Benefits Of Running For Weight Loss

Running is a popular form of exercise that has numerous benefits for overall health and wellness. Running can be an effective way to support weight loss goals. By burning calories, boosting metabolism, and potentially reducing appetite, running can help create the calorie deficit necessary for weight loss. In addition to its physical benefits, running can also improve mental health and provide a low-impact form of exercise for those with joint issues or who are overweight. This article will discuss the numerous benefits of running for weight loss and improving overall health.

The benefits of running for weight loss

Running is a popular form of exercise that can benefit weight loss. Here are some of the ways running can help with weight loss:

  1. Treat and prevent disease: Proper exercise can help enhance your body shape and physical fitness. It can also prevent and treat diseases, including diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, and cancers.1 Several therapies and drugs have been developed to treat many diseases. Exercise remains a natural option and convenient treatment method.2
  2. Burns calories: One of the most obvious benefits of running is that it can help you burn calories. The number of calories you burn while running will depend on your weight, age, and intensity of your run, but on average, a person will burn about 100 calories per mile.1 All physical activity burns calories, so spontaneous physical activity (SPA) could be manipulated to burn calories, defend against weight gain, and reduce excess adiposity. SPA is a physical activity not motivated by a rewarding goal, such as that associated with food-seeking or wheel-running behavior.7
  3. Boosts metabolism: Running burns calories while you are doing it and can also boost your metabolism for several hours after your run. This means you will continue to burn calories even after you finish your run.3
  4. Low-impact exercise: For people who are overweight or have joint issues, running can be a low-impact form of exercise that is easier on the body than high-impact activities like jumping or sprinting.3 However, there is also evidence of an association between physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight. For example, a study shows that an engagement in vigorous-intensity physical activity of at least 1 h per week significantly decreased the incidence of obesity.4
  5. Reduce appetite: Some studies have shown that running can help reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness, leading to weight loss.1

Recent research discovery of many stomach peptides involved in regulating appetite and energy balance provides an attractive mechanism to explain how exercise reduces hunger/appetite in some conditions.

A study aimed to evaluate the effect of walking and running on appetite and stomach (gut) hormone responses for weight loss and weight loss maintenance. The results showed that walking did not elicit the same negative energy balance or increase in hunger hormones as running. Yet, it promoted a little higher post exercise fat and protein intake. This suggests that walking may lead to some challenges for long-term weight loss unless a dietary restriction is introduced.

New evidence suggests that long- and short-acting signals alter the brain’s sensitivity to hunger signals, which could ultimately affect eating behavior following exercise.6

  1. Improve mental health: In addition to its physical benefits, running can also positively impact your mental health. Exercise, including running, has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, and increase feelings of well-being. A study done in 2020 showed that aerobic exercise in a supportive group setting may improve mood symptoms in youth and adults with complex mood disorders. These mental health benefits can help you stick to your weight loss goals.5

Overall, running can be a great addition to a weight loss program. It can help burn calories, boost metabolism, reduce appetite, and improve mental health. However, it is essential to remember that weight loss is not just about exercising but also about creating a calorie deficit through a healthy diet and lifestyle. Combining running with a healthy diet and other forms of exercise can be an effective way to lose weight and improve your overall health.

Different types of running

There are several types of running, including:

Sprinting: Sprinting is a type of running that involves running at high speed over a short distance.3 It is typically used in track and field events such as the 100m, 200m, and 400m races.

Middle-distance running: Middle-distance running involves running at a moderate speed over a distance that is longer than a sprint but shorter than a long-distance run. Examples of middle-distance events include the 800m and 1500m races.

Base runs: These are short-to-moderate length runs of around 10 km and can be done at your natural pace.

Long-distance running: Long-distance running involves running at a sustained pace over a distance longer than a middle-distance run. Examples of long-distance events include the 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon.

Jogging: Jogging is a type of running that involves running at a leisurely pace for the purpose of exercise or enjoyment. It is typically done for moderate distances and is less intense than other forms of running.

Hill running: Hill running involves running up and down hills as part of a workout or race. It can be a challenging form of running that requires a combination of strength and endurance.

Trail running: Trail running involves running on natural trails, such as those found in forests or mountains. It can be a more challenging form of running due to the uneven terrain and often hilly nature of the trails.

Cross-country running: Cross-country running involves running on a course that typically includes a variety of terrains, such as grass, mud, and hills. It is often conducted as a team sport and is popular at the high school and collegiate levels.

Types of running shoes for weight loss

There are several different types of running shoes that can be helpful for weight loss, each with its specific features and benefits.

Minimalist shoes: These shoes have a very minimal design, with little to no cushioning or support. They encourage a more natural running style and can help to improve foot and leg strength. However, they may only be suitable for some, particularly if you have existing foot or leg injuries.

Stability shoes: These shoes are designed for runners with flat feet or overpronation (excessive inward rolling of the foot during running). They have a more supportive design that can help correct alignment and reduce the risk of injury.

Cushioned shoes: These shoes have a thick, cushioned sole and are designed to absorb shock and provide extra comfort during runs. They can be a good choice for longer distances or for runners with joint sensitivity.

Trail shoes: Trail shoes are a good choice if you enjoy running on trails or uneven terrain. These shoes have a more rugged design with added support and traction to help you navigate rough terrain.

No matter which type of shoe you choose, it's important to ensure that it fits properly and offers the support and cushioning you need for your specific running style and needs. If you need help determining which shoe is best for you, you should consult a running specialty store or a sports medicine professional for guidance.

In addition to choosing the right shoes, it's also important to remember that running is just one piece of the puzzle regarding weight loss. A healthy diet and regular strength training are also key factors to consider. With the right combination of exercise and healthy habits, running can be a powerful tool in your weight loss journey.

Other health benefits of running

In addition to the physical benefits of running, such as improved cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength, this exercise also has several mental and emotional benefits. Some other health benefits of running include:

Stress relief: Running can help reduce stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators.3

Improved sleep: Regular running can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly, leading to improved overall health and well-being.3

Increased self-esteem: By setting and achieving running goals, you can boost your self-confidence and self-esteem.3

Better mental health: Running has been shown to positively impact mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.5

Social connections: Running can be a great way to connect with others, whether you join a running group or participate in a race with friends.3

Increased energy: Regular running can increase your energy levels and help you feel more awake and alert during the day.1

Improved concentration: The endorphins released during running can help improve focus and concentration.3

Stronger immune system: Regular physical activity, such as running, can help strengthen your immune system and reduce your risk of illness.3


Running is a highly effective form of exercise for weight loss. It can help you burn calories and fat and increase your metabolism, which can help you continue to burn calories even after your workout. In addition, running can help you build muscle, which can also help with weight loss as muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. Another benefit of running for weight loss is that it can help you maintain a healthy weight over time. Regular physical activity, such as running, can help you establish healthy habits and lifestyle changes that support weight loss and maintenance. Overall, running can be a valuable tool in your weight loss journey, helping you shed excess pounds and improve your overall health and well-being.


  1. Guo S, Huang Y, Zhang Y, Huang H, Hong S, Liu T. Impacts of exercise interventions on different diseases and organ functions in mice. Journal of Sport and Health Science [Internet]. 2020 Jan [cited 2022 Dec 24];9(1):53–73. Available from:
  2.  Lü J, Fu W, Liu Y. Physical activity and cognitive function among older adults in China: A systematic review. Journal of Sport and Health Science [Internet]. 2016 Sep [cited 2022 Dec 24];5(3):287–96. Available from:
  3. Slater GJ, Sygo J, Jorgensen M. Sprinting. . . Dietary approaches to optimize training adaptation and performance. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism [Internet]. 2019 Mar 1 [cited 2022 Dec 24];29(2):85–94. Available from:
  4. Jakicic JM, Rogers RJ, Davis KK, Collins KA. Role of physical activity and exercise in treating patients with overweight and obesity. Clinical Chemistry [Internet]. 2018 Jan 1 [cited 2022 Dec 24];64(1):99–107. Available from:
  5. Markotić V, Pokrajčić V, Babić M, et al. The Positive Effects of Running on Mental Health. Psychiatr Danub. 2020;32(Suppl 2):233-235. [cited 2022 Dec 24]
  6.  Larson-Meyer DE, Palm S, Bansal A, Austin KJ, Hart AM, Alexander BM. Influence of running and walking on hormonal regulators of appetite in women. Journal of Obesity [Internet]. 2012 [cited 2022 Dec 24];2012:1–15. Available from:
  7.  Kotz CM, Perez-Leighton CE, Teske JA, Billington CJ. Spontaneous physical activity defends against obesity. Curr Obes Rep [Internet].
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Lauretta Iyamu

Doctor of Pharmacy- PharmD, University of Benin, Nigeria

Lauretta Iyamu is a medical and health content writer with a strong passion for health, medicine, and well-being having exposure to clinical and management roles between the hospital and community healthcare sectors.
She has 5 years of experience as a registered clinical pharmacist and started her medical writing career in 2018.
Lauretta is currently undertaking the “Digital Content Marketing and Data Analytics” course online from Google.

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