It is no secret that running is a fantastic form of exercise. It is cardiovascular, meaning that when you run, you are increasing your heart rate, blood flow, and oxygen levels.
This has wonderful effects on your health and is one of the cornerstones of a healthy body (and mind).
Cardiovascular exercise, or cardio for short, has long been considered one of the best exercises you can do if you want to trim down and lose some weight.
However, something we get asked a lot is whether running alone is going to be enough for weight loss, specifically whether you can run for 30 minutes a day and lose weight.
The answer to this is a complicated one, and cannot be a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
We are going to use this article to explore this question in depth, to see whether running alone really can be enough to lose weight, or if there are other factors that need to be considered too.
The first factor we want to draw your attention to is consistency. Running for 30 minutes a day, on a number of days in a week, counts as consistent cardiovascular exercise.
It is not just an ‘every once in a while’ thing, but a good habit you have worked at over time. This is going to be very beneficial to your body for so many reasons, and weight loss is just one of them.
Consistent cardiovascular exercise can improve your heart health, your sleep, your strength, your mental health, your energy levels, and can even help to keep your lungs healthy.
It is thought that taking up cardiovascular exercise can actually help to stave off illness as well as decrease your risk of chronic diseases, including heart problems and lung illnesses.
Are you sold on it yet? As well as this, running is fun, and when you start incorporating it into your life you can quickly see how addictive it is, making it far easier to get into a consistent pattern.
Now, to see any of these wonderful results we have discussed, as well as to see any weight loss, running must be taken consistently.
Now, by consistent, we do not mean that you have to be up and out of bed with your running shoes on before 6 am every day!
What we mean is that you should aim to do the same amount of days running each week, aiming for around the same time of running too, at least until you can build up to a little bit more.
Being consistent in how often you run will help you lose weight far more easily because you will be participating in regular exercise.
If you have trouble fitting in your runs or struggle to find the motivation at the beginning, then you could try setting reminders on your phone or taking a friend with you for that extra moral support. Soon you will be counting down the minutes until you can get your running shoes on!
A calorie deficit is one of the most important factors of weight loss that are very important to crack. You could run for 3 hours a day if you wanted to but still wouldn’t lose weight if you were not in a calorie deficit.
A calorie deficit can sound scary at first, but we are going to explain why it is not as daunting as it sounds.
A calorie deficit simply means that you are taking in fewer calories than you require to maintain your current weight.
So, what we mean by this is if you cut down your calorie intake to something that you know will still give you enough energy to go about your day as normal and help you power through your runs, then you will likely lose weight.
This is because you have cut down your daily calorie intake and you are exercising.
However, if you come home from those runs and start to think “I can eat all the snacks in the world” because you went for a run, the likelihood is that you will be replenishing those calories you burnt whilst running all over again, and perhaps even consuming more.
This means that the scales will not budge and you may even gain weight if you overcompensate with food.
Let’s take this example. If a woman ate 3000 calories a day and wanted to lose weight, she may cut those calories down by 500, eating just 2500 calories a day instead.
This means that she is intaking fewer calories than before, whilst still keeping her activity levels the same.
If you add exercise into the equation then she will lose even more calories a day because more of them will be being burned up whilst exercising. This, in turn, contributes to weight loss.
How many calories can 30 minutes of running burn?
You may be wondering now how many calories you can even burn whilst running for thirty minutes.
These are figures that you will need to know in order to gauge how much of a deficit you will be in, and how many calories you need to consume.
After all, you still need calories in order for your body to function healthily and to give your body energy to get through your normal daily activities.
The answer to the question ‘how many calories can 30 minutes of running burn?’ is not an easy one. It depends on factors such as how fast you are running, your weight, and the terrain on which you are running.
As an example, a trusted medical website, Healthline has stated that the typical 180lb person could burn around 17 calories per minute if they were running a typical ten minute mile pace.
This is in comparison to a 120 lb person who could burn 11.4 calories per minute on the same run. The reason for this is because it takes more energy to move a heavier person along than it does a lighter person.
The heavier you are, and the more weight you carry, the more energy you will burn when you are exercising. This, in turn, means more calories will be burnt up, and in theory, means you could lose more weight.
It is interesting to note here that 3500 calories are about equal to 1 pound of weight.
This means that in order to lose around 1 pound each week, you should aim to get rid of around 3500 calories, whether that be through reducing your food intake or burning the calories up through exercise.
Why 30 minutes?
We get it, 30 minutes seems like such an arbitrary number. So is there any science behind it?
It seems that 30 minutes a day is such a common number to state when you are encouraging exercise because any longer and people are at risk of using up all of their calories and then overeating to compensate for what they have burned up.
Look at it this way, if you run for an hour rather than just 30 minutes, then you are going to burn up even more calories.
This means that you will come back feeling even more hungry, and with even less energy than before. To make up for this you are more likely to overeat, consuming all of the calories you have burned off and more.
This, in turn, can lead to weight gain rather than those lovely healthy weight losses that we so desire.
Do I need to run every day?
Running every day can seem like a sure fire way to lose weight quickly, but actually, it is not a good idea.
We recommend running between 3 to 5 times a week. Start off with 3 runs every week if you are a complete beginner, and slowly work your way up. The reason for this is to give your body a chance to repair itself in between runs.
After all, running is strenuous on our muscles, legs, and feet, and we need adequate time to recover them or else we risk injuries.
Doing it this way can also mean that your runs will be faster because you will have more energy for them if you are doing less of them. Faster running could result in more calories burned, which, in turn, can cause more weight loss!
As we are sure you can see by now, the art of losing weight is not solely about running, you must also ensure that you keep within a calorie deficit, run consistently, and give yourself adequate resting time in between runs.
Whilst 30 minutes of running a day can be very helpful for your body, especially if you want to lose weight, you will find that you get better results if you run for just 3 to 5 days a week.
Ensure you run for no longer than 30 minutes, and mix up your terrain to see if you burn more calories.
Stay within your calorie deficit and eat nourishing, healthy foods that will give you lots of energy. The good news is that you can still have your occasional favorite treat, provided it is within your deficit.
We hope this article has been helpful to you. Thank you for reading, and happy running!