Generally speaking, running is one of the best cardiovascular exercises to improve fitness and lose weight. However, if you are a beginner it is important to learn correct running technique in order to avoid injury and maximize benefit. One mistake that people often make whilst running is that they take strides that are too short. The effect of this is that one lands directly on the sole of the foot, which creates an unhealthy impact on the ankles and knees at every stride. One should therefore focus on taking deliberately longer strides, in order to land on the heel and ‘roll’ towards the front of the foot, in order to reduce said impact.
Another common mistake is not investing in the correct equipment prior to beginning an exercise regime. It is important to research the best running shoes, as these will help to reduce stress on the joints, and will improve overall efficiency. It should also be noted that running on asphalt creates a very sharp impact at every stride. Therefore, it is better to find a running path on grass, or to run on a treadmill at the gym. If you are just starting out, then attempt shorter runs to begin with and build your stamina slowly. This will have positive effects on your long-term fitness. The amount of calories you burn running for 20 minutes several times a week will be higher than the calories burnt taking longer runs less frequently.
If you have ever asked yourself: how many calories do you burn running a mile, then you can rest assured that this is one of the best-studied statistics in modern sports science and physiology. There is a generally accepted formula, by which 3/4 of one’s weight (in pounds) will equal the total amount of calories burnt per mile. However, it is important to remember that this quantity includes calories that would have been burnt even in a resting state, due to the energy required for basic metabolic processes. The calories burnt just from the action of running a mile (i.e. the net calories), is actually closer to 2/3 of one’s weight. It may be of interest to compare this to the number of calories burnt walking a mile at approximately 3 miles per hour. In this case, the total and net numbers of calories burnt are about 1/2 and 1/3 of one’s weight, respectively.
As with any exercise, it is advisable to build stamina slowly and not attempt to run too vigorously in the beginning stages. The difference in how many calories you burn running for six miles, rather than five, is not that important. It is more valuable to run regularly than to run fast or far. Similarly, the positive effects of how many calories you burn running for an hour, may well be outweighed by the negative effects of over-exertion. The goal is to find a routine that will allow you to persevere. This involves planning your run around work and other obligations to minimize stress.