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Should you run to lose weight?

One of the most common forms of exercise performed by many Singaporeans is running.
You have probably heard and been told “Want to lose weight, just run lah”.  That said, is running really the best weight loss method for you? 

Here’s what you need to know to help you better decide.

The Pros

Easy to get into

Running is generally an inexpensive form of exercise and can be done anywhere and any time. You can start as slow or as fast a pace as you like and determine the duration and intensity from there.

Easily scalable

It is easy to vary and adjust the intensity of a run. In a nut shell, you either run farther or faster. This can be motivating to some as improvement is easily measured. 

Runner's High

Running produces endorphins, creating what is commonly referred to as the Runner’s High. This leaves many with a feeling of euphoria during and after the run. As such some people really relate to running as a form of destressing. 

Health Benefits

Besides its potential for fat loss, running has been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness, lowering the risk of heart diseases. 

The Cons

Risk of injury is high when done improperly

Unfortunately, many runners do not practice proper form when running until they get injured. Due to it’s repetitive nature, injuries like knee pain and shin splints are common. Pushing yourself too hard without proper progression and bad form can also result in hip, knee, low back and ankle problems in the long run. People trying to increase their mileage too quickly also tend to be injured quickly too.

Could lead to skinny fat

Low intensity, long distance running does not promote much muscle growth. Although you burn calories, the energy required might be from breaking down muscle instead of fat, leading to the undesirable physique known as “skinny fat”. As such, strength training should be part of your routine too. 

Time Consuming

As with most forms of steady state cardio, running does not burn as many calories per minute compared to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) such as Tabata, sprinting, etc. A 10-minute HIIT session can be as effective as 30 minutes of low intensity running. For those short on time, running might not be your best bet. 

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the most important thing is what keeps you motivated and moving. If running is your thing, then by all means. However, if you are doing it in hopes of staying in shape, it may not be your best bet. 

Only you can decide what is best for you, so take the time to explore the various options available. Whatever your choice is, take the time to understand the chosen activity better and always have as much fun as possible while achieving your goals.

If you like what you have read, share this knowledge with a friend.