Running has always been the most popular and easiest form of exercise. It is a great way to burn calories in a relatively shorter period of time.
Countless women and men have shed excess weight and kept them off with the aid of this simple form of exercise. However, success is not guaranteed if we take it as the only measure to lose weight.
Also, a sensible diet, changing routines, and precautionary measures to avoid injury are essential components to running for weight loss, as running also comes with some risks along with several health benefits.
So, have a look at its pros as well as cons if you want to start running as a beginner or take it in long term.
Pros of Running
- Cardio training
Running gets your heart rate up, making you pump blood faster. It increases your oxygen-carrying capacity, which means blood carries more oxygen to help feed the muscles. Thus, it improves overall circulation in the body. It, therefore, has great cardiovascular benefits which keep the heart and lungs healthy.
- Endurance training
A consistent running routine improves your overall endurance. The longer you practice, the longer you are able to maintain the exercise, which in turn allows your muscles to increase their capacity to efficiently create energy. Endurance training can help build your stamina in all aspects of daily life, both on the running path and off.
- Psychological benefits
Running is a great stress buster. Many researchers have linked running with cognitive and mental health benefits. If you are feeling depressed, 20 minutes of running can work like an antidepressant and lift your mood. It also helps to improve sleep quality and duration. However, exercising too close to bedtime may make it more difficult to sleep. So, try to finish your workout at least two hours before bedtime.
- Improves bone density
Like resistance exercises and strength training, weight-bearing exercises also play a vital role in building bone mineral density moreover so if you are running in the sunshine.
Cons of Running
- Runner’s knee
Running is a high-impact sport that puts more overuse trauma to the joints. Knee pain is the most commonly reported condition among runners. It is discomfort behind the kneecap (patella) caused by repetitive contact between the underside of your patella and your femur (thigh bone).
- Injury to the joints
Injury while running may be there to hip, knee, ankle, or foot, not because someone is running – but because he or she is running with poor form or muscle imbalances. Taking steps to minimize the risk can keep you running for longer years. Even surface or path, good sneakers, and smooth run can reduce the injuries to the joints.
- Can’t be the solitary weight loss routine
Running can support weight loss efforts, simply because it burns calories. But it is not likely to keep you progressing toward the goal long term. Our body is a highly adaptive machine and adapts to the effects of running relatively quickly.
If you always do the same thing, it’s easy to plateau. So, if weight loss is the ultimate reason for running then you will have to add on strength training, keep changing the pace, timing, and sprints.
Combining it with non-impact workouts, like cycling or floor exercises, on alternate days gives muscles, bones, and joints the time to rest and recover from wear and tear.
Stretching for that matter is also very important. To minimize common injuries, make sure you always stretch before and after each run.
Change your training slowly, either by making your long runs longer or making them harder (more on that in a second). Don’t change too much at once, or you may end up overtrained and sore rather than toned and fit. The 10% rule is a good guideline for sensible running increases.
To practice it, simply keep increasing your total running distance or time by less than 10% from one week to the next.
The bottom line: Run if you want to, but don’t go too hard too soon and combine it with other workouts and a balanced diet too.