Don't Bother Running If You're Looking to Lose Fat

It's 'the worst way to get fit': columnist
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2016 11:15 AM CST
Looking to Start an Exercise Routine? Forget Running
Runners cross the Queensboro bridge between Queens and Manhattan during the New York City Marathon, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016.   (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Looking to get moving? Change up your sedentary lifestyle? Burn off your belly fat? Think twice before starting a running routine. "While any movement is usually better than none, running fails almost every test of a worthy exercise," writes Nick English at Vice in a piece calling running "the worst way to get fit." He's specifically talking about running at a "middling" pace. It's not efficient at building strength, which is the best way to increase metabolism and burn fat; it's far from the best type of "cardio" you can do; and as many as 79% of runners are injured at least once a year.

Studies have shown that if you're looking to lose belly fat, weight training and sprinting work better than running. And if you're looking to improve cardiovascular health, "running is too middle-of-the-road" to improve heart health and cardiorespiratory capacity effectively. Researchers have found shorter sessions of anaerobic training (again, think sprinting, or "fast-paced resistance training") are equally effective as long runs at improving heart health, and better at upping your aerobic fitness, improving endurance, and keeping muscle. But what if you truly love to run? "That's cool, just do it faster," writes English. Not only is sprinting more effective than running, an expert says it's also safer. English's full column explains why. (More running stories.)

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