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Losing Weight With Late-Night Jogging

author image Martin Booe
Martin Booe writes about health, wellness and the blues. His byline has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Bon Appetit. He lives in Los Angeles.
Losing Weight With Late-Night Jogging
Night time gives you solitude. Photo Credit Chris Harvey/Hemera/Getty Images

If you like the idea of jogging late at night and losing weight while you're at it, you might find more company than you expected. For many people, late at night may be the only time available to run after work and family obligations.

Whether you want to run in solitude or in the company of others, keep a few things in mind if you're intent on shedding pounds while running into the wee hours.

Read More: Why Is Sleep Important for Weight Loss?

Advantages to Night or Day

There is no profound advantage metabolically speaking to jogging late at night, but there's no downside, either. Day or night, jogging will quite likely lower your blood sugar and cholesterol, as well as your resting heart rate, and gradually help burn fat and replace it with new muscle, which burns more calories than fat.

You're sure to find there's nothing like regular exercise to re-set your appetite dials to a healthier channel. If you're like many others, evenings at home can easily lead to eating out of boredom. In this case, be conscious of re-channeling your energy and attention into exercise and away from food. Jogging, rather than snacking, is a positive weight-loss strategy.

Regulating Your Meals

One advantage to jogging late at night is that a full meal at dinner still leaves you the recommended three hours to digest your food before engaging in vigorous exercise. Just don't pile on extra helpings by way of self-congratulation because you could wind up gaining weight.

That's because of a deeply-ingrained human tendency both to over-reward oneself with food or to turn into an immobile blob for the rest of the day after you've exercised. It's important to be aware of these compensatory behavioral adaptations because mindfulness is the best defense against these pitfalls.

Jog late at night if that's best for your schedule.
Jog late at night if that's best for your schedule. Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Jogging and Weight Loss

How much jogging would it take to lose, say, 10 pounds? The extent of calorie burning through any kind of exercise varies with a person's size, shape and condition, but most people will burn about 400 to 500 calories jogging for 45 minutes to an hour. Do that daily and you've burned the 3,500 calories needed to lose a pound a week.

A 195-pound, 40-year-old man, for example, would burn off 453 calories by jogging for 45 minutes, meaning he'd lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks -- provided he's not eating to compensate for the calories burned. That puts you squarely in the National Institutes of Health's safe weight loss recommendation of 1 to 2 pounds per week.

However, jogging night or day is not by itself a magic solution to weight loss for most people. To set yourself up for success, your best bet is to start counting calories, creating a weekly deficit of 3,500 to 7,000 calories below what you're currently consuming. Jogging can be part of that calorie deficit, but it also supports your bigger motivation to get fit by making you feel great.

Sleep Effects

Conventional wisdom has it that vigorous exercise late at night will get you all pumped up and alert, thus making it hard for you to settle down and get to sleep. There has not, however, been a great deal of research to support this belief. A study in the July 2010 Journal of Sleep Research found no evidence that vigorous late night exercise diminished sleep quality. That's good news because healthy sleep is a big factor in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

Safety First

If you're going to go jogging late at night, it's important to stay in well-lighted areas with even surfaces. You should also establish whether the area is safe late at night by asking other residents or checking in with the local police. It's not a bad idea to wear a whistle around your neck, just in case you run into trouble.

Another option is joining a group. Late night jogging groups seem to be proliferating around the country, providing camaraderie, mutual safety and support. Some groups combine running with another common interest--such as city murals, in the case of a late-night jogging group called such as BlackList L.A. You can google phrases like "night running in [your area]" or organize your own group through social media.

Read More: Cycling vs. Jogging for Weight Loss

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