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Does Running Burn Fat?

    man in yellow t-shirt and blue denim shorts running on road during daytime

    Running is a form of cardiovascular exercise, meaning that not only is it good for your heart; it helps burn fat all over your body. Running at high intensity will not only help you burn calories more quickly than running slowly, it can boost your metabolism — meaning that your body will keep burning fat well after you stop running. If you are running to lose weight, then in addition to burning fat, you also want to burn calories, and a high-intensity workout helps running burn more calories.

    If weight loss is your goal, then aerobic activity–walking or running–burns a statistically significant higher amount of fat. You actually burn more fat walking or jogging slowly, instead of running at a faster rate.

    You will burn more muscle when you are undernourished, or when you lack adequate body fat, by running. When you combine running with a smart eating plan, you will burn fat throughout your body, and your arms will proportionately contract.

    When it comes to running and fat loss, you need to constantly challenge your body in order to make progress. Even if fat loss is not one of your goals, running benefits your mental and physical health in many ways. Whether you are looking to slim down to get slightly leaner, or your goal is to lose significant amounts of weight in a sustainable manner, running can help.

    Here are a few tips to help you lose weight while combining a running plan with a healthy, low-calorie diet. While there is not one best running workout to lose weight, you can maximize your weight-loss potential by combining several types of workouts.

    To achieve your best results with running, you will want to make sure that you are running the correct pace, distance, and volume for maximum weight loss. To burn more fat and calories, you are going to need to change up your running routine and include a few new workouts — be they longer distances and speeds, or interval workouts. This is because if you consistently run the same distance and pace, your body will adapt, and eventually, you will burn less calories.

    According to experts from Harvard, the type of running you are doing, along with speed and body mass, affects the amount of calories you burn in a given amount of time. The intensity of your runs, what you are eating, and when can all impact the amount of fat you burn during a run. One of the biggest problems with simply running at a steady, moderate-intensity pace is that you only burn calories for as long as you are sweating. Moderate-intensity running will let you burn a higher percentage of fat, and you can sustain that kind of training over an extended period, but if you are crunched for time and have to run for shorter periods, then the higher-intensity sessions will use up more energy, resulting in more calorie deficit.

    While lower-intensity workouts will let you burn a higher percentage of calories from fat, working out higher intensity means that you are burning more calories in total. In the case of running, not only does running feel easier to complete when done over and over, training session after training session (even though you are still sweating and kicking your legs), your metabolism will learn and respond to it, too, so fewer calories are burned from the same amount of exertion. A mix of short, interval runs, stable-state resistance runs, and weight workouts will not only maximize fat burning, but they can also help you avoid injuries (another major concern around high-impact exercises such as running). Faster interval runs will help torch more fat, but the increased intensity that makes them so effective also means that you should not be doing them every day.

    The findings mean that for those of us who want to burn fat with running, using a combination of longer-distance running, high-intensity interval workouts, and targeted dietary changes might be a better approach to achieving our health goals. This study found that HIIT reduced fat mass in every type, and running was more effective than cycling at reducing overall fat and visceral fat. The good news is studies have shown moderate-to-high-intensity aerobic exercises like running may be helpful for visceral fat reduction, even without changing diet. A recent study even found you could lose a beneficial amount of body fat without dieting or running.

    Plus, you may even reap the benefits of losing body fat after running, since your body continues burning fat for 2-3 hours after finishing your run. With that information, it is easy to understand why running regularly helps your body burn fat and helps to boost your overall health. By making targeted changes to your diet, and getting the recommended 150-300 minutes of exercise per week from the World Health Organization for adults, you can help your body burn fat by running.

    Runners who have lost weight and kept it off have made weight training a regular part of their routine. Not only will you burn calories when strength training, but the increase in lean muscle mass will enhance running performance. While lifting weights does not make you lose weight, it is a hugely beneficial supplement for your running.

    While running may impact your weight, as we explore more in-depth below, this is obviously complicated. This article will examine how your body sheds weight with running, and how you might actually be losing weight with running.

    While it is possible to create a caloric deficit with just exercising, an intense running regimen puts your body under tremendous strain, increasing your risk for unneeded injuries. Combining aerobic exercise with a healthy, calorie-restricted diet is most effective for overall weight loss as well as for reducing visceral fat, although exercise appears to be more effective than diet at targeting visceral fat. A recent study published in Sports Medicine found that weight training alone could lead to a 1.4% decrease in body fat — about as much as we would expect to lose from aerobics or cardio.


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