Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Running to Lose Weight Works


Weight Loss Running Plans

The best weight-loss running plans start gradually and increase in length and intensity over time. Starting slow eases your body into the new routine, keeps you from tiring quickly and helps you stay motivated. Feeling burned out early on can be discouraging -- and giving up because your workout feels too hard certainly doesn't benefit your waistline.

You'll want to run often enough that it becomes part of your routine, but not so much that you get burned out quickly. If you're just starting out, try to get out about three times a week. Even if you only run 10 or 15 minutes at a time in the beginning, the fact that you're getting out and getting active is a step in the right direction. From there, add a few minutes in motion to your regimen each week.

As we mentioned before, changing your routine helps to keep your body from adapting to the workout. One way to do this is with interval training, or alternating periods of intense activity with periods of lighter activity. In the beginning, try alternating between walking and jogging. Later, as your stamina improves, you might alternate jogging with running. The short bursts of intense activity boost your calorie burning, even if it's for just a brief period of time. Plus, it keeps you from tiring as quickly and breaks the workout into manageable chunks, which can help you stay motivated and keep you from getting bored.

Another way to change up the routine is by running on an incline like a hill. The benefits of this are pretty easy to recognize -- if you've ever tried to walk or run up a hill, you know that it's much more difficult than on level ground. And if you have to work harder to do it, then you'll burn more calories.

Lastly, your eating habits need to be on board with your running plan. Just because you've started running doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want -- if you're burning more calories but you're also eating more, you're not going to lose the pounds you're hoping for. Besides, your body is the only machine you need for running, so keep it fueled with the right foods and you'll reap the rewards the next time you step on the scale.

So what equipment will you need to get started running for weight loss? Find out in the next section.


More to Explore