So there is one from of exercise that beats running, so I guess you could be asking yourself, "Why would I choose running over something like cross-country skiing? My gut wants to say, "Well, don't ask stupid questions," but I'll just say this:Running is one of the top activities for burning fat. In fact, with the exception of cross country skiing, running burns more calories per minute than any other form of cardiovascular exercise.
Cross Country skiing is A)less fun in my opinion, B)you need actual equipment (lame!) and C)you can't just decide to go Cross Country Skiing one day and just run out your front door, bust out the skiis and start skiing down your street. That'll screw up that wax job in a hurry.
First and foremost is your calves. That's where most of use start to feel the burn as we run, right? And it makes sense since we are using our legs to run. Expect even better tone if you choose to run hills as well.
Next are your quadriceps (front of the thigh) and your hamstrings. As you pull up your legs while you run and then land on them, these muscles get quite the workout.
Next, the hips. That's right, you have hip muscles called adductors and abductors. They surround your hips, as far as I understand, to stabilize you as you run. I remember, when I first got into running, that the first thing I noticed as far as body improvement, was how stellar my hips started to looked.
Then we have your core. Your core is made up of all those stomach muscles that keep your spine straight as you run. Your core can get a more effective workout if you happen to run on uneven surfaces as well. Be careful with that though because I can see that being a good way to hurt your ankles or cause you to fall.
Then there's your shoulders. Remember my post a while back called The Beginning ? I mentioned how my shoulders hurt while I ran, meaning that they were getting a workout too. The motion your arms take as you run work the shoulders, front and back. However, this toning may by only slight since your arms are clearly not doing most of the work. But I remember seeing more definition in my shoulders as I got further along in running. Sprinting will work the shoulders more, if you really wants some wicked shoulder muscles.
To make sure you're getting the most out of running, I found a few things on how to run so that you're burning the most calories you can and doing the most toning you can.
As far as weight loss and toning go, my biggest piece of advice is once you start running, don't look at the scale or take a magnifying glass to your body for a least a month or two. The reason? First off, you don't need to be analyzing your body everyday just to get frustrated that you can't see the muscles yet. And lastly, some of us might actually gain weight in the beginning because we're building muscle. But don't worry, that muscle will burn the fat away, just give it some time. And I guess one more piece of advice that just came to me would be to not binge when you get home from running. You'll notice that after a run, that you feel like you're starving. That's because you just burned an insane amount of calories. What to do then? Have something waiting for you when you get home, something healthy like fruit. I always make a strawberry protein shake (protein within 60 minutes of a workout will help those developing muscles) after I run and then maybe follow it with whole wheat toast or a bagel or something. If you come home after a run and then clean out the fridge, you've kind of wasted a good run.
So if you're contemplating an entry into the world of running, here is my second reason(first reason was the runner's high): the runner's body.
Sources: 10 Benefits of Running, Live Strong
Comment time! What weight loss have you had due to running? How has your body image improved since running began?