Jogging for weight loss improves your health even if you don’t lose any weight! We’ve all heard tales of people who started jogging to lose weight, but who didn’t lose any at all. Well researchers have found that even these people significantly reduced total body fat, and visceral fat. And many studies have linked visceral fat (the fat stored around your organs) to risks of heart disease and of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Incidentally, you may well ask why some people who start jogging fail to lose any weight. Well the research helps explain that too. In order for this group to maintain a stable weight, they had to increase their calorie intake. That’s right, they had to eat more! If they’d done the same amount of exercise (either brisk walking or gentle jogging in this study for 60 minutes a day) without consuming more calories they would have lost on average 8% of their body weight in 3 months. And before you ask, all of these people were in the obese category before the study started.
So jogging for weight loss really works. The only thing that can derail the process is scoffing more to treat yourself for all that hard work. Or giving up all altogether. But if you really wanted to lose weight you would stick at it, wouldn’t you?
The other good news is that all of the participants who exercised, even if they did not lose weight, significantly increased cardiovascular fitness (by about 16%), while the dieters showed no such improvement. And they prevented the slow down of their metabolism which often leads to weight gain. Once again, more proof that jogging for weight loss really works, and even if you sabotage your efforts by eating more, you still improve your overall health.
Many people wonder what the difference is between running and jogging to lose weight. I think that the answer is…time. Let me explain. When people set out to lose weight by exercising, they are not able to run for any significant period of time without overexerting themselves. In fact most people are better off starting with walking and building up rather than diving straight in at running.
It is widely reported that it is better to exercise in the so-called ‘fat burning zone’, so jogging, being lower intensity, should be better for weight loss than running. Whilst it is true that your body cannot burn fat as quickly as other forms of stored energy, what really matters for weight loss is the total number of calories used. Where the energy comes from in the short term is irrelevant, as the short-term energy stores will be replenished after exercising by burning fat.
Incidentally, don’t be put off jogging or running to lose weight by the anti-running BS which lazy people like to promote, which says that runners are much more likely to get injured than non-runners. There is evidence that starting any exercise can cause injuries. Running for the first time in years without any build up can overstress underused muscles and joints.
How can people start losing weight by exercising? All the evidence points to following some basic rules:
- Seek medical advice BEFORE starting out on an exercise regime, especially if you haven’t exercised for some time.
- Start with what you CAN do. Usain Bolt wasn’t able to run 100m in 9.58 seconds the first time he put on running shoes, so why should you expect to be able to run continuously for 30 minutes if you haven’t walked for more than 10 minutes in the last 5 years? Start with walking. Aim for 30 minutes per day. If you can’t manage 30 minutes, start with what you can do and build up. Then start increasing your pace. And so on.
- If it hurts STOP.
In a very short period of time most people will have reached the stage of running for 30 minutes per day. That’s when the real weight loss kicks in. But even before then the health benefits will have started – improvements to cardiovascular health, and an improved immune system to name just two!