Running is an effective means to lose weight. However, healthy weight loss is a slow process that requires maintaining a balance between the number of calories consumed and the number of calories burned. Combining regular exercise, like running a mile a day, with a healthy, reduced-calorie diet decreases caloric intake and increases the number of calories burned, thus promoting weight loss.
The human body uses the calories from foods to create the fuel it needs to meet its daily energy requirements. Calories not immediately used for energy are stored in the body as fat. Consuming fewer calories and increasing physical activity can lead to weight loss because it forces the body to use the calories stored as fat. However, if you consume more calories each day than you burn during a 1-mile run, your body will not tap into its energy stores, and you will not lose weight.
A healthy diet and daily exercise routine is necessary to manage your weight. One pound of fat equals around 3,500 calories, according to the American Council on Exercise. This means that the body must burn 3,500 calories more than it consumes to shed one pound. You can achieve this by reducing your daily caloric intake by 500 calories. According to Harvard Health Publications, a 155-pound person burns approximately 500 calories running an 7-minute mile, so you can lose weight running one mile daily if you strictly monitor the amount of calories you consume and expend each day to ensure you're creating a 500-calorie deficit.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 75 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular activity each week to lose weight. Running is a vigorous activity, but if you are just starting out, running a full mile might be difficult. Start with a slower pace and shorter distance. As your stamina and muscular endurance builds, increase the pace and distance of your runs to shed pounds quicker. If you cannot run continuously, start by alternating between walking and running.
Establishing a healthy weight loss program requires incorporating a healthy diet into your exercise routine. Eat smaller portions, drink less alcohol, eat healthier snacks and replace high-calorie foods with lower-calorie options to cut calories. Balanced diets consisting of healthy foods like whole grains, low-fat proteins, vegetables and fruits can meet the body’s nutritional and caloric needs, giving you the energy you need to keep up with your daily 1-mile runs.
Because running is a high-impact activity, doing it daily can weaken your joints. It's also best to limit high-impact activities if you have bone or joint ailments, such as arthritis or osteoporosis. If you want to lose weight without putting too much strain on your joints, alternate running with elliptical training. Elliptical training mimics the motion of running without impacting your joints. It burns up to 400 calories in just 30 minutes, according to Harvard Health Publications, so it can also help you lose weight.
- American Council on Exercise: Trimming Off the Fat
- Helpguide.org: The Benefits of Exercise How to Get Moving and Supercharge Your Life
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity do Adults Need?
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights