Losing weight and keeping it off can be challenging, but research shows that physical activity can help you shed pounds and keep them off in the long term.
In fact, research from the National Weight Control Registry showed that people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for one year or longer exercised an average of about an hour per day!
No matter how much weight you want to lose, starting a regular exercise routine can benefit your health and make losing weight easier—especially if you include these 9 tips in your routine!
1. Set goals that are achievable
If you’re running to lose weight, set short-term (1–2 weeks) and long-term (3–6 months) goals.
For your first week, try to run three times a week.
By next month, shoot for five or six days of running each week.
Long term, you want to be running consistently—at least four times a week—so that your body is more comfortable with it.
Remember that consistency is key here:
Don’t get discouraged if you can’t hit all your goals at once and don’t give up when things are going slow.
Aim for 30 minutes a day of exercise and three days of exercise per week in addition to any other physical activity.
And be sure to take rest days!
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2. Do your research and talk to experts
If you’re going to incorporate running into your weight-loss plan, you’ll want to be smart about it.
Talk to a doctor or registered dietitian before you make any major changes so that they can help keep you on track.
If your goal is to lose weight, aim for high-intensity sprints instead of long-distance runs on an empty stomach.
Since long-distance running burns fewer calories than short sprints and lacks intensity, it won’t result in fat loss and will even cause muscle loss.
Most importantly, if weight loss is your goal.
Keep in mind that running can increase appetite.
Especially if you run at night—and may encourage unhealthy snacking between meals as well as after workouts.
3. Create a meal plan
To lose weight, you’ll need to pay attention to what you eat and how much.
Meal planning can help you do that and make sure that you don’t go over your caloric budget at mealtime.
Put together a list of healthy foods that are easy to prepare or grab on the go, so you can have healthier meals at home or on the road.
If cooking isn’t your thing, find out if a nearby supermarket offers healthy ready-to-eat meals or whether restaurants in your area are serving up dishes under 500 calories.
4. Start with running basics
Start with a basic running form and work your way up to longer distances.
To keep weight loss in perspective, remember that slow and steady wins every time.
Run for 20–30 minutes 3–4 times per week at a moderate pace—whatever pace allows you to carry on a conversation without getting winded.
If you’re trying to lose weight, it can be helpful to put a daily cap on how many calories you burn through exercise.
Runners tend to use calorie burned calculators liberally.
While they’re not an exact science, those calculators do help keep things in perspective by giving you an idea of how hard your body has been working when it comes down to what you eat later in the day.
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5. Consider other exercise options
While running is a tried-and-true weight-loss tool, it’s not for everyone.
Before picking up your sneakers, make sure you check with your doctor to ensure running is safe and reasonable for you to do.
If you are unable or unwilling to run there’re many other great forms of exercise that can help with weight loss, from swimming and cycling to strength training and yoga.
Plus, working out often makes people hungrier.
Especially when they work out at high intensity.
So if you tend to overeat after exercise rather than before or during a workout it might be worth considering which workout routine helps keep hunger at bay best.
6. Get the right gear (clothes, shoes, accessories)
If you are serious about losing weight, investing in high-quality running gear is essential.
It’s probably best to leave your heavy jeans and t-shirts at home and opt for lightweight synthetic fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin.
Look for shoes that have cushioned soles, plenty of room in front of your toes, and extra arch support.
The same rule applies to accessories:
Don’t forget a good hydration belt or water bottle (the heavier it is, the more incentive you will have to fill it up!) as well as a hat to keep the excess sun off your head and out of your eyes.
Finally, be sure to avoid cotton underwear because when it gets wet it will stay wet longer than synthetic options.
7. Stay motivated
One of your biggest hurdles to running for weight loss may be staying motivated.
If you don’t want to run one day, feel like you can’t fit in a workout because of work, or simply aren’t feeling it that morning, remember that people succeed when they pick a goal and are dedicated to accomplishing it.
Motivation is fickle and hard to find sometimes;
Especially when you are struggling with something difficult like changing bad habits and building a healthy lifestyle.
This can be frustrating but try not to get discouraged if you have these types of days.
Instead, find ways to keep yourself motivated.
Like listening to music while you run or thinking about how much healthier your body will become over time by incorporating exercise into your daily routine.
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8. Have fun with it!
It’s important to love your fitness routine.
Make sure that you’re doing something you enjoy, whether it’s running, cycling, or another activity you love.
In fact, research has shown that your level of enjoyment can have a huge impact on how much weight you lose as well as how long you stick with your program.
If possible, schedule time for regular workouts and aim to fit at least 30 minutes of physical activity into each day of your week.
If that seems unrealistic, start off with 10–15 minutes per day and work up from there!
9. When you’re ready, sign up for a race
There’re tons of reasons to sign up for a race.
It’s an event, it helps you stay motivated, and it gets you in shape.
But racing is also an excellent way to lose weight.
If you don’t have a specific race in mind, try setting aside some time at home on your own or with friends to train as if you were training for a 5K.
This will give you structure and will get your competitive juices flowing!
Once you’ve done some solo training, find a 5K nearby and sign up.
The next thing to do is make sure that when race day comes around, that voice inside of you that says you can’t do it isn’t right—do it anyway!
Running is a fantastic form of exercise.
Not only does it burn calories, but it also helps to clear your mind and provide you with some much-needed downtime from your everyday responsibilities.
However, if you want to get in shape, lose weight and improve your health as quickly as possible, it’s a good idea to combine running with another activity.
Runners should add in strength training workouts at least three times per week to maximize their results.
This will give them additional energy and help speed up their metabolism so they can burn fat more efficiently while simultaneously toning key muscle groups.
By adding simple bodyweight exercises (such as squats and pushups) into their workout routines, runners can lose weight safely and stay healthy for years to come!
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