Any type of exercise will help improve your level of physical fitness. But when it comes to weight loss, running is pretty hard to beat. One of the best things you can do to strengthen your heart and burn calories more efficiently is to take up running.
Here are four reasons why running is arguably the best form of cardiovascular exercise that you can do to lose weight.
1. Running burns lots of calories during and after you’re done.
Low to moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise is great for burning calories during the workout. But running is a high intensity exercise that causes a greater “after burn.” This simply means that your body continues to burn calories at a higher rate even when you’re done running.
Running recruits muscles all over your body – your legs, glutes, hip flexors, abdominals, and other supporting muscles. This is what makes it so effective at burning calories during and after the workout.
2. Running is time-efficient.
Running for 30 minutes will burn more total calories than 60 minutes of walking, riding an elliptical machine, and many other forms of cardio.
3. Running is super convenient.
You don’t need a gym and a bunch of equipment to run. A set of running shoes is all that’s required. You can run alone, and you can do it practically anywhere.
It’s cheap, highly accessible, doesn’t require much time to be effective, and it’s easy to maintain a routine. Exercise can’t be much more convenient than that.
Of course it’s also convenient to stay inside your house and do pushups and jumping jacks, but that’s super boring!
4. Running gets you high.
Die-hard runners describe a euphoric-like feeling that comes over them after pounding the pavement. This feeling is usually referred to as “runner’s high,” and it’s caused by a release of certain chemicals into the bloodstream that make you feel good.
Perhaps the best result of runner’s high is that it becomes addictive! Runners look forward to experiencing it again and again, and this helps them stick with their routines.
The knock on running is that the high impact is bad for your knees and other joints. This is a legitimate concern, so you need to take proper precautions to avoid being seriously injured.
If you’re not a runner, you need to start off very slowly. Run once or at most twice a week to get your body acclimated to it. You should also alternate between running for a minute or two and walking for a few minutes; you can slowly work your way up to full sessions of running.
You need to stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, groin, lower back, and hip flexors before and after you run. And last but not least, invest in a quality pair of running shoes for added injury protection.