Listen, I’m happy any time you’re exercising. When it comes to exercise, something is better than nothing as far as I’m concerned. That understood, I have to say that when it comes to weight loss, I’m a fan of running in general- and more specifically, running very fast to burn fat.
Why running in general?
Well, running works for most people. Running is efficient and convenient, and it has the added advantage that we all learned how to do it pretty well by the age of 2.
Now mind you, when it comes to maxing out calorie and fat burn in the least amount of time, I must stress that running fast (i.e sprinting) is the type of running we’re aiming for.
And just in case you need more convincing to pick up the pace, here are four very specific reasons why running, especially running fast, will work great if you want to lose weight and tone up in less time.
1. Running fast boosts metabolism. Sprinting or running at a fast pace burns calories, not just while you’re running but for many hours after, as demonstrate in a 2011 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise. This 2011 studyshowed that increased energy expenditure after intensive exercise continued for 14 hours after the exercise ended, burning an additional 37% more calories than the exercise itself. This increased post exercise calorie burn is also known as the “afterburn effect,” or “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” (EPOC), in science-speak. The IDEA Fitness Journal reports that “exercise intensity is the main factor in determining the magnitude and duration of EPOC following aerobic exercise.” So a leisurely jog through the neighborhood is not going to cut it if you want the afterburn effect. To get the afterburn effect you’ve got to really up your exercise intensity with protocols like high intensity interval training, or HIIT. Furthermore, IDEA Fitness Journal goes on to encourage at least 2 sessions of high-intensity exercise of 30 minutes or more a week to achieve a significant afterburn effect.
2. Running fast is time-efficient. Let’s say you have a choice to run a mile or walk a mile. Which option should you choose? Well, if you’re all about efficiency (and I know I am), you’d choose option A since running takes less time and burns a lot more calories (during and after) than if you walked. Or look at it from the another perspective – let’s say you have a hectic schedule (like most people) and have only 35 minutes to exercise each day. It’s going to be a lot easier covering more distance (and ultimately burning more calories) if you run instead if walk.
3. Running requires no special equipment. Sure, you can bring your GPS/heart rate monitor/Facebook updater/eBay watcher on your run. Who doesn’t love a good gadget or app? But what do you really need in order to run? Shoes. Somewhere to run. You. And that’s it! You can run anywhere you go, even on vacation and business trips. No gym or specialized equipment required. Now all this isn’t to say that I don’t like gadgets on my run, because I absolutely do! In fact, I love apps that make running a lot more fun and interactive, like Nike+ Running and the Zombies Run app. PS: for all you zombie fanatics, I’d definitely check out the Zombies Run app. If your idea of fun is outrunning killer zombies during a simulated zombie apocalypse, you’ll love this app!
4. Running feels sooooo good. Runner’s high isn’t a myth. When you run (or exercise intensely), your brain produces chemicals called endocannabinoids that resemble morphine. Result:Euphoria! Runner’s high really is an incredibly stimulating, yet relaxing feeling. And funny enough, it’s not uncommon for people to start exercising more because they love getting this post-workout high. Speaking of which, sorry to leave so abruptly, but I gotta run!
How often do you run? How has running influenced your overall level of fitness? – Doc
Dr. Phoenyx Austin is Sports Medicine Physician, Certified Trainer, and Bestselling Author of And That’s Why You’re Fat. Find the Doc at DrPhoenyx.com, and ask her your fitness questions on Facebook and Twitter.