Most people define calories as weight but, according to Medical News Today, a calorie is actually a unit of energy. The organs and cells of our bodies need the energy to survive, so we need to eat and drink the correct number of calories for our bodies to function properly. The problem occurs if we acquire more calories than we need because this excess is stored as fat. When we begin to experience weight gain, we also begin to search for exercises that will help us get into better shape and burn calories. One of the most effective ways to burn calories is to run. When we run at a comfortable pace, we burn about 8.5 calories per minute. But are there ways for burning more calories while running?
1. Add Intervals to Your Running
The average person burns about 100 calories per mile (a little more if you weigh over 150 pounds). It makes sense then that if you want to burn more calories, you should run more miles. This is a good start but over time, your body becomes more efficient at these longer distances and your calorie burn will begin to plateau. When you reach this point, to burn more calories, you need to increase the intensity of your workout by adding intervals.
This is not just about running faster but rather adding a number of short bursts of speeds, lasting for a few minutes, followed by longer periods of comfortable running. Since calorie burning is an aerobic process, more fat is burned during these high oxygen-use periods. These interval workouts will allow you to burn more calories while running the same distances. This happens because during the intervals, your body is no longer comfortable and efficient but needs more energy to perform. To get this energy, the body uses more calories. An additional benefit is that the body continues to need energy to recover from these intense workouts, so it continues to burn calories after the workout is completed.
2. Increase Your Strength
Another way to burn more calories while running is to build muscle. Runners who added resistance training to strengthen their legs, burned more calories during their run. You might think that you can just add muscle and the calories will melt away. But this is a misconception because each pound of muscle only burns between 6 to 10 calories. However, a 15 to 20-minute endurance workout before a run forces your body to use all of its stored carbs for energy. This makes the body ready to burn nothing but fat during your running workout. Increasing your strength also increases your endurance and allows you to run farther, and you already know that more distance means more calories burned.
If you are not ready or don’t have the time for muscle building exercises, you can gain similar results by running with leg or ankle weights. This will slow you down at first but provide a great calorie burn as your legs become stronger. You can also increase leg strength by running on a softer surface like sand.
3. Run on an Incline
According to another source, for each degree of incline that you add, you can count on a 10% increase in calories burned. This is easily achieved if you’re running on a treadmill. For maximum benefit, you can manage the incline as you add the intervals. If you prefer to run outside, you can accomplish the same impact if you find your favorite hill on which to run. A hill provides an automatic interval workout, with intense uphill running followed by periods of downhill recovery. Another way to create a natural interval program is to run into the wind. Wind resistance adds to the intensity of your workout. You should plan an incline, hill, or wind run at least once a week.
4. Vary Your Route
As already discussed, if you do the same workout each day, your body will adjust. There is also the likelihood that, even if you enjoy your running, you will become bored and lose your motivation. You can combat boredom by finding different locations. Once you’ve exhausted your local area, travel to a park or running trail with which you are not familiar. Noticing the new scenery will occupy your mind and your running time will pass quickly.
5. Find a Partner
One of the best ways to ensure that you accomplish your running goals is to run with someone. Being accountable to someone else is a great motivation. The competition is also a great way to challenge yourself, especially if you find someone who is a better runner than you. Some runners partner with their dogs but be sure to check with your veterinarian before involving your pet in your exercise program.
6. Other Burn Boosters
Running to your favorite music improves your frame of mind and provides additional motivation.
Pump your arms as you run. The more you can involve the entire body, the harder it works, and the more calories you will burn.
You should run on an empty stomach so your body can focus its energy. However, it is a good idea to drink coffee or another caffeinated beverage before you run. The caffeine boosts the metabolism and allows you to workout longer.
You can also hydrate with icy cold water before your run. This will increase your energy so that you can work out harder. You should repeat this process after the run to maintain metabolism boosts as the body works to warm the water.
Running for weight loss makes good sense. Making these simple changes will help you burn those calories at an even higher rate. So, keep running and good luck.