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Running for Weight Loss

On the H3 Daily blog, you are sure to see many running related posts.  Not only do we love running for its cardiovascular benefits – but it’s also free, you can do it anywhere and at anytime.  Plus running gives you a sense of accomplishment and if you participate in local races you can gain a support of running friends.  However, the most popular draw of running is the calorie burn associated with hitting the treadmill.  (You burn about 8.5 calories a minute when moving at a comfortable pace.)  So it makes sense right – you are looking to lose weight so why not keep adding on the minutes?  This may be true at first, but just like any other form of exercise, your body will become more efficient and you may hit a plateau.  Plus, running long distances on a regular basis takes a physical toll, can cause injuries and can seriously hinder your enthusiasm. 

So how do you keep motivated to run and work towards your weight loss goals?  By learning how to make your runs more efficient at burning fat (by running with more intensity and by making your body stronger), you can get more benefits in less time. You’ll still need to run three to five days a week, but rarely for more than 20 minutes at a time if you follow the three tips below. That’s not so bad, right?

If you follow this blog regularly or have ever been to H3 – you have heard about, seen or participated in this type of training.  Interval training is simply short bursts of intense exercise with periods of recovery in between.  When you stick to the same comfortable pace (as most people do), your body doesn’t have to work as hard – but when you switch it up your body becomes less efficient and has to burn more calories to do the activity.  So would you rather – waste an hour at a comfortable pace OR get busy and in 20 minutes and you’re done?

Here’s a plus:  Not only do you burn calories while exercising – you increase your metabolism for hours after! 

Intervals come in a wide variety of times, sizes and pace – it’s flexible!  Mix up short, medium and long intervals to keep muscles guessing.  Devote one day a week to an interval routine – and switch it up each week.

INCLINE (Treading anyone?)
One of the most popular classes at H3 – treading – is a cardio interval workout using different variances of incline on the treadmill.  Not only does it alleviate boredom – but you have to put in extra effort to get up those hills!  Your body will thank you in the long run – stronger legs and an increase in caloric burn.  Like interval training – devote one day a week to incline (hills). 

You are probably wondering how lifting weights will help you reach your weight goals through running but studies have shown that runners who did resistance-training exercises two or three days a week, in addition to their weekly cardio regimens, increased their leg strength and enhanced their endurance. Plus, resistance exercise helps keep you injury-free.  A recent study in the journal Clinical Biomechanics found that female runners who did six weeks of lower-body exercises, like the ones that follow, improved their leg strength, particularly in the hips–a common source of pain and injury for runners. 

Aim for two to three days of strength training per week.  View our YouTube channel for a variety of strength training tips and workout routines.

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