How Running to Lose Weight Works

By: Caitlin Uttley

Burn Calories Running

We know that in order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. And if your goal is weight loss, then you need to find ways to either reduce your caloric intake or increase your calorie burn. Luckily, running can give you the calorie-burning boost that you need.

The amount of calories you can burn from running depends on several factors, but the biggest is your weight. In general, you can calculate calories burned per mile of running by multiplying your weight (in pounds) by .63. So, if you weigh 150 pounds (68 kg), you'll burn approximately 94.5 calories for each mile you run. If you weigh 200 pounds (91 kg), you'll burn 126 calories [source: Runner's World].


Running a mile isn't easy, and running enough miles to burn the calories to lose 1 pound may seem like a lot. But remember, weight loss takes time and, added up over a few weeks and months, you'll notice some real differences. And if you combine running with a healthy diet with less saturated fat and fewer calories, you'll notice results even faster. As you build muscle from exercise, your body will naturally burn more calories than it did before, because a body with more muscle burns more calories all the time, not just when you're running [source: Mayo Clinic].

The unfortunate thing about running -- and all exercise in general -- is that if you continue to do the same exercise every day, your body adapts and actually becomes more efficient at using calories to do the work. So, for example, if you jog the same distance at the same speed every day, eventually you will burn fewer and fewer calories each time you run than you did in the beginning. To keep your body from adapting to your workout, you can change it up by increasing the intensity, speed and length of your workout. In the next section, we'll look at some specific running tactics for weight loss and some of the ways to make sure you don't fall into the trap of adaptation.