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Beginners Guide to Running for Weight Loss

Weight loss is no easy task, but exercise like running can make the journey easier. Running for weight loss requires some planning, especially for beginners.

After the first week, however, you should be well on your way to losing weight and begin to enjoy the process, because running is an awesome stress reliever and makes you feel great, when you do it right!

Beginner’s Guide to Running for Weight Loss

1. Check your diet. New fitness routines will bring great progress if you also incorporate the right diet. Remember that weight loss begins in the kitchen and no amount of exercise will help you lose weight if your diet is subpar. On the other hand, a healthy diet centered around whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats will support weight loss. But even better, this type of diet gives you the energy and motivation to stick with any fitness goals.

2. Write out your goals. Many people do better when they have definitive goals they are working towards. Goals can help you stay motivated or remind you why you are passing on the pie. Consider short- and long-term goals. For example, you could aim for 6 to 8 pounds of weight loss each month as short-term goals and aim to lose 30 pounds as your long-term goal.

Using short-term goals can help you track your progress, so you know your efforts are paying off.

3. Get the right gear. Consider if you will run indoors on a treadmill, outside at a park or a combination, then get the proper clothing to keep you warm or cool, depending where you run. Choose shoes that will protect your feet and ankles by doing a little research and asking other runners what they use.

The right gear can help ensure you are injury-free and feeling good so you will more likely stick with your fitness plan.

4. Make a Plan. Plan your meals ahead of time each week, so you don’t have to think too much about food. Try shopping at the beginning of each week and prepare food ahead of time, because his can help you avoid the temptation of restaurants and unhealthy fast food meals. Create a plan for your workout, as well.

A plan helps you map out how you will gradually increase your workout intensity, like running distance, so you enjoy progress without injury.

5. Begin with a walk and run program. If you are new to running, you will save a lot of stress on your bones, joints and muscles by allowing your body time to adapt. Many people find it is easier to begin with a 10 to 30-minute walk and incorporate short periods of running.

For example, your first walk might be 20 minutes long as you alternate walking for 4 ½ minutes then go into a slow run for 30 seconds then back to walking, and so on. Slowly increase your running time while reducing walking time.

Writing out a plan, as mentioned above, can help you stay organized and keep track of your progress. This method is a great way to stay motivated, too.

6. Run every other day to give your body time to recover from your workout and avoid injury. If you prefer to exercise more often, try just walking on the “off” days or do something else like light weight training, hiking or 30 minutes of stretching.

7. Increase distance slowly and gradually. At first, many people pay more attention to the amount of time running to ensure they exercise enough for weight loss. But as you get more into the sport, you might find it fun to keep track of distance, too. This is another way to keep track of progress and stay motivated.

But keep in mind that some experts recommend increasing distance by no more than 10% each week.

8. Use a fitness tracker with a personal fitness app. Most apps offer workouts that allow you to earn updates, achievement badges and a community to cheer you along. And some even offer real rewards, like a tee shirt, when you complete a virtual race.

9. Incorporate cross training. This means incorporating other workouts along with your running routine. Some ideas include HIIT classes, yoga, cycling or swimming. Using varied workouts stimulates other muscles to develop that are not used in running.

This is a way to keep your body balanced and avoid injury.

10. Stay motivated. There are a number of ways to do this, and using more than one method will increase your chance for weight loss success. Some ideas include focusing on your end goal by posting reminders and pictures where you can see them each day.

These might include pictures of new clothes or quotes that remind you why you want to lose weight.

Recognizing your accomplishments every day can keep you in a positive mindset, while having a support system can encourage you when you need it most. So, keep track of your accomplishments and find a community like Yes.Fit or joining the Facebook group of like-minded people either through friends or social media.

No matter what you choose, encouragement from yourself and others is helpful for anyone to reach their goals.

11. Have fun with your workout. Use whatever it takes to help you enjoy your workout. Some people use the time to enjoy their favorite music, some listen to hypnotherapy or motivational recordings, while others may listen to a recording of their favorite book.

Fun for others might lie in new workout gear such as new shoes, smartwatch or good-looking clothes.

12. Remember to recover. Recovery time is just as important as the workout. This is the time your body uses to repair muscles tissue and rebuild it, and you get stronger and shapelier. It’s also the time you need to let your body adapt to the stress of the new workout and recovery is healthy for your mindset.

Take at least one day off each week to enjoy yourself, take a slow walk, get a massage or take a long soak in a hot tub.

Running is popular for many reasons and this beginner’s guide to running for weight loss can serve as a reminder to create a plan for yourself. As your body adapts, you will begin to feel stronger and more empowered, and of course you will burn calories to help you lose weight.

But you will also enjoy how good you feel both physically and mentally, and learn why running is a popular sport for many fitness enthusiasts.

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