A study of over 120,000 runners has found that running weight loss increases with the distance run per week. It sounds pretty obvious really, but the people that run most miles in a week weighed less and had smaller waist measurements than those who ran less. This is a clear indication of just how effective running or jogging can be for reducing weight.
The fundamental reason that running is so effective is that weight loss depends upon creating a deficit of energy, or a calorie deficit. Simply use up more calories everyday than you consume (e.g. from eating) and you will start to use up your fat reserves – and lose weight. Running uses more calories per hour than any other form of exercise. This is because it is fully weight bearing – unlike, for instance, swimming or cycling. It is also very intense – most other exercises are intermittent, but running is full on for the whole time.
Another study of mildly overweight people in their 50s and 60s found that, as long as the participants did not change their diet, those who started running regularly lost around 10% of their body weight in a year. So much for middle age spread being inevitable! At the same time they increased their VO2 max – the scientific measure of physical work capacity. Whilst not covered by this particular study, the participants also will have benefited from improvements to their cardiovascular fitness, and a strengthening of their immune systems. Running really is the best way to lose weight, and improve your health!