Running For Weight Loss: 5 Best Exercise For Success

Running is one of the most popular exercises for weight loss in the world, but you either love it or you hate it. You can dramatically reduce your BMI when you run regularly, so maybe you should consider whether it’s “for you.” We’re here to make it a little easier. In this guide, you’ll learn about:

  • The different types of running you can do to lose weight
  • How much running you’ll need to do to drop unwanted pounds
  • Whether running is safe for you, and how to get started

Ready to run? Here’s everything you need to know about running to reduce your BMI.

1. Hill running

Cost: Free
Calories burned: 800-1,400 per hour
Intensity: High
Safety: Moderate
Equipment: Minimal

If you’ve been exercising – or even running – for a while, you may consider starting with hill running to reduce your BMI. Hill running can be super intense, as you’ll obviously be going up hills and steep inclines.

You don’t necessarily need to live in an area that has hills built into the landscape. You can actually simulate hills on a treadmill. Set the incline of your treadmill to a degree you’re comfortable with and increase the angle as you progress in your endurance. You’ll notice your legs – and your core – getting stronger and stronger as the weeks progress.

Talk to your doctor about hill running for weight loss if you have any joint issues. People with knee trouble, for instance, may find that the ups and downs of hills are hard on the knees. It’s best to get clearance from your doctor before you start running on steep inclines.

  • Hill running is a very intense exercise that’s great for weight loss
  • Talk to your doctor before you start running on hills, as you may experience joint trouble
  • You don’t need natural hills – a treadmill will do just fine for you

2. Marathon running

Cost: Free to train, may cost entrance fee
Calories burned: Around 2,600
Intensity: High
Safety: Moderately high
Equipment: Moderate

Anyone can run a marathon. That’s why you see so many charity marathons and “fun runs” around – literally anyone in moderately good health can train for and successfully finish a marathon. Sure, you may not have a 5 hour race time, but you can run 26.2 miles without – well – dying.

The key is your equipment and your training. You’ll need shoes that fit you well and that support your unique arches and pronation. Talk to a reputable footwear representative to find a shoe that works for you. You’ll need clothes that don’t chafe, you’ll need a way to ingest liquids as you train, and you’ll probably need some sort of “food” for your long runs.

You’ll also need persistence and tenacity. No one said marathon training was easy – it’s not. But you can absolutely have success with a marathon if you put your mind to it.

Before you begin training, do your research. There are oodles of marathon training schedules online, or you could talk with a professional coach. It’s also an excellent idea to talk to your doctor before you start, so you can rule out any health complications – even something as simple as anemia can affect you when you run a marathon.

  • Just about anyone can train for and complete a marathon
  • It takes persistence, dedication and the right equipment, so do your research
  • Follow a marathon training schedule to safely get ready for your marathon and lose weight in the process

3. Forest running

Cost: Free
Calories burned: 600-1,200 per hour
Intensity: Moderate
Safety: Moderate
Equipment: Minimal

Whether you’re new to running or have been doing it for a while, it may be that you’d prefer to get out in nature while you exercise rather than be stuck in a gym. If that sounds like you, why not try to reduce your BMI and lose weight with forest running?

You don’t have to necessarily run through the woods to participate. What we mean, though, is that you’ll be outdoors in natural landscapes, so the intensity of the hills will fluctuate as you work out.

You don’t need a lot of equipment, either. As always, you’ll need a well-fitting pair of shoes that supports you correctly, and you might need some bug spray! Carry your cell phone and your identification with you, and always tell someone where you’re going. If you have any accidents, people will know where to look for you and get you to safety. It’s best to run with a partner if possible.

Forest running is otherwise free, so take advantage of the natural world around you. Feel free to bring your dog along, too! Pups love a good romp through the woods! Most community parks are just fine with pets so long as you clean up their “mistakes” right away.

  • Forest running is almost free, and it’s a great way to lose weight
  • You don’t need a lot of equipment to run in the natural landscape
  • Be safe- carry your phone, your ID and always tell someone where you’re going to be running

4. Beach running

Cost: Usually free
Calories burned: Around 720 per hour
Intensity: High
Safety: Moderately high
Equipment: Minimal

If you’re lucky enough to live close to a beach with sand, we envy you! You have a great opportunity to reduce your BMI with running. Exercising on sand will burn around 60% more calories than if you were to do it on a flat surface, so hit the beach and go for a jog.

You’ll feel the burn in your legs just about right away when you begin beach running. That’s particularly true for your calves but your thighs and your butt will feel it, too! You don’t necessarily need “special” shoes to run on the beach, but you might consider talking to a footwear pro for recommendations.

Running on the beach is a great way to lose weight and have fun, too. After all, when your workout is over you can just slip off your shirt and shorts and take a dip in the sea! So bring the whole family and join them for a picnic after your workout.

  • Exercise on the beach will burn well more calories than on a flat surface
  • You don’t need special equipment for beach running, but try getting recommendations
  • Bring the whole family and make a day of it!

5. Treadmill running

Cost: Moderate
Calories burned: Around 700 per hour
Intensity: Varies
Safety: High
Equipment: Moderate

If you’re just beginning to run, it may be best – and safest – for you to start on a treadmill. You can choose to order a treadmill for your home, or you may choose to join a gym with treadmills and other equipment.

Treadmills are great tools for beginners because you’ll “propel” your body in a different way. You’re not going to burn as many calories on a treadmill as you will running on your own, but they’re still great for weight loss and reducing your BMI.

Treadmills can be expensive when you order top of the line, new equipment. Keep in mind, though that there are hundreds of treadmills around the world that are going unused. Check your local classifieds to see if anyone’s trying to offload theirs.

Joining a gym can be pricey, too. However, you’ll have all the other benefits that are associated with your health club. You may get a pool, a sauna, a steam room or personal training. Of course, you’ll have access to all the other equipment, too, and can get a full body workout.

Treadmills aren’t for everyone, but they’re a great starting point. They’re also a lovely alternative when the weather just doesn’t allow for outdoor running.

  • Get a treadmill for your home, or join a gym and use theirs
  • You won’t burn as many calories on a treadmill but can still lose weight quickly
  • Consider a used treadmill to save on the cost of expensive equipment

Is running safe for you?

Whether you’ve been exercising for years or are just beginning your weight loss journey, you should talk to your doctor before you begin any type of high intensity training. Running isn’t for everyone, but it is for most people. Talk to your doc in particular if you have:

  • Heart conditions
  • Asthma or respiratory concerns
  • Arthritis or joint problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Issues with balance
  • If you are pregnant

Even if your doctor simply recommends a treadmill for you, there’s a good chance you’ll be cleared to run and can start your weight loss plan right away. And if one type of running doesn’t float your boat, try a different type until you find one you love.


Running is a very popular sport, but most people either love it or simply can’t stand it. Whichever category you fall into, remember that there are different types of runners, and different places to participate.

You can effectively complement your healthy diet with running as an exercise – and you don’t have to do it every day! Just 75 minutes per week is what’s recommended for high-intensity exercise like this one.

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