Jogging: does running make you lose weight?


With the arrival of sunny days, many people are looking to get rid of the few pounds accumulated during the winter. Among the many slimming alternatives, running stands out as an accessible activity and beneficial to our overall health. But is running really a reliable way to lose weight? We take stock with Mathieu Jouys, dietitian nutritionist within the performance optimization unit of the French Athletics Federation.

Jogging, a complete activity!

Running, also called jogging, jogging or running, is a complete endurance sport that provides numerous benefits for our physical and mental health:

  • Regular jogging allows to increase your cardiovascular and respiratory endurance. The heart becomes more and more efficient at pumping and redistributing blood and oxygen to the muscles, making it possible to sustain prolonged efforts.
  • Elle uses many muscle groups, especially the muscles of the legs, glutes, abdominals and back. By running regularly, you develop your muscular strength and tone your body overall.
  • She favors optimal use of energy reserves (sugars and fats) by the body and can promote weight loss.
  • Running is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. When we run, our body releases endorphins which provide a feeling of well-being and euphoria. Furthermore, the concentration required during the race allows you to clear your mind and put aside everyday worries.
  • Practiced regularly, it helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle and promotes deeper, more restful sleep.
  • Progress in terms of distance or speed also boost self-confidence. Each kilometer traveled can become a personal victory, which strengthens self-esteem and the desire to take on new challenges.
  • Jogging can also become a social activity. Joining a running group or participating in sporting events allows you to meet new people who share the same goals. Running in a group usually offers additional support and motivation to remain regular in your practice.

Running: which parts of the body are used the most?

As noted above, running uses almost every muscle in the body. It mainly involves the lower limb musclesbut also mobilizes stabilizing muscles (those of the trunk). Without forgetting the upper limb muscles which are still mobilized through the swinging movements of the arms. In detail, the race mobilizes:

  • THE calvesinvolved in thrust during the propulsion phase;
  • THE hamstrings located at the back of the thigh, which play a crucial role in the flexion movement of the leg;
  • THE quadriceps located at the front of the thigh, strongly used to propel the body forward with each stride;
  • THE glutesactivated to stabilize the hips and knees during running, but also to provide power when pushing forward;
  • THE abswhich help maintain good posture while running;
  • THE lumbarwhich help stabilize the spine and absorb shock upon impact with the ground.

Although the arms are not directly involved in propulsion during running, they play a role in balance and coordination, notes Mathieu Jouys. The shoulders can also be used to maintain good posture. The back muscles are also used to maintain an upright posture and to stabilize the spine while running.

How does running promote weight loss?

Running can promote weight loss in several ways…

It increases calorie expenditure

As a cardiovascular activity, it greatly increases energy expenditure: when running, the body burns lots of calories to provide energy to moving muscles. The higher the intensity of the race and the longer the duration of the effort, the more calories you burn! Thus, jogging can induce a calorie deficit, essential for losing weight.

It increases the basal metabolism

Running regularly helps increase basal metabolism, that is to say, to increase the quantity of calories that our body burns at rest to maintain its vital functions. In other words, by developing muscle mass and improving cardiovascular health, running stimulates metabolism, which leads to increased calorie burningeven when you're not running!

It reduces body fat

Running does help reduce body fat, especially visceral fat, which is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Thus, by combining a balanced diet and regular exercise, it is possible to lose fat. while preserving muscle masse, which is essential to maintain a high metabolism.

It helps regulate your appetite

Physical exercise, including running, can help regulate appetite by impacting the hormones that control hunger and satiety. Physical activity notably reduces levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite, and increases levels of leptin, a hormone that induces satiety. As a result, frequent runners may be less prone to food cravings and manage to better control their calorie intake.

It limits stress and anxiety

Like any sporting activity, running helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression. by stimulating the release of endorphins, neurotransmitters that provide a feeling of well-being and euphoria. As a reminder, better stress management can promote healthier and healthier food choices. reduce emotional eating behaviorswhich can contribute to weight loss.

Does running make you lose belly fat?

Running can indeed help reduce abdominal fat, especially visceral fat, but it is important to understand that localized fat loss (in the stomach, arms or thighs) is difficult – if not impossible – to guarantee only through physical activity! To achieve the best results, it is important to combine running with a healthy diet and a balanced lifestyle.

How many calories can you lose per session?

Difficult to answer this question… The number of calories burned per training session actually varies from one session to another depending on many factors: the intensity level of the session and its duration, genetics, individual's age, gender, body composition, metabolism and fitness level.

When and how long should you run to lose weight?

“To promote weight loss, it is better to focus on prolonged efforts that stimulate the aerobic energy system: the ideal is to achieve a continuous effort of more than 30 minutes in fundamental endurance », replies Mathieu Jouys. And to clarify straight away: “gradually increase the duration, intensity and frequency of your sessions to avoid injuries and allow your body to better adapt to the efforts! » For example, you can start with alternate walking and running : 5 minutes of running then 2 minutes of walking, then 10 minutes of running and 4 minutes of walking, etc.

What is the ideal speed for jogging?

As stated above, the ideal is to run with basic endurance. Otherwise, at a speed that allows you to run while chatting without being out of breath. This speed can be more or less slow depending on the experience of the runners and their physical condition. It's better to run long and slowly rather than going at full speed and stopping after 500 meters!

Morning or evening: when to go running?

There is no good or bad time to go running: it all depends your preferences and possibilities ! Some people are in better shape in the morning and put on their sneakers before going to work, while others prefer to save themselves for the end of the afternoon. However, with the aim of losing weight, it may be interesting to go for a run in the morning on an empty stomach… “In the absence of immediately available glycogen reserves, the body is more likely to draw on fat reserveswhich can promote weight loss in the long term,” indicates Mathieu Jouys.

The real secret? Regularity! First, aim two to three running sessions per week and gradually increase the frequency if you feel like it.

Is going for a 30 minute run every day enough to lose weight?

At the risk of surprising you, no, regular running is not necessarily enough to lose weight… As a reminder, weight loss is based on the balance between caloric intake (the calories that you absorb through food) and calorie expenditure (the calories you burn through exercise and daily activities). Running is a great way to burn calories, but if your caloric intake is greater than your caloric expenditureyou will not lose weight!

This is why physical activity must be associated with varied and balanced diet : “an unbalanced diet or one that is too high in calories can counteract the effects of running,” notes Mathieu Jouys. In addition, consider incorporating muscle strengthening exercises into your sports routine. This will increase your muscle mass, which can help burn calories during workouts and daily activities. You can also focus on other complementary sports to vary pleasures and limit monotony: swimming, tennis, cycling, etc.

“By adopting all these tips and remaining as active as possible on a daily basis, we can consider that the first effects appear after three to four weeks ! », estimates the expert.

In video: “Does sport make you lose weight? » – Response from Father Martine Duclos

In summary, how can you promote weight loss by running regularly?

  • Establish a progressive training plan and realistic : integrate phases of brisk walking if you are starting out, then gradually increase the duration and intensity of the runs.
  • Adopt good technique: keep back straight and shoulders relaxed throughout the race. And synchronize your breathing well with your strides.
  • Choose the right equipment: opt for suitable running sneakers to your foot and your practice and use clothing that is sufficiently loose and breathable.
  • systematically think about joint and muscle warm-up.
  • Drink enough water before, during and after your sessions. And maintain a diet rich in essential nutrients paying attention to quantities.
  • Don't try to go faster than the music and take days off to allow your body to recover and limit injuries (do not run two days in a row).
  • Do not run if you are sick or feel tired and stop if you feel any persistent pain.
  • feel free to to take notes to monitor your progress (distance, timing, feelings, etc.) You can also use applications or connected watches to monitor your performance.

By following these tips, you will maximize your chances of lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way while running!

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