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“How many calories do you burn running”Is a question that is asked above all by people who wish to lose weight or who have to follow a diet to which the nutritionist recommends adding exercise.
There is a quick first answer to this question, but approximate: running burns about 1 Kilocalorie per kilometer for every kilogram of your weight.
An individual weighing 70 kg will therefore consume on average 70 Kcal per km traveled.
After satisfying the curiosity of those who are satisfied with a quick answer, even if spanometric, I go on to explain to you why it is important to go deeper to get a correct estimate, listing all the factors that influence the calculation of calories burned while running.
Factors that determine the amount of calories you burn while running
The number of calories burned while running it varies in relation to numerous factors that can change the calculation in an important way. Here are the 7 main ones:
- Training level. With the same weight and number of kilometers traveled, a trained person will burn fewer calories than a sedentary / poorly trained person. This difference can be quantified in a variable percentage between 7% and 15% (without considering elite athletes who consume even fewer calories for the same effort). The concept is quite intuitive: the body of a trained runner will have less effort to run the same distance than a beginner so the athletic gesture will require less effort and will lead to consuming fewer calories. Considering the level of training is therefore vital for a correct calculation.
- Temperature and humidity level. In the presence of higher temperatures and a higher level of humidity the calories burned per kilometer of running will be higher but as we will see later running covering too much DOES NOT lose weight more and is a very bad idea!
- Posture and running technique. 90% of those who start running do so with NOT correct posture and technique. Learning to run well from the point of view of athletic movement, posture, foot support (very important!), Breathing and many other details is able to reduce the consumption of calories burned and significantly improve performance. Running with correct posture and technique also helps prevent injuries that force many newbies to stop running a few weeks or months after starting, creating a strong sense of frustration.
- Slope of the path. This is also a rather obvious consideration: running uphill is much more tiring and involves a greater calorie expenditure. Beginners should always start running flat, avoiding climbs and descents which will become excellent "allies" once they have acquired a good preparation and basic technique.
- Path consistency. The surface on which we run has an important influence on the muscular effort required and the calories burned. Running on the tartan of an athletics track, on a consistent and stable surface such as asphalt or unpaved but compact terrain is much less tiring than running on a bumpy surface, in the mud or even on the beach. It goes without saying that starting to run on the beach without being trained is a bad idea and can lead to injuries instead of the desired weight loss.
- Wind. The headwind increases the resistance to our movement with the consequence of also increasing the calorie expenditure.
- Shoes. Running with a running shoe equipped with a cushioned insole (preferably customized in case you have pronation problems) increases comfort, reduces the risk of injuries and decreases the consumption of calories. The percentage of lower calorie consumption compared to running in an inappropriate shoe can even exceed 2%.
Distance is much more important for burning fat than speed
If your goal is burn fat you will have to focus on the number of kilometers to go instead of speed: it will therefore be much more effective in achieving your goal to run for an hour at 6 minutes per km (equivalent to 10 km / h) instead of running for 10 minutes at 5 minutes per km (equivalent to 12 km / h) .
(to understand the difference between minutes at speed expressed in minutes per km and speed expressed in km / h and to perform all possible conversions, I recommend reading our dedicated article: How to convert km / h into minutes per km and vice versa: table and formula and to use ours online converter from minutes to km to km per hour )
As already mentioned above, it is completely useless and indeed counterproductive to run with too heavy clothing that would lead you to sweat too much and lose fluids instead of fat.
Losing too much fluids leads to dehydration and if you want to avoid unpleasant consequences, such as cramps, you will have to replenish the lost fluids as soon as possible, perhaps stopping at a drinking fountain or a bar to buy a bottle of water or even better an isotonic supplement.
Aim for consistency. Better 4 weekly one-hour workouts than 2 weekly two-hour workouts.
Running is one of the most effective sports for burning calories
However, running remains one of the most effective sports for burning calories and losing weight, while keeping the muscles toned. Walking is much less effective, as it allows you to burn about half the calories (0.5 Kcal per km per kg of weight) compared to running.
Running is also a sport that can preferably be practiced outdoors but also indoors, on a treadmill. It can also be practiced alone, perhaps listening to good music, with a running mate or in a group.
The easiest way to find your ideal running pace to burn calories is to listen to your breath or your voice: you will need to be able to breathe regularly, without out of breath, and if you are with a training partner you should be able to speak. albeit with slight fatigue.
If you use a watch or activity tracker with heart rate detection, you should aim to keep it around 70% of your maximum heart rate.
In relation to the VO2max instead, you should try to run at about half of your vVO2max.
To lose weight it is important to burn calories but also to eat properly
Just as thinking of losing weight without constant physical exercise is difficult and not recommended, thinking of losing weight exclusively by running without paying close attention to nutrition is completely wrong.
To be clear, the first point of reference for losing weight must remain the nutritionist doctor and not the personal trainer who will instead be the right figure to improve your performance and perform the exercises correctly.
Running a kilometer and then bingeing on food obviously does not lead to anything good.
The time reference must then not be the day but at least the week. What matters is in fact the weekly balance between calories burned and calories consumed. To lose weight, the calories burned must always be more than those consumed.
Paradoxically, thanks to the constant practice of running, however, you could lose weight by "eating more" (in terms of calories consumed daily) than you are used to. But you will certainly have to learn how to eat better: prevalence of vegetables is fruit than sweets, more natural foods and less processed foods, insure the right amount of carbohydrates and proteins, drink more water and less (or even better zero) alcohol and sugary carbonated drinks.
How to burn calories from running while having fun
The secret to staying or regaining good physical shape is learning how to burn calories with running while having funthe. What does it mean and how to do it?
Here are some of my suggestions:
- start with one medical examination, whether you think you are already in good shape or are aware that you are out of shape and overweight.
- find the right people who can help you practice running correctly, ensuring the pleasure of doing it: the friend or friends with similar goals to yours, a sports group, a personal trainer but also the right dealer to buy the right shoes for you and the correct clothing
- set a goal that it is realistic and a date by which to reach it that is not too close
- do not exaggerate with the efforts: running must remain a pleasure and trying too hard is not good at all
- consider whether to buy a GPS watch or an activity tracker with a heart rate sensor: they cost less and less and help find motivation
- also evaluate the use of a Smartphone App that keeps track of your progress
- decide whether to listen to the music without being influenced by others: especially at the beginning you have to run as you like. I've been running listening to music for years. Now I prefer to run alone or in company but always without music. The change took place "spontaneously" and without external conditioning. Almost all my friends who are passionate have made a similar step. If the passion for running "captures" you too, I am sure you will do the same path! :-)
- take care of your diet but without it becoming an obsession
- DON'T be put off by bad weather: rain and cold, especially in our latitudes are certainly not an obstacle to go running outdoors. If you really don't feel like it, opt for the treadmill.
- try to be constant in training and you will have great benefits and satisfaction.
- nDon't forget bodyweight exercises, especially for strengthening the abdominal muscles, very important for running well and efficiently.
- after a few months of training, try to participate in a non-competitive running race, preferably with friends: I am sure it will give you satisfaction and emotions
- should an injury happen to you (we always touch iron! :-) don't underestimate the problem: immediately contact a specialist who will be able to advise you in the best way possible to get back to running at the right times. Never shorten the time recommended by your doctor to recover. You would only get the result of making the problem recur and making the situation worse.