When people are asked why they run, an overwhelming majority cite the desire to lose weight (and presumably get healthier in other ways as well). But is running really the best way to shed pounds?
“The simple answer is ‘yes, it is a good exercise,’” says Glenn Gaesser, a professor of exercise science at Arizona State University. “Running is as good as anything and probably better than a lot of others.”
On a very simple level, it’s just a matter of calories burned versus calories consumed. And at approximately 100 calories per mile, depending on your size and the terrain, running provides a fairly good bang for your buck: Run faster, cover more miles, burn more calories.
Of course, it can get a lot more complicated than that. Theoretically, losing one pound is roughly equivalent to a 3,500-calorie deficit. Theoretically, that makes the equation very straightforward—but if you’ve found that not to be the case, you’re not the only one.