Running into weight gain

All Woman

Dear Donovan,

I am running more and as a result, eating more. How can I avoid weight gain?

I am very happy that you are doing your running. Many significant health benefits are achieved from just going from a sedentary lifestyle to doing some exercise. Some studies have shown that vigorous exercises such as running seem to give more benefits than moderate exercise. Even in the case of running, one study showed that individuals who ran more than 50 miles per week had significant increase in their good cholesterol, and also had significant reduction in body fat plus a reduction in risk for developing heart disease compared to individuals who did less than 10 miles per week. In addition, the study also showed that the long distance runners showed nearly 50 per cent reduction in high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Overall, running improves aerobic fitness. It does this by increasing the activity of enzymes and hormones that stimulate the muscles and heart and makes them more effective. It should also be noted that running burns a lot of calories which is potentially good for weight loss. However, when you burn a lot of calories the body usually goes into a calorie deficit and wants to replace those calories it has lost. Therefore the tendency is to feel hungry and want to eat. This is what is happening in your case. As you run more, you are eating more.

If the overall amount of calories you are burning is less than what you are eating, there is always the chance that you can gain some weight. Also, if you are burning more calories than you are eating you could lose some weight.

For you it might be better to do your running in the morning so even if you take in a little bit more food you will have enough time throughout the day to burn it off. If you do the exercises in the evening or night and then eat, your next activity would be sleeping and this does not burn much calories.

The other thing you could do if you are running in the evening is to eat dinner two to two and a half hours between running and then try not to eat much after running. In addition, eating smaller, more frequent meals might also help you not to put on weight. Keeping yourself hydrated before and throughout the run will also help to reduce hunger at the end of the run. Adding lime to this water could reduce your appetite also.

In a nutshell, running is a good thing. Make sure you wear the right shoes, right clothes, have warmed up properly, are running on the right surface, and you are running using the right technique for you. You definitely want to reduce your risk of a running injury. Good luck!

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.

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