Running (and running training) is a very effective quick weight loss exercise and a proven approach to reduce body fat and improve your physical condition.
According to the National Audit Office, 20 percent (that's one in five) of adults are obese, and two-thirds of men and half of women are overweight. This is causing over 30,000 premature deaths a year. Treating obesity costs the health service over $1 billion a year. The wider costs to the economy in lower productivity and lost output are estimated to be a further $2 billion each year.
Nearly three in five adults, about 20 million people, need a change in lifestyles. According to the World Health Organization, 'the spectrum of problems seen in both developing and developed countries is having so negative an impact that obesity should be regarded as today's principal neglected public health problem'.
Running to lose weight
Running is an excellent way to lose weight, reduce body fat and improve your physical appearance. If you eat more calories than you use, your body will store the extra energy as fat. So, put simply, the best way to lose weight means you have to burn more calories than you eat. Running is a great weight loss exercise and one very good way to increase the calories you use. If you find you can't run, or simply don't have the time, get yourself one of the new fitness treadmills for your home - then you can go running whenever you have a few minutes spare.
Many runners find that, as their lifestyle becomes healthier, their choice of foods changes naturally and they instinctively begin to prefer more nutritious foods. So while they may still enjoy the occasional blow-out on a tub of ice cream or a plate of fast food, they know that they can do this now and again without feeling too guilty or hating themselves.
Exercise provides a more positive framework for weight loss than dieting. While dieters often feel perpetually unsatisfied, and suffer from a negative self-image, runners usually benefit from a continuing sense of achievement, self-confider and a weight level that can be sustained in the long term without continuing self-denial.
The mental benefits of running
In addition to the health and quick weight loss benefits of running, there is good evidence for the psycho-logical benefits of exercise in general, and running in particular. Surveys have shown a strong correlation between being fit and being happy. Exercise reduces anxiety levels and has been found to reduce depression (gentle running is now sometimes prescribed to patients with mild depressive symptoms).
Studies of the correlation between exercise and personality produce some striking results. Healthy adults who exercise regularly have greater energy, patience, humour, ambition, emotional stability, imagination, self-sufficiency and optimism, and are more amiable, graceful, good-tempered, elated and easy-going than similar people who don't exercise.
As well as reducing stress through its physical effects, running also creates a space in which we can get time away from sources of anxiety and pressure. Runners are often better able to cope with the pressures of everyday life, partly by permitting a different perspective on minor problems.
I work hard in my job. My colleagues often ask me about my weight loss tips and how I have so much energy. They think that because I have an active lifestyle as well as a demanding career, I should be perpetually tired. The truth is the opposite. My running gives me both physical and mental energy, and the confidence to juggle a busy life.