10 Pros and Cons of Running for Weight Loss – Science-Backed Studies

Why do people run?People run for different reasons. Some people start running when they are overweight or out of shape; other people run to make friends, while others run for leisure.

Whatever the reason is for you to run, it is essential to understand the advantages and disadvantages linked to running either in the morning or in the evening.

A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that regular physical activity, including running, has several benefits for you. It can make you feel better, function better, and sleep better.  Also, frequently exercising will improve your overall health and reduce the risk of various chronic diseases.

Read on to discover the 10 Pros and Cons of Running for Weight Loss – Science-Backed Studies.

If you are looking for ways to set running goals, I w Here’s How to Set SMART Running Goals.

Check out a video summarizing this article that we have uploaded to our YouTube channel.

10 Pros and Cons of Running for Weight Loss – altinify.com

Table of Contents

What Are The Pros And Cons of Running for Weight Loss?

Running is among the most accessible forms of sport and is also known for its ability to:

  • Promote weight loss.
  • Improve brain performance and cardiovascular health.
  • Decrease depression level.

Despite all the benefits of running, however, this type of sport does not come without disadvantages.

  • Those who run regularly might experience damage to weight-bearing joints, such as the knees and ankles.
  • Running might lead to irreversible breast sagging.
  • Excessive sun exposure is a potential disadvantage linked to running

 If you are very careful with your running, the benefits can offset its potential downsides. The following research-backed will help you make an informed decision and improve your run. 

Let us explore the advantages and disadvantages of running as a form of exercise.

1- Running Supports Diet Changes Easier and Helps Prevent Obesity

Obesity experts found that improvements are more successful than increases in activity for weight loss. The exciting thing about running is that it develops self-discipline, which makes clean diet habits easier to sustain.

A group of researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine found that obese people who begin exercising at the same time made diet changes and stick to it. And they also lost more weight compared to other subjects who changed their diet first and then started exercising.

The research concluded that the first group got better results because exercise makes people feel good about themselves, pushing them to want to eat healthier.

See also: Here’s How to Start Running When Overweight and Out of Shape – 11 Simple Tips

2- Running Benefits for Your Mind and Body

Research shows that running has tremendous health benefits. It increases your oxygen-carrying capacity meaning that you carry more oxygen to help feed the muscles.

Running also has cognitive and mental health benefits leading to an improvement in depression and anxiety symptoms.

Sometimes, after a good run, you will have a euphoric feeling known as “runner high” because your brain starts to produce endorphins during your run.  

3- Running Brings a Sense of Pride and Accomplishment 

A sense of pride and accomplishment leads runners to get hooked on running more often, joining a running club, or aiming for long-distance races.

This feeling of accomplishment improves self-esteem and motivates you to continue with your running and exercise plans and lose weight.

See also: 12 Best Tips On How To Love Running

Running for Weight Loss
Two Runners Celebrating Their Accomplishments

4- Running Improves Brain Performance

Short aerobic exercises such as running contribute to improving your brain performance because of the increased flow of oxygen and blood in the brain.

A study found that running might also help with short memory.

Exercising before learning helps you pump up your short-term memory; exercising after seems to help long-term recall,” Dr. Rhonda Patrick says.

Other studies also show that exercise enhances vital memory and learning functions

5- Running is Relatively Cheap and Accessible Compared to Other Workout Programs

Running does not require you to make a significant investment. For instance, gym membership and exercise classes are usually costly. What do you need to start running outside? Answer: a safe route.

To start running, you only need a good quality pair of running shoes. While running, you can enjoy outdoor benefits without the cost of a treadmill or gym membership.

Like anything in life, running also has some disadvantages, so let’s explore the cons of running for weight loss.

See also: 9 Amazing Tips On How To Start Running Again

6- You Could Get Injured While Running

When you push yourself too hard, running can lead to overuse injuries such as shin splints and knee pain. If you have not been active, it would be better for you to restart running by alternating between running and walking.

However, a study has shown running does not appear detrimental to your knees. The researchers found that there is no increased risk of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis among self-selected runners compared with non-runners.

Another group of researchers also found moderate exercise does not lead to an acceleration of knee osteoarthritis.

7- Adopting a Bad Form Might Lead to Other Potential Risks for Injuries

If you have a poor running gait, that will lead to other issues such as hip-to-knee to low back and ankle problems.

A video makes understanding all the aspects of proper running form easier.

Check out the video below to learn the proper running form from Dr. Jordan Metzl, sports medicine physician and Ironstrength Workout creator, a functional fitness program for runners.

Proper Running Form – Dr. Metzl – Runner’s World

8- Running Might Lead to Potential Breast Sagging

Running might lead to potential breast sagging. A study conducted by UK researchers found that for each mile (1.6km) a woman runs, her breasts bounce 135m, causing a risk of irreversible breast sag.

The same study found that wearing a simple T-shirt bra reduced bounce by 38%, while sports bras lowered bounce by 78%.

In other words, wearing appropriate and supportive sports bras might help prevent irreversible sagging of your breast.

9- Running Outdoor might lead to Excessive Sun Exposure

High-intensity running under hot weather stimulates cytokines proteins and suppresses cell immunity.

Running outside during warm weather might result in greater sun exposure. Hence, outdoors runners might be exposed to increased risk for certain types of skin cancer.

When running during warm weather, consider wearing protective clothing and the appropriate kind of sunblock to help prevent excessive sun exposure.   

A study shows that marathon runners may have an increased risk of skin cancer. The study concluded that excessive sun exposure and exercise-induced suppression of the body’s immune system might be involved.

The researchers suggested marathon runners should reduce UV exposure during exercise by choosing training and competition schedules with low sun exposure, wearing adequate clothing, and regularly using water-resistant sunscreens.

10- Running Increases Appetite and Reward Eating, Which Might Lead to Gaining Weight

A human’s appetite is highly sensitive to activity levels. In other words, the more we run, the more we will want to eat. Most of the time, the increase in appetite created by running does not entirely negate the calories burned in exercise.

It is essential to note that running does still help with weight loss; however, for others, it does not. The key is to be mindful and watch your diet before and after running. Not every calorie burned through running goes toward weight loss. 

Additionally, to increase appetite, running triggers reward eating for some people. Reward eating means adopting a high-calorie diet treats after running. And it can offset the calorie-burning effect of running even in the absence of increased appetite.

Single ice cream or donuts eaten to celebrate your run comprise the same number of calories, making it seem like the run never happened.

Do not use your run as a free pass to indulge in whatever you like. It is more difficult to resist an increase in appetite than it is to resist food rewards.

Your goal should not be to try to resist, either. Focus on shifting your diet toward more nutritious food selections so you can satisfy your appetite with fewer calories. 

See also:

Pros and Cons of Running for Weight Loss
10 Pros and Cons of Running for Weight Loss – Science-Backed Studies – altinify.com

However, there is no clear evidence that running and exercising will make you hungrier or eat more. 

Study shows that not all exercise stimulates appetite to the same extent. To reap the benefits of running, start by learning how to start running when overweight or out of shape.

Final Thoughts

Overall, running combined with a clean diet will help you lose weight. In general, the pros and cons of running for weight loss include the following: 

  • Weight loss
  • Enhance brain performance and cardiovascular health
  • Reduce depression level
  • Breast sagging

To lose weight by running, adopt a clean diet, learn proper running form, and wear appropriate and supportive sports bras to help prevent irreversible breast sagging.

And do not forget to wear protective clothing and the right kind of sunblock to avoid excessive sun exposure if you run in hot weather. And always regularly check with your physician and observe your progress.


Hello friends, I am Altiné I am SO excited you are here! I believe in YOUR POWER to transform the world through a healthy lifestyle and diet, and that physical activity and diet are EVERYTHING when it comes to your health and well-being. My goal is to offer you a simple and science-based approach to building muscle, losing fat, getting happy and healthy, and living a meaningful and impactful life for you and your loved ones. So YOU can look better, feel better, live better, and go make more impact. Let’s do it.

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