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How Does Running Help You Lose Weight and Tone Up? (Even If You’re New)

So you’re trying to lose weight, maybe even tone up.

Time and time again — you try something new, only to find yourself fed up with the little to no progress you seem to be making.

All these health gurus, fake promises and grandiose expectations have been leaving you frustrated. And maybe a tiny bit ticked off.

Then finally something new crosses your mind, does running help you lose weight and tone up?

I mean you’ve tried everything else — why not give running a shot?

It’s a heavily debated topic. And a sensitive one at that.

But in today’s article, I’ll be touching on how and why running can help you lose weight and tone up.

Not only that, but altogether you’ll learn:

  • What exactly running does for you
  • How it helps you lose weight and tone up
  • Why running is just part of the equation for losing weight
  • How your genetics play a part

Well, what do you say? Let’s get started.

What Does Running Do?

Increase Heart Rate (Burn Calories)

As you may already know, running increases your heart rate (jeez, who woulda thought?).

As you exert yourself. Your heart has to pump more blood to better provide energy to the worked muscles

This increased heart rate helps transport more energy to certain muscle groups. Leading to an increase in calories burned.

Engages Muscles and Lungs

As mentioned above, exercise helps increase your heart rate. But — that’s not the only muscle that gets involved during a run.

Your quads, calves, glutes, hamstrings and core muscles are all activated during a run.

As mentioned above, exercise helps increase your heart rate. But — that’s not the only muscle that gets involved during a run.

Your quads, calves, glutes, hamstrings and core muscles are all activated during a run.

This leads to an increased amount of blood flow to these areas as well as torn muscle fibers.

The increased blood flow helps with bringing nutrients and oxygen to the muscles to prevent exhaustion.

When your muscle fibers tear they are then later repaired during rest. Usually leading to an increase in muscle mass in that particular muscle group.

As you increase your muscle mass, you’ll also be developing a better ability to burn calories. People with more muscle mass have an easier time burning calories.

It will also engage both of your lungs. As you exert yourself, your body uses more oxygen and ends up producing more carbon dioxide.

Because of this, breathing increases to compensate for the use of oxygen throughout your body.

Regular exercise can strengthen both the heart and lungs. And as you continue doing so your muscles will become more efficient and will require less oxygen and energy.

In return, your heart rate will not increase as drastically and your breathing will not be as heavy.

Increases Blood Flow and Oxygen Distribution

As I’ve said, both your lungs and heart are at work while exercising.

As you do it more, the heart will become stronger and more effective in pumping blood throughout your body. Your lungs will also be more effective at drawing in oxygen for energy.

The cardiovascular benefits incurred by exercise include:

  • Reduced blood pressure while resting
  • The ability to draw in deep breaths is improved
  • Reduced risk of heart disease

Well, Does Running Help You Lose Weight and Tone Up?

Yes, But… With Exception

Look, as great as it would be to be able to eat 2 boxes of pizza and go for a 20-minute run to find that you’ve burnt all of those calories off and have a six-pack.

It’s unrealistic. And well... sort of nonsense.

Besides, who in their right mind would want to do a 20-minute run after 2 boxes of pizza anyways?

Running will help you lose weight and tone up. But only if you combine it with a healthy diet.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again — diet is the number one important thing when trying to lose weight.

You have to be burning more calories than you eat in a day if you want to lose weight.

Now, you can help this process by getting more exercise and increasing your muscle mass. This will lead to an increase in calories burned throughout the day.


If you’re just excessively eating and replacing those calories as you burn them.

You’ll be going nowhere fast.

Do Genetics Play a Role?

I wanted to briefly touch on the aspects of genetics and how they may play a role in your ability to lose weight and tone up.

It’s said that over 400 different genes are shown to be connected in the cases of some overweight and obese people.

They can affect weight loss in many ways some of which include:

  • Sense of fullness
  • Body-fat distribution
  • Metabolism
  • Food cravings
  • Tendency to use eating as a stress-coping mechanism

So, if you’ve ever questioned if running tones your body or if it tones your legs or any particular body part.

There’s no definitive answer. Your body fat distribution is mostly due to genetics.

Nothing you do can change that.

Now, genes could potentially be a problem if:

  • You’ve struggled with weight loss for most of your life
  • One or two of your parents are overweight
  • You can’t lose weight despite an increased frequency of exercise and a consistent low-calorie diet.

With all of that being said. I strongly believe weight loss is achievable for just about everyone.

If you focus on growing your muscles (so you can burn calories easier), frequent exercise, and a healthy diet.

You will see results.

It may take longer for others, for some shorter. But it will happen.

The key is to create a healthy lifestyle that you love and will continue to do for the rest of your life.

Conclusion - Just Do It

In this article I’ve talked about the effects of running on the body and how running, diet and genetics all play a role in your ability to lose weight and tone up.

Nike said it best… just do it.

Although running isn’t a one-punch weight loss cure. It’s definitely effective in accelerating the process.

So before you eat a cheeseburger and think “mhm maybe I’ll just go for a run and burn off the calories”.

I want you to re-evaluate every aspect of your health and fitness.

Everything plays a role, whether you like it or not.

If you’re struggling with motivation and finding a community to help push you with your goals. offers many services to help you with your journey. One of which is virtual races, where they even offer free beginner ones. Check them out!

About the Author

Kyle Stevenson

Kyle is a Canadian health and fitness writer. He’s dedicated over 6 years to his own health and fitness. He loves being active, reading, self improvement and spending time with friends and family.

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