Running Body Transformation – Introduction
Can you achieve a fantastic body transformation through running?
And if yes, how does running change your body?
If you want to sculpt the body of your dreams, strength training is one of the best workouts you can do.
You can choose between powerlifting, bodybuilding, Olympic weightlifting, strongman training, or powerbuilding – all types of strength training can be similarly effective.
Lifting weights is tremendously good for your muscles, bones, heart, lungs, and general health.
You can use it to lose weight (fat) or gain weight (muscle too).
But, as undeniably great as strength training is, the weight room is not the only way to get fit and into shape.
For example, you might not be interested in doing deadlifts to change your body dramatically!
Fortunately, there are lots of other workouts to choose from, and one of the most popular is running.
In fact, the effects of regular running can result in such incredible physical changes that it is known as “Runner’s Body.”
Runner’s body is a term used to describe the remarkable adaptations that occur in the body in response to running on a regular basis.
This article explains the effects of running, how to get started with this time-tested exercise, and some of the other benefits of this fantastic workout.
12 Great Ways That Running Changes Your Body
Are you on the fence about running?
Not sure if it’s the right workout for you?
Consider these great running body transformation benefits!
#1. Burn a lot of calories
Your body’s primary fuel source during running is fat.
While your weight and speed will determine how much fat you’ll burn during a run, 100 calories per mile is a fair estimate for most people.
Combined with a healthy diet, regular runs result in a calorie deficit that can help you get leaner and lose weight.
#2. Improved cardiovascular fitness
Cardiovascular refers to your heart, lungs, and circulatory system.
When you run, your muscles need more oxygen, and your cardiovascular system must work harder to meet those demands.
Run often enough, and your ability to transport oxygen around your entire body will improve, and so too will your fitness.
As such, you’ll be able to exercise harder and for longer.
#3. Better cardiovascular health
There is a strong link between improved cardiovascular fitness and better cardiovascular health.
Running is one of the easiest and most popular exercises that people can do to improve their overall health.
In fact, running has been shown to reduce blood pressure in people who have hypertension.
An exercise study by the American College of Cardiology showed that when people with hypertension increased their running time from 3 to 5 days per week, they lowered their systolic blood pressure by an average of ten points and diastolic by five.¹
Other significant benefits include:
- Decreased risk of heart disease
- Increased bone mineral density and bone strength
- Reduced risk of stroke and dementia
- Improved brain function
- Lowers your heart rate
- Reduced cholesterol levels
- Improved lung function
- Increased insulin sensitivity
#4. Toned, stronger muscles
While running won’t build appreciable amounts of muscle like strength training can, it will improve muscle tone and endurance and increase your strength, albeit only marginally.
Obviously, as running is a lower-body dominant activity, your leg muscles will receive most of these benefits.
However, your core is also involved in running, so you can expect to develop a firmer midsection, too.
Note that running uphill, on the sand, and on uneven surfaces increases muscle activation and may have more of a conditioning and strengthening effect than running on flat roads or on a treadmill.
#5. Increased bone mass
While you can’t see your bones, they do a lot of work when you run.
Your feet hit the floor with roughly eight times your body weight, and that force stimulates your bones to become denser and stronger.
Bone mass tends to decline with age, and bones can become weak and brittle due to osteopenia (bone loss), leading to osteoporosis, which is also known as brittle bone disease.
By making your bones stronger and denser, age-related bone loss can be all but avoided, leading to a much lower risk of developing osteoporosis.
#6. Better sleep
Running can help you sleep better, and sleep is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your body.
A lot of people find it hard to get enough sleep, either being unable to fall asleep or waking up frequently throughout the night.
This can have a massive impact on how you feel and look.
By improving the length and quality of your sleep, your body will function far better, be better at burning body fat, be less prone to the damaging effects of stress, enjoy improved immunity, and you’ll look younger, too.
Plus, you’ll have more energy.
#7. Less stress
Stress can harm many aspects of your health and is often unavoidable.
While you may not be able to reduce the amount of stress in your life, you can improve how you deal with it, reducing its detrimental effect on your body and mind.
Running is one way to do this.
Heading out for a run provides an opportunity to escape from some sources of stress and provides time for reflection.
You may even find that you come up with solutions to problems while you are running.
The post-running high can also buffer you against some of the effects of stress and help boost your mental health.
Running Body Transformation after 6 Months
Some Additional Benefits of Running
While there are lots of alternatives to running, this back-to-basics form of cardiovascular exercise has several advantages over other workouts.
Further reasons that running is a great workout include:
There are two major barriers to regular exercise: time and facilities.
Lack of either can make working out on a daily basis all but impossible.
Running effectively conquers both these problems.
Running is an excuse-free workout because you can run almost anywhere and anytime.
You can run from home or work at whatever time suits you best.
Also, all you really need to run is a pair of appropriate sneakers and some comfortable clothing.
With no gyms to join or expensive gear to buy, running is an excellent excuse-free workout.
A lot of workouts lose their potency as you get fitter.
For example, you’ll probably find your fitness plateaus after a few weeks of Zumba or Spinning.
Running is much more progressive.
You can always run faster or further to ensure your fitness never stalls.
You can also make the transition from a recreational runner to a competitor by entering races if you wish.
However, you can still enjoy all the benefits of running even if you never enter a race, merely enjoying running for the sake of it.
While running can be a solitary workout, it’s also something you can do with friends and family or as part of a running group.
It’s much harder to enjoy social interactions when you’re lifting weights in the gym or doing a group exercise class.
However, you can chat to your heart’s content during a run.
In fact, that’s a great way to pass the time.
#11. Minimal learning curve
Running is very easy to master, and you don’t need to be an athlete to enjoy the benefits on offer.
In contrast, perfecting many of the best strength training exercises can take weeks or even months.
Running provides much more instant gratification, so you can start enjoying the benefits of running almost immediately.
#12. A great way to explore
When you need to go to the gym to work out, the chances are you’ll end up in the same place every time you work out.
Unfortunately, this can soon become boring.
Running provides a great way to exercise somewhere different.
For example, you may stick to your neighborhood for weekday runs, but why not get in your car and drive somewhere new for your weekend workouts?
Also, you can plan different routes, so you aren’t doing the same run every time you head out the door.
Running is also an excellent way to explore new areas, such as when on vacation.
You can run in cities or towns, and out in the countryside.
Enjoy the sights!
A Few Running Drawbacks to Consider…
Running is a great way to get fit, control your weight, and tone up, and it’s also good for your health.
However, before you lace up your sneakers and head out for a run, make sure you consider these drawbacks, too.
We list these not to put you off running but to make sure you have a proper understanding of both the pros and cons of running for fitness.
Like any type of workout, running can cause injuries.
Just as there are common injuries from deadlifting, there are typical issues associated with running you should be aware of.
This includes acute injuries like sprains and strains and chronic injuries like arthritis and tendonitis.
You can avoid many running-related injuries by:
- Not doing too much too soon
- Increasing your running distances gradually
- Wearing appropriate running shoes
- Warming up before your workout routine
- Stretching after running
- Doing some strength training exercises to prevent muscle imbalances and weaknesses
You may find running is not the best year-round workout if you live somewhere with hot summers and cold winters.
Running in snow and rain or burning sunshine is not everyone’s idea of fun!
But, of course, you can always run indoors on a treadmill when the weather is against you.
It’s sometimes said there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices, so you may be able to maintain your year-round running habit by dressing appropriately, such as waterproofs for winter and a sunhat in the summer.
Traffic and other road users
While it’s nice to zone out during a run and even do some running meditation, it’s important to remember that you are very vulnerable when running.
Runners can be all but invisible to other road users, especially at night, and traffic and accidents involving runners can be serious.
Avoid being a casualty by:
- Being aware of other road users – be hypervigilant
- Giving way to traffic even if you have the right of way
- Wearing bright, easily seen clothing
- Avoiding low-light areas
- Avoiding busy areas
- Telling someone what route you’ll be following and when you’ll be back
- Not listening to loud music – hearing is a crucial sense for safer running, warning you of approaching dangers
Not ideal for heavier exercisers
Whether you are overweight or just more muscular than average, running is a high-impact activity that may not be ideal for heavier exercisers.
As discussed earlier, your feet hit the floor with eight times your body weight, which is a force that even the best-cushioned shoe cannot absorb fully.
If running hurts your feet, ankles, knees, hips, or lower back, persevering could actually do you more harm than good.
You may find walking more comfortable and, providing you push the pace and include some hills in your workout, almost as beneficial.
How to Start Running
How do you start running?
By going out for a run!
A good start is a short run of 5-10 minutes and gradually increase the distance and speed over several weeks and months.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Get appropriate shoes
Running shoes provide a mixture of support and cushioning and should match your running style and gait.
A good pair of running shoes doesn’t have to be expensive, but they do need to fit correctly.
Speak to someone at your local running shoe store for advice.
Remember, too, that most running shoes lose their cushioning after about 500 miles, so make sure you replace your shoes regularly.
Dress in layers
Even on a cold day, you’ll soon warm up after a few minutes of running.
Avoid overheating by dressing in layers so you can vent partway through your workout.
For example, wear a lightweight zipped hoodie over your t-shirt so you can easily control your temperature.
Overheating will make your workout much harder and less enjoyable than it should be.
Try walk-run workouts
If you are new to running, heading out for a 20-minute non-stop workout could be daunting or even beyond your abilities.
So, try a walk-run workout instead.
Simply walk for 60 seconds, and then run for 60 seconds.
Alternate for as long as you wish.
As you get fitter, you can run more and walk less until you can run non-stop.
Running every day for a month body transformation
Running Body Transformation – Wrapping Up
Almost any type of exercise will do you good, providing you do it regularly.
That means whatever workout you choose, it needs to be enjoyable and convenient.
If you can’t fit your workout into your schedule or don’t like doing it, you are much more likely to skip it.
Assuming you enjoy running, and are armed with nothing but a pair of sneakers and some comfortable clothing, you can run almost anywhere and anytime.
This makes running for body transformation much more excuse-free than other, more complex workouts.
Whether you run for fitness and fun or decide to take things a little further by running competitively, running is a good workout that offers lots of benefits.
It can literally transform your body while improving your health!
While running is a great way to get and stay in shape, it’s not perfect.
Some muscle groups are left untrained, and any weaknesses and imbalances can lead to injuries.
Therefore, the easiest way to plug any developmental gaps is to complement your running workouts with a little strength training for the best results.
You can still put most of your effort into running, but a couple of weekly strength training workouts will make your runs more enjoyable, safer, and more effective.
See this article: 12 Best Leg Strengthening Exercises for Runners + Workout for more details on how to enhance your running body transformation with strength training.
And if you are feeling more competitive and want to set your sights on running a 5k – this article, From Couch to 5K Plan: A Beginner’s Guide to Running, will help.
The Fit Apprentice® Program
My default four-step strategy to change your body from fat to fit is based on:
- Clean eating – eat real, unprocessed food
- Walking with purpose – the minimum prerequisite of a physical exercise plan
- Pushups, – a worldwide standard of upper body pushing strength for the front half of your body (anterior chain)
- Deadlifts – the king of full-body compound exercises and the U.S. Army standard of pulling strength for the back half of your body (posterior chain muscles)
This 4 step method utilizing weight training has served me well for the last ten years and helped me lose 75 pounds in 6 months back in 2012.
However, despite how great deadlifts are for you, they are not for everyone.
So, what is the best exercise for body transformation?
It is the one you stick with over the long run (no pun intended!).
Fitness is a lifestyle.
All you need to do is plug in your favorite exercise, and as long as you are eating clean, you will be on your way.
See how to set SMART fitness objectives in 5 Long-Term SMARTER Fitness Goals to Get Leaner and Stronger In 2023.
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