Exercise is an essential component of losing weight. There’s no way around that. But as we’ve discussed in previous weeks, weight loss requires you to take very specific steps. How you exercise is no exception, as you need to use your time wisely to ensure you’re getting the best workout in the shortest span. On that note, a professor of exercise science recently told the Guardian that running may not be the best form of exercise for weight loss.

Running Can Set Off Alarms In Your Body

Glenn Gaesser, the exercise science professor from Arizona University, says that we can burn about 3,500 calories from 35 miles of running. The problem, though, is that thousands of years of evolutionary development has led our bodies to go into a protection mode when we run, making it harder to burn calories. Protection mode, in this case, means that our bodies reduce our metabolism so that we can delay starvation even if we’re exercising a lot. Think of it as the body fighting to preserve itself from contracting.


Gaesser says, “The human body has a pretty good capability for regulating its bodyweight. We all have a set-point range for our weight and, while the average person may consume three-quarters of a million calories per year, from year to year we weigh pretty much the same thing unless something happens that greatly distorts our lifestyle, such as a purposeful weight-loss diet, or some sort of tragic event that changes our behaviour.”

Running Can Give a False Sense of Accomplishment

Gaessar also says that his studies have shown that some people who take up running actually gain weight. The reason is that they push themselves for the hour that they run, and burn calories, but then take the rest of the day off from usual activity. Gaessar says that in many cases this results in them burning less calories than they would if they went through their usual day-to-day activities. So, if you are going to run, make sure you don’t slack off for the rest of the day.

dont rest after running

Is Running Still Worth It?

Gaessar says, “We don’t know whether running is superior to cycling or rowing or even cross-country skiing in terms of optimal body-fat loss because there simply isn’t that data available. But it’s superior to walking simply because you can run at a higher level of energy expenditure and still have the same level of physiological and perceived effort. So it’s a more efficient way to expend those calories.”

So, with that said, if you don’t have other exercise options available to you, like a gym, you should still run. All you need is a pair of shoes and the open road. But, as Gaessar says, don’t invest all of the exercise time you have into running. Instead, incorporate it as just one part of your weight loss journey, and get in touch with us to let you know what else you can do to get to your goal.