How Much You Should Run a Day to Lose Weight

Running: A Great Sport for Weight Loss

Running is a fantastic sport that requires minimal equipment or investment to get started: all you need is a pair of shoes. When done correctly and consistently, running can burn calories efficiently - approximately 255 calories per 30 minutes - making it an effective part of a weight loss program. The amount of time you need to run to lose weight depends on several factors, including your diet, your running capacity without injury, and the frequency of your exercise.

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General Exercise Guidelines for Adults

Adult exercise guidelines generally recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. This equates to 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. However, weight loss is less about the amount of exercise you do and more about the combination of diet, lifestyle, and exercise that results in a calorie deficit.

To lose weight, the calories you consume should be fewer than the calories you burn. You can use a calorie deficit calculator to help design your program. Remember, the quality of calories is as important as the quantity. Starting a training program doesn't automatically mean you'll lose weight, nor does it give you the green light to consume unhealthy foods.

Initially, aim to run between 30 and 45 minutes with your heart rate between 60% and 70% of your maximum heart rate (220 - age = MHR) for 3 or 4 times a week. Incorporate other forms of exercise like walking, hiking, weight lifting, yoga, or pilates to keep things interesting. For other exercise ideas, check out our article on The Best Cardio for Weight Loss.

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How Long Will It Take to See Results?

Most experts agree that losing fat slowly is the best approach. Losing weight too quickly can be harmful to your health and may cause you to regain the weight. Aim to lose 1% of your body weight per week to avoid a rebound effect. Long-term results are more important than results after 1 day or 1 week. Also, remember that when you start exercising, you build muscle mass, which can cause the scale to increase. So your weight loss may be lower, or not at all, but your fat percentage decreases.

Additional Help and Information

If you're just starting your running journey, check out our article: How to Start Running for Beginners, which includes a 10-week plan to take you from sedentary to active by guiding you to a goal of running 30 minutes straight.

Here are answers to some of the most popular questions asked of personal trainers:

For personalized information, specific to your body and lifestyle, talk to one of our Fitness Experts. Get customized advice by submitting a request in our Mavyn website.

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