Whether you're training for a race, trying to get in shape or simply looking for an affordable way to exercise, running can offer a host of benefits -- including weight loss. Although running for an hour each day can help you achieve a slimmer figure, losing weight consistently requires fueling your body with enough food to run, as well as designing running routines with different lengths and intensities to keep you challenged.
Weight Loss Amount
Although running for an hour a day can help most people lose weight, the number of pounds you'll shed depends on your current body mass, your running speed and the difficulty of your running path. For a 160 pound individual, running for an hour at 5 miles per hour burns 584 calories, or about 1.2 pounds per week, whereas running at 8 miles per hour burns 986 calories, or close to 2 pounds per week. For a 200 pound individual, running at 5 miles per hour burns 1.7 pounds per week, while running at 8 miles per hour burns nearly 3 pounds per week. Running on hilly terrain, sand or other difficult surfaces may increase the calories you burn, resulting in greater weight loss.
Reducing your weight through running can do more than improve your appearance: It can also benefit your health. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, carrying extra body fat can put you at higher risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain cancers, stroke, high cholesterol, liver disease, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis and infertility, particularly if your body mass index is above 25. Achieving a healthier weight with a regular running routine can reduce your risk for these conditions.
Over time, your body may adapt to a particular running routine and become more efficient at burning calories, causing your weight loss to slow down or plateau. In order to continue losing weight by running, vary your exercise routine by incorporating hills, sprints, different distances, new terrain or faster speed. In addition, while consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain, be sure to consume enough food to properly fuel your workouts.
Consult your physician before starting a running program, especially if you have a history of heart disease or respiratory problems. Although physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, running for an hour daily without any breaks may increase your risk of injury. Avoid overtraining by taking rest days as needed, or by varying your exercise routine to include activities other than running.