Running is one of the greatest, and cheapest ways to improve your cardiovascular health. You can find avid runners going for their daily run regardless of the temperature, or the conditions outside of their window. If you’ve been stung by the running bug, you've probably not only felt the physical benefits, but also experienced the mental ones. It can be a great time to escape from your stress, and completely lose yourself. But after a while, your body adapts to this form of exercise just like any other that you do on a regular basis. When that happens, it’s time to bust your running rut by increasing the intensity and furthering your fitness health.
Here are twelve great ways to burn some serious calories on your run:
- Sprints: You probably run at the same pace, which is not a bad thing. But if you want to burn extra calories, adding the occasional sprint will definitely accomplish that. Try adding 30-second sprints every few minutes while on your run. Make sure you give yourself enough recovery time after the sprint, before you do another one.
- Longer distances: If you always run the same three miles every day, try adding another half mile or so. The longer you run, the more calories you will burn.
- Hills: Does your current running route have hills or is it mostly flat? Running uphill may slow you down, but it won’t slow your heart rate one bit. Try to map out a new route that incorporates some hills. Plus, the change of scenery will be a fun change.
- Increase your pace: Is your current pace a seven-minute mile? Try running faster to get it less than seven minutes. This may take a few tries, but you will be burning tons of calories in the process.
- Add variety: There is no rule saying you should only run. Add some walking lunges, forward squat jumps or even some push-ups on the curb. This break up the monotony of your run and it will add some power moves that will build muscle, along with burning calories.
- Wear weights: Weighted vests or ankle weights will make your run more challenging since you are carrying extra weight on your body. Start light and then if it’s too easy, go heavier. You can even hold small hand weights while you run if you don’t have ankle weights or a vest.
- Push/Pull something heavy: If wearing or carrying extra weights is not an option, how about pushing something heavy like a jogger stroller or wagon—maybe with your kids inside? Again, it may slow your pace, but it won’t slow your calorie burn.
- Create your own obstacle course: Without much effort, you can create your own personal obstacle course while you run. Leap over large puddles, jump over leaf piles and zig zag around fallen branches. If you live near a playground, you can use the monkey bars, seesaws and rock walls as some of your obstacles. Be creative.
- Lift before you run: Lifting weights not only helps you build muscle, but if you do it right before you run, you will end up burning even more calories (and fat) than if you just ran. Even a short twenty to thirty-minute strength training session can maximize your calorie burn as you run.
- Sign up for a race: As odd as this may sound, if you sign up to run a 5K, 10K or half marathon, you will have to train for it. So now your leisurely runs just became instant training that you won’t want to skip. Having this goal will force you to run more, or faster, and that will result in burning more calories.
- Run less: Sounds strange, but there’s a catch. You can run less, but you have to increase your intensity during that short run time. If you usually run for forty-five minutes at a seven-minute mile pace, try running for a half hour, but at a six or five-mile pace. Over time, your pace will get quicker and your time may lessen. This is also great for those days when you are short on time.
- Head for the beach: If you live in the middle of the dessert this may not seem like the best idea, but it’s not the beach you need, but rather, the sand. That’s right. Running in sand is hard—really hard—and it will torch some serious calories while you try to get through it. Studies show you can burn up to 30% more calories if you run in sand. If you have access to a pool, you can run laps in the pool for the same effect.
Try one of these methods to increase your calorie burn on your next run. Not only are they effective, but they will also add some new excitement to your run just in case you are starting to get a bit bored with them. Happy, and healthy trails!!!