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Running for Weight Loss

If dropping a few pounds is one of your goals this year, running is one of the best exercises that you can incorporate into your life. Itís a great way to efficiently burn calories and, when combined with a low fat, low calorie diet, is a healthy and effective way to lose weight. In addition, you can run almost anywhere and the cost is zero. This makes it a convenient part of an exercise regime that anyone can benefit from.

The first step to losing weight is to burn more calories than you take in, and running is a great way to do that. In fact, runnersworld.com cites a study conducted at Syracuse University that showed that after about a mile on a treadmill ďmen burned an average of 124 calories while runningĒ and women ďburned 105.Ē The article explained that men burned more calories than women due to their higher body weight. By cutting calories in your diet and expending them through running, you can consistently drop pounds.

The thought of running may seem daunting to you if you are new to it; donít let that deter you. Simply start slow and pay attention to form. The proper form includes keeping your head up and body straight with relaxed shoulders. Keep arms close to the body and swing them straight, not across your body. Donít worry about lifting your knees too high; doing so will burn unnecessary energy. Keep hips aligned and hands cupped lightly. Proper form will ensure the most efficient calorie burn and help to prevent injuries. Eventually you will be able to work your way up to longer distances and greater speed. Give yourself time and it just may become natural.

Now letís talk about eating habits. No matter how many calories you burn, you will only lose weight if you are expending more calories than you are taking in. Many people incorrectly believe that they can eat whatever they want when partaking in a vigorous exercise regime. Fuel up with healthy foods like complex carbohydrates and protein for energy, and make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Water, complex carbs and protein will also help you to feel full and satisfied, which will help keep you from overeating. Like any exercise, running also helps you to de-stress and to clear the mind. Since stress often leads to overeating, mindless eating and other unhealthy habits, activities that eradicate it can be powerful allies to weight loss. Combine running with activities like yoga for an effective approach to weight loss and whole body health.

Unlike many exercises, running does not require expensive gym memberships or fancy equipment. Many people feel that they cannot lose weight without spending a ton on pricey foods or personal trainers, but that is just not the case. Running, as well as activities like hiking, cycling and swimming, are great low or no cost ways drop pounds. And a healthy diet doesnít have to cost a fortune either. Just stick to fruits, veggies, lean protein and complex carbohydrates. That old standby, the food pyramid, is a great reference for building a healthy diet.

You may think that you could never be a runner, and itís time to let go of that thinking. Stretch beforehand and use proper form to prevent injuries, start slow and you will find yourself happily pounding the pavement in no time. And not only will a healthy diet and exercise regimen lead to weight loss, the combination will leave you feeling great. So get out there and start running!

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