make up for the calorie deficit created. Be sure you’re not refueling with “empty calories” either, you’ll want to hydrate and eat a 3:1 carb to protein meal after your run.
As for me, I like hills. Hills burn 2x to 3x the calories in much shorter distances. And if you get tired, walking up hill also burns calories.
NOTE: Abs are made in the kitchen. You won't loose weight on running alone. Learn about Super Foods here.
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