It is the norm for women to be overweight. As of 2012, more than 60 percent of American women are classified as overweight or obese, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Weight loss is no big secret. It is simply burning more calories than you consume on a regular basis. You can do this with a combination of diet and exercise. But this doesn't mean it's easy. Running workouts are one of the most effective methods of weight loss exercise and they can be done a variety of ways.
Walk Before You Run
If you are not currently doing any exercise, don't just start running. Begin with a walking program. Start every other day with as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a moderate pace. Gradually build up to walking at least five days per week for 30 or more minutes at a brisk pace. This will help you increase your aerobic endurance and prepare your body to begin running.
Cardio Weight Loss Recommendations
To lose a significant amount of weight, you will need to make time to do cardio such as running every week and stick with it. You won't see good results if you exercise one week then take a week off. ACSM recommends cardio five to seven days per week for 30 to 60 minutes for weight loss. Your intensity level should be moderate to vigorous. This means that it should be uncomfortable and challenging -- but you can do it. Running is a high-impact, high-intensity form of cardio, so gradually build up to the recommended amount of exercise.
Steady State Workouts
Steady state workouts are one option for your running workout. They are moderate to moderately hard workouts where you maintain the same speed of running, or heart rate, throughout the workout. Begin with a five-minute warmup of brisk walking or slow jogging. Increase your pace to running at a comfortable pace for 20 to 50 minutes. Stay on a flat surface and try not to change speed. Slow down to a walk for five minutes to cool down. This is one of the most common ways of running, and is what most recreational runners tend to do.
Interval workouts will increase the challenge of your running workouts and burn more calories. These workouts alternate short bursts of high intensity exercise with longer moderate exercise. A sample running interval workout may look like this: Begin with a five-minute warm up. Sprint for 30 seconds as fast as you can. Slow down to a moderate pace run for 90 to 120 seconds. Alternate sprints with jogging for 20 to 50 minutes. End with a five-minute slow walk. You could also do intervals on the treadmill and instead of changing speed for 30 seconds, increase the incline so you are running uphill. Both workouts will increase the challenge and your weight loss.
- ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription; American College of Sports Medicine
- Mayo Clinic: Exercise For Weight Loss: Calories Burned In 1 Hour
- Mayo Clinic: Rev Up Your Workout With Interval Training
Bethany Kochan began writing professionally in 2010. She has worked in fitness as a group instructor, personal trainer and fitness specialist since 1998. Kochan graduated in 2000 from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, Medical Exercise Specialist and certified YogaFit instructor.