You can run freely and run for free, anywhere you like plus it burns more calories than any other expensive, mainstream methods of exercising. However, there is one important factor you must note about running: to run, you must enjoy running – if you do not want to run, do not like running or want to run just to lose weight and not because you want to – don’t do it. There are plenty of other methods apart from running that will help you lose weight and dieting is one of them.
However, dieting leaves a more negative impact on weight loss practitioners, perhaps because it’s mostly about giving up on things you love than embracing something you will enjoy. You have to give up on sweets, fast food and many other foods that you love – see our 7 foods to never eat. So if you were to pick between dieting and running, which would you choose?
Many people prefer running and losing their extra pounds from this form of exercise than fad diets that mainly just starve them. Dieting is a drag, being religious about the food you eat and the food you must not eat sounds a bit tedious in the beginning. Of course, eating healthy is important, dieting isn’t.
Try to shed the extra pounds through exercise, rather than cutting it down from your food. If you are aiming at losing weight, avoid refined foods, fast food, fatty foods, alcohol, smoking and sugar to achieve effective results. Running is more motivating than eating less, plus it’s a lot more fun.
Imagine going for a walk in the park, the sky looks clearer and the grass looks greener. Would you rather gulp down a jug of green vegetable juice on your all-liquid diet, or run barefoot on fresh green grass? If you choose the latter, then read on.
Another advantage of running is there aren’t any side effects to worry about. Nutrient-restricting diets or liquid diets may lead to many problems in the future such as stretch marks, damage to the heart, kidney or liver and may initially cause fatigue, nausea and dizziness as well.
With running you will not only lose weight but improve your heart health and increase your stamina as well.
Running is something your ancestors have been doing since the beginning of time. While their motivation was different – to hunt and gather food – they were leaner and healthier than the average American couch potatoes.
Dieting is something people have come up with quite recently, due to the weight problems people are suffering from nowadays, especially if the problems lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease, there is not much you can do about it than fix the problem by making restrictions.
Before you get started
Running is not as easy as it may sound. In order to start running you must adjust your body with a foundation level of fitness so that you can run without any problems. Each step you make with running, stresses your body weight entirely on the joints, muscles and tendons of your knees, ankles and feet.
If you are overweight, you must make sure you are following a proper running technique. An improper running technique may cause discomfort in your legs and its muscles with every step you make. So before you begin, fix your diet, get rid of the unhealthy varieties such as fast food and refined sugars, and build a better foundation for yourself with low-impact training such as walking, swimming, hiking or biking.
The less weight your legs will have to support, the less work your legs do and the lesser will be the chances of developing muscle, tendon or joint injuries.
As for pace; pick a pace that is most comfortable to you. Walk steadily and not too vigorously. However, try to walk at a pace that is faster than your usual walking style. Don’t sweat on it, just enjoy it.
If you are having difficulty breathing or if you are panting or huffing and puffing through your mouth, you are most probably walking at a pace that is too fast for your own good. Do not end your walks and jogs feeling tired or drained, you have to feel the opposite. If you do not feel energetic and pumped up after a power walk, you are probably going wrong somewhere and it is most probably your pace.
Try to speak a few sentences, if you say them correctly without an interruption due to gasped breathing, you are fine and you can move on. However, if you do not talk normally, it means you need a little rest until you can speak the words without any breathing between the words.
How to get started
The most important advice which you will hear from many runners is that you must start slow. If you start too fast or too vigorously, you might injure yourself, so have mercy on your body and let it acclimatize to the stress you are giving it, slowly and gradually. Running 3-5 times a week is more than enough to stay fit, even if you aim at losing weight. Start off your running regime with the following plan:
• Week 1
Walk for ten minutes, start jogging slowly for a minute and then switch to walking to 1 minute. Repeat this circuit five times, so that you are walking and jogging for 10 minutes or more (more is fine as long as you do not feel any discomfort while walking). After you are done, walk for another 5 minutes to let your body rest.
• Week 2
Walk for ten minutes and then start jogging slowly for a couple of minutes and then walk for another 2 minutes. Repeat this circuit of 2 minutes jog and 2 minutes walk, for 10 minutes or more, as long as you do not feel any discomfort. Walk for another 5 minutes to let your body rest.
• Week 3
Walk for ten minutes and then start jogging for 3 minutes. After jogging, start walking and do this for 2 minutes. Repeat the circuit with 3 minutes of jogging and 2 minutes of walking for 15 minutes or more. Walk for an additional 5 to cool down.
• Week 4
Walk for ten minutes and then start jogging for 5 minutes. Start walking for 2 minutes and repeat this circuit with 5 minutes of jogging and 2 minutes of walking for 20 minutes or more. Call it a wrap with a 5 minute walk.
And this can go on until you are comfortable with running for 10 or more minutes straight and then increase to 20 minutes and finally 30. Allowing your body to get used to the stress will prevent damage and allow you to run faster with more stamina as you progress. The key is to have fun while running; your technique will improve as you increase your running frequency.
Set a goal
In order to stay focused, you must set your goals and familiarize yourself with how you can achieve them. A realistic goal will make you feel motivated as you progress and prevent feelings of failure. For example, if you tell yourself that you will start your running regime first thing in the morning and run for 30 minutes, you might do it twice this week, maybe even thrice but you will end up taking the later weeks off for rest. Therefore, start slow and have a running plan.
Find a running companion
The best person you can actually have fun with while running is your friend. Therefore, find a friend who is at the same level of training and ability as you are. Find a novice runner like yourself so that you have someone who will run beside you, not in front of you. Encourage each other when one person is not in the mood to run and keep moving forward. You will probably not want to let your friend down and hence, keep yourself motivated all the way through.
Maintain a journal
This journal should contain everything about your running. Make a note every time you run, where you run, when you run, what time, how was the weather, how was running different from usual and how you felt while running. This way, whenever you feel a bit less keen than usual to running, you can look into your diary and make yourself feel good and encouraged to run more.
Join a running club
At a running club you will find people at different levels of ability, including novice runners. This way you will make a few new great friends and find a running partner as well.
Do not make running tedious, it is important that you have fun while running and the best thing you can do to make sure that your running experience is fun and different from your previous session, is mix it up. Do not follow the same route every day; instead find new places where you will see new people, new objects, and new sceneries to make your running experience feel different and more vibrant. If you want to do other cardio exercises for a bit of variety, then check out our flat belly exercises you can do at home and even more exercises for a flat belly.