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Can I Lose Weight by Running Around the Block?
Running around the standard city block is very similar to running laps on a high school track as they are both approximately a quarter-mile around. So, even though your neighbors may wonder what you are doing, you can lose weight by literally running right out your door and around your block.
Corner-to-corner walk/run intervals will challenge you without having to drive to a track. Begin at one corner of the block and walk to the second. Round the corner and take off running to the third. Walk from the third to the fourth, then run again until you reach the starting corner. During the sprints, your heart-rate increases so you burn approximately three to four times the calories during high-intensity running as you do when walking. The walk breaks are important, however, as they allow you to rest and cover more overall distance.
Fartlek running is a style of training that adds fun to your run. In Fartlek running, you gradually increase your speed as you cover a pre-determined distance that also burns calories at a high rate and helps you shed unwanted pounds. In the case of your block-running, you would begin running at a slow jog on the first side, then pick up the pace a little on the second, then speed up still more on the third side and finish the final side sprinting. Take a short break after each round of Fartlek running then begin again.
Keeping your body moving and heart-rate elevated is key to burning calories. Another workout option is to perform square drills around your city block. Start at the first corner and run to the second. Then, side-shuffle to the third corner while leading with your right foot. Run from the third to the fourth corner and finish the square by side-shuffling to the starting point, this time leading with your left foot. Rest between square drill repeats so you can stay strong throughout the drill.
Sprinting quarter mile laps around your block will burn calories at three to four times the normal rate. So if you sprint one lap then walk the next lap for recovery and repeat numerous times, the high-intensity calorie-burn you will achieve will help you shed excess pounds. This is similar to the walk/run drill, but since your effort output remains higher for longer periods of time, your body will respond accordingly with greater calorie-burning potential.
Slow And Steady
On days when you are more in the mood for slow and steady running, you can also run regular laps around your block. Although you will not burn calories at as high a rate when you are running more slowly, you will still burn and because you are putting out less effort, you will likely be able to run farther during your workout.
Planning a Running Schedule
For effective weight management and other fitness benefits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends running or performing other vigorous aerobic activities at least 75 minutes per week, which works out to five sessions of 15 minutes each. This will provide enough exercise to burn significant calories -- and the only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you eat.
- Galloway's Book on Running; Jeff Galloway
- Scrawny to Brawny; Michael Mejia and John Berardi
- Training for Speed, Agility, and Quickness; Lee Brown and Vance Ferrigno
- Total Training for Young Champions; Tudor Bompa
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight
- The 100-Year Lifestyle Workout; Eric Plasker
- running image by Byron Moore from Fotolia.com