A study in The International Journal of Obesity further reinforced this fact. Interestingly, the researchers found that men and women who logged the same weekly mileage week after week, regardless of the amount, actually gained weight over time.
In the end, the researchers concluded that to avoid weight gain, male runners needed to increase their weekly mileage by 1.7 miles/week annually. Women however were more unfortunate with having to increase weekly mileage by 2.4 miles per week/annually.
The study seems to show that jogging is ineffective for long-term weight loss, but is this really so? If we look at the results, one thing is for sure, that without consistently increasing the distance run, there would not be any weight loss. This does not come as any surprise as this simply means that intensity has to be increased over time. The challenge with jogging is that people usually settle into a lull. Also , with steady state cardiovascular exercises, it becomes very difficult to measure intensity.
The body adapts in strange ways when you continuously impose a consistent cardiovascular strain on the body like a jog/walk/run. It’s your in-built survival mechanism kicking in to protect you from perishing. Your body makes certain leg muscles more efficient where these muscles need less and less energy to do the same work. So if today, a run would induce the muscles to burn 10g of fat, the body adapts the muscle to less say burn 9g of fat for the same run after a given time.
Have you ever seen the poor pot-bellied man who is consistently in the park every morning clocking his 5 km run and yet after a year does not look any different. Without continuous increase in effort and intensity, its impossible to get further results. This is a law of the universe which simply means that the only thing constant is change. Even the intensity of one’s cardiovascular work outs must be changing and not remaining constant.
So how can we make jogging work for weight loss? The method is a systematic way to exert, measure and increase intensity. The answer is interval training and weight resistance exercises.
How to do interval training
The rest cycle – Walk/run at a very slow pace. The ratio of the work cycle to the rest cycle can be from 1:2 (the unfit) to 1:1 (fit individuals) to 2:1 (very fit individuals)
The only challenge with interval training is that it is not for the beginner. Beginners are advised to start with steady state jogging or even walking and build up stamina gradually. It could be 6 months to a year before a beginner is ready for intervals. A beginner who has not done any form of exercise would benefit tremendously from just steady state cardiovascular exercises. At this point, any exercise would give weight loss. An olympic sprinter trains more with intervals and a marathoner does more steady state cardiovascular exercises. See the typical bodies of such sportsmen in the picture on the right. Which would you prefer?
Weight resistance training can also give you tremendous results. An obese or overweight person would put tremendous repeated strain on their joints by jogging. It may be wiser to reduce weight before embarking on jogging or running. Resistance training nicely fits into the equation here by reducing risk of joint wear and tear as well as risk of other injuries.
Imagine how many hours a 70 km run would take if you decide to pursue what the study prescribed! If you are a jogger, what are your views on this?
Most people do not have the information and do not know where to turn to for useful knowledge on how to lose weight. Correct Weight Loss is losing fat while maintaining your lean body mass. Correct Weight Loss comes solely from the loss of body fat. While this article, centered around exercise, one must not forget the golden rule of weight loss which is a calorie deficit. As such correct and healthy nutrition plays a huge role in this as well and this would be a topic for another discussion.