How Does Running Change Your Body?

Are you searching for a new way to keep fit and lose weight? Running might be just the activity for you. But is running all it’s cracked up to be? And what physical changes can you expect when you start a running routine?

Today, we’ll look at the ins and outs of running by looking at the physical changes associated with running, whether running is better than going to the gym, and the pros and cons of running. 

While we aim to highlight the benefits of running, it is important to check with your doctor or physician before starting running as an exercise form. Grab your sneakers, and let’s go!

How Does Running Change Your Body?

How does running change your body?

Running has various health benefits, and some pretty radical changes come from a regular running routine. While many people run to lose weight or belly fat, a few other things happen when you run. 

Before we look at the physical changes that come with running, it’s important to note that different types of running will have varying effects on your body. Whether you prefer jogging, sprinting, or training for a marathon, the running workout you choose will produce different results. 

Here are just a few of the main reasons why you should start running today:

Build and Tone Your Muscles

One of the quickest ways to tone your muscles is by engaging in a full-body workout. Running works all your major muscle groups and turns those wobbly bits we all have into pure muscle. Running is a high-impact exercise that is great for toning your whole body. 

While you might feel the burn after your first few runs, it only gets easier as you get fitter, so keep at it. With time and patience, you’ll find yourself enjoying the runs. Start slow and increase your pace and distance as you improve your fitness levels and feel more comfortable. 

Running is a great way to work your core, which is why the Runner’s Body is synonymous with that desirable flat toned stomach.

Burn Calories, Increase Metabolism, and Lose Weight

A great way to burn off those extra calories is by doing exercise. Running is a weight-bearing exercise that will have you using all your major muscle groups, which in turn burns calories. 

Weight loss can be expected when you walk or run, as the increase in oxygen boosts your metabolism and breaks down those calories faster. Running accomplishes this much faster than walking.

Everyone has a different basal metabolic rate (BMR), and running can help you increase your metabolism rate and lose that extra weight faster than almost any other exercise

Increase Your Stamina and Endurance

Running is a cardiovascular exercise that works the heart, lungs, and your body’s vascular system. As you run, you increase your cardiovascular health and increase your endurance. 

Endurance and stamina come with regular running as your body adjusts to the increased oxygen/carbon dioxide balance and the stress on your cardiovascular system. In time, you’ll be able to run greater distances more easily.

Strengthen Your Bones 

Remember when your mom told you that drinking that glass of milk at meal times would help you build strong bones? She wasn’t entirely wrong, but we bet she didn’t tell you that running helps strengthen bones even more than that glass of milk.

Running is a weight-bearing, high-impact exercise that increases bone density, making your bones stronger and more resistant to breaks and injuries. 

Strengthen and Tone Your Legs

Do you want tight buns and toned legs to show off this summer? Or are you just looking to increase your overall health? Exercise is hands-down the easiest way to strengthen and tone your muscles, and running has a remarkable effect on the strength of your legs. 

A good run works the quads, calves, hamstrings, and glutes, and running on different terrains and surfaces increases the strength of your muscles. Plus, when running with proper form, your core and shoulders get a workout too.

Reduce Stress and Improve Sleep

What could be better than getting some fresh air while running in the park or along the beach? The increase in oxygen while running helps increase your metabolism, clear your mind of all negative thoughts, improve concentration, and promote deeper, more restful sleep. 

Running outdoors is also a great way to get your daily dose of Vitamin D, which helps build immunity and is good for the eyes, skin, and bones. 

Decrease Risk of Death and Heart Disease

As we mentioned, running increases your stamina and endurance, promoting cardiovascular health and strength. This reduces the likelihood of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. Cardio-respiratory strength is important, and running helps you build this strength and stamina.

Additionally, if you’re a smoker and start running, you will immediately see the effect that it has on your cardio health. It’s not uncommon for new and motivated runners to kick their smoking habit after realising exactly what it’s doing

Doing so — while certainly not easy — will significantly reduce your risk of different cancers, stroke, and heart attack.

Running vs. Gym: How They Compare For Transforming Your Body

Whether you run in the park or go to the gym for a workout, any form of exercise is important to burn calories, increase stamina, and improve your overall health. But which is the better option for a body transformation? And is running better than going to the gym? 

Running versus gymming has long been a hot topic for many in the fitness world and causes many debates about which is better for your health. Gym bunnies will say that the gym is the best place to work out, while runners will stand firm on their decision that a good run is all you need to stay healthy.

The two exercises are fundamentally different, with running focusing more on cardiovascular strength and gymming prioritizing muscular strength through targeted workouts.

There is no clear answer about which is better; it all comes down to personal preference, the time you have available for exercise, the cost, and what you want to achieve.

Here are a few of the important things to consider when choosing between running or gymming:

Gym Body vs. Runner’s Body

How does a gym body transformation compare to a runner body transformation?

Of course, you can choose to spend your time at the gym working out on a treadmill. In which case, running and going to the gym are likely to have very similar results!

The main physical difference between the body of a runner and the body of somebody who mostly just goes to the gym is that runners tend to be leaner and more toned due to their cardiovascular exercise.

When we think of a stereotypical gym body… we think ripped muscles, bulging abs and biceps. There is much more of an emphasis placed on muscle gain.

Obviously, the results you see at the gym are going to vary based on the equipment you decide to use while you’re there.

By contrast, running produces predictable results.

The stereotypical view of the Runner’s Body is one that is toned and fit with a low body fat percentage, muscular legs, well-defined abdominal muscles, and a strong core. If you run with enough patience (and the correct form!), this is the type of body transformation you can expect over time.

Cost & Accessibility

Gyms require a monthly membership fee that can be costly, while running is, in most cases, absolutely free. In addition to the membership fee, going to the gym will cost you gas to get to the gym and proper workout clothes. 

For those on a budget, a run might be the better option. You can run in any old pants and shirt around your neighborhood, at the local park, along the beachfront, or hit the trails.

Time Required

Do you have the time to fit in a workout session at the gym? Is your day crammed with work, school runs, and other activities that make it difficult to set aside an hour (excluding driving time) to go to the gym? 

Making time to exercise is important, so you must choose an exercise that fits your daily routines and responsibilities. With running, you can choose when and where to run, and you don’t have to drive anywhere – just lace up your shoes, and off you go! 

Adopt Whichever Habit Is Likely to Stick!

As with most things in life, you need to do what makes you happy. If you prefer the structure and routine of a gym environment, then stick to your fitness schedule and enjoy a good gym session. If running is more your style, enjoy the open air and sunshine as you burn calories and lose weight.

Author Profile

Thalia Oosthuizen

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Thalia started running during the the pandemic as a way of getting out of the house. The running bug bit, and now much of her life revolves around everything to do with running - videos, podcasts, studies, books, articles, and interviews. She's also done several courses on running nutrition and mechanics to aid in her training and advising others.
Thalia Oosthuizen

Revel SPorts Contributor

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