Don’t let the number on the weighing scale stop you from running!
Running is a very popular exercise and has several health benefits, such as improving overall fitness, building endurance, and helping losing weight.
Yes, it’s often challenging to start new habits or working out as an obese person.
But you know what the good news is?
It’s not impossible to start running!
With the right running plan for obese beginners, your first step will get you chasing your fitness goals in no time!
If you are obese and looking for a starting point, this guideline is for you.
Below are the obese runner’s steps to start a healthy running habit.
Are you up to the challenge? Let’s begin…
- Obese Runners’ Guideline
- What Should Obese Runners Wear?
- The Running Technique for an Overweight Person
- Running Plan According to BMI
- Build Muscle with Weight Training
- Some Diet Tips for Obese Runners:
- Is Running the Optimum Workout for Overweight?
- What are the Problems Obese Runners Face?
- Motivation Techniques for Obese Runners
- Frequently Asked Questions:
- Final Words
Obese Runners’ Guideline
For safety reasons and to avoid any problems, you should pay a visit to the doctor before following through with the running routine.
Once you get your doctor’s go signal, the next step is getting into the running mindset.
First things first… Get comfortable while running!
What Should Obese Runners Wear?
Like with any physical activity, choosing the right gear to wear is essential. Here are some pointers to keep in mind:
Wear comfy clothes: It is important to wear clothes with breathable fabric, such as polyester shirts… They are very light and more breathable than cotton.
Choose a comfortable top, pants, or running shorts. For obese women, it is also advisable to wear a sports bra that fits neither too loose nor too tight.
Wearing the right clothes will not just make you feel comfortable, but also boost your confidence and self-esteem if you consider yourself a fat runner.
Get support: For fat runners, it is also recommended to wear lightweight compression gear because :
- It provides core support to the stomach, lower back, and sides during longer runs
- It reduces risk for muscle cramps and swelling
- It also encourages the adjustment of the posture by opening up the chest and supplying more oxygen to the muscles.
- It pulls moisture away from the skin
Pick the right shoes: The first and foremost important step before running is to pick high-quality shoes.
Your shoes should provide support to the ankles and have soles that grip the ground well — you wouldn’t want to slip or have an accident during your run!.
Better go for shoes with good cushioning to absorb shocks while you run (your knees would thank you later).
Wearing the right shoes improves running performance and helps reduce the chance of injuries or muscle strains.
Compression gear? Check!
So what’s next?
It’s time to start running!
The Running Technique for an Overweight Person
Being obese or overweight may make running more challenging, but the following tips will help you take your first step with ease:
Picking up on new habits requires time and patience. Don’t get disappointed if achieving your running goals take longer than expected. Just keep going!
It is very important to enjoy the running experience and avoid injuries.
For that reason, the key here is to start your running journey slowly.
Prior strengthening exercises can improve the strength of the ankle, feet, hip, and trunk to help the joints bear the heavy loads before starting a running program.
In fact, here is where walking as an exercise comes in handy.
The heavier you are, the greater the load on your joints, especially the knees!
Walking with the extra pounds might be uncomfortable or even painful during the first few days.
But with time, your body will build endurance and gain the strength needed for more intense exercise, “running”.
Ideally, you should walk 3 to 4 days a week. By the end of week four, you should be able to walk for 60 minutes pain-free.
Listen to your body
Most injuries in marathon training programs are due to obesity with improper preparation, so listen to your body!
Feeling any body pain? Are you tired or exhausted?
If yes, then it’s still not time to run yet. Only when there isn’t any discomfort after the walk, then you’re ready to run.
The time has come!
Intermittent walk-run programs are attractive for obese runners who are not able to sustain running for a long period.
To begin running safely, you can find all the information you need as you begin the running plan for obese beginners:
- Always start with at least a 10-minute warm-up to ensure that the heart rate goes up and blood flows to the muscles.
The warmup can be walking, brisk walking, climbing stairs, or knee lifts.
- Walk briskly for 20-30 minutes, 3-5 days a week.
- Each week, add 5-minute increments to your sweat sesh until you reach 60 minutes, 3-5 times a week.
- Along with walking, make some changes in your diet. It is advised to lose some weight before you begin running.
Running for weight loss will be easier and less stressful for your body when you shed a few pounds.
- Interject run intervals into a 60-minutes walk. Walk for 3 minutes and then run for 30 seconds and repeat this.
- Keep increasing your running time, but have a recovery week every month.
- Watch your weight, especially if you aren’t recovering quickly enough.
- The last 5 minutes should be a cool-down session with lower speeds to relax the body, decrease the heart rate, and cool body temperature.
As a general rule, intensity increase should be gradual and consistent to prevent muscle or joint injury.
It is recommended to carry on a stepwise transition and run at a pace not exceeding 5%-10% of weekly intensity or duration for obese beginners.
Running Plan According to BMI
Body mass index (BMI) is a rough measurement for obesity calculated as the weight in Kg divided by the height in meter square.
However, it doesn’t take into account the lean muscle mass as well as the fat content.
Scientific data proved that BMI is used as a relevant indicator to differentiate between athletes’ capacities and level of performance.
It was also reported in studies that running performance is shown to decline from 50 years and above, but appears to be earlier in obese or overweight people.
So, there are no specific guidelines for running plans according to BMI.
However, fat runners with higher BMI, especially new runners, should first get checked by a health professional. Then, they can start slowly exercising with shorter distances and run at an easier pace.
The first days of running won’t be easy and may even be painful, but there are symptoms that fat runners should watch out for.
Slow down if you experience the following symptoms :
- Heart Palpitations
- Intense chest pain
- Severe muscle or joint pain
- Loss of balance
- Dizziness or vertigo
Build Muscle with Weight Training
Because you are an obese runner, you should do weight resistance exercises as well to help you burn more calories and increase lean muscle mass.
Studies report that combined exercise training for 12 weeks significantly decreased body mass index (BMI), percentage body fat, and weight.
As you build enough strength from a resistance workout, you will run faster and for a longer time.
Some of these exercises include lunges, low planks, side planks, squats, bridges, and push-ups. Using only your bodyweight with these different moves, you can work on all your major muscles.
Make sure to perform 2-3 sets of 15 repetitions each to supplement your running goals.
Some Diet Tips for Obese Runners:
Before You Run
Don’t run hungry or with an empty stomach.
Have a small snack 30 minutes to 60 minutes before you run. A banana or a small granola bar is a good pre-run snack.
After Your Run
You just finished a run? Great, you should be proud of yourself!
Eat a Snack within an hour after your workout. Go for something with carbohydrates and proteins to refill your glycogen stores and support recovery.
…And of course, don’t forget to hydrate!
Drink frequently! How much water is needed for each individual running is related to the running distance.
It is advised to drink water before 2 hours of running.
During the run, it is recommended to maintain hydration by sipping small quantities of water every 15 to 20 minutes.
Finally, post-running hydration is the most important step to keep the body hydrated and to ensure a fast recovery.
Is Running the Optimum Workout for Overweight?
Of course, yes! Running has many health benefits for an overweight person, such as:
- Lowering the risks of heart disease, cataracts, neurological disease like Parkinson or Alzheimer, and developing cancer
- Reducing blood sugar levels,
- Strengthening the knees
- Burning calories and increasing the basal metabolism
- Helping lose weight, when combined with a healthy diet
What are the Problems Obese Runners Face?
Having more body fat than normal can be troublesome for obese people who want to start a running plan.
The extra weight entails greater effort for their heart to pump blood, and this would cause breathing difficulty.
So it is advised to keep rhythmic breathing while running.
A major problem overweight runners encounter is foot and joint pain.
Depending on the type of joint pain, non-impact exercise on a flat surface or an incline, and at a high intensity can be used to start the program.
Added to that, rest days in between running days help prevent injury.
If any other aches or pains are experienced, it would be best to consult a doctor.
In obese runners, the underarms and inner thighs are the most sensitive areas.
Chafing can cause rashes due to a combination of skin friction, moisture, and irritating fabric — this can be really painful!
Because of that, the choice of sportswear is highly important during running.
Motivation Techniques for Obese Runners
Consistency is key in running. And in order to preserve it, you will need discipline and a little motivation.
Here you will find some hints on how to keep on motivating yourself.
- Run with a friend : Do you have a friend who has always wanted to start their fitness journey as well? Or maybe a friend who has been working out for some time, and could inspire you to keep going.
- Set a goal: Do you want to lose weight? Be more active? Or just simply change your daily routine? Remember that goal every time there’s a lack of motivation… keep the progress on track!
- Make a running diary and record the reached weight, the distance, or the time of the run. Seeing your progress will definitely motivate you!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is It Safe for Obese People to Run?
Sure, overweight and obese people can run. But, it depends on the following factors:
- Age and gender.
- Surface you are running on.
- Medical history.
- Distance and speed.
- Genetics and history of activity.
For example, most obese people have knee problems, and it’s often difficult for them to breathe properly while running.
So, we advise you to follow our recommendations mentioned above and increase the pace slowly.
Also, running on the grass at first, then progressing to road jogging is a smart technique obese runners can try.
How Do I Start Running When Unfit?
When you first start, try alternating between walking and running during your session. As time goes on, make the running intervals longer until you no longer feel that you need to walk.
How do I Go from Obese to Running?
- Set a goal but be realistic
- Start slowly
- Focus on low to moderate-intensity runs.
- Practice, practice, practice
- Don’t overdo it
- Don’t skip weight training
- Adopt healthy eating habits
- Take a break
- Enjoy your accomplishments
Is strenuous exercise more efficient for obese runners?
Moderate intensity (MICT) to high-intensity (HIIT) exercises can stimulate modest body composition improvements in overweight and obese people without a change in body weight.
HIIT and MICT show equal effects across body composition parameters. However, high-intensity training is more time-efficient to reduce fat mass, especially in the abdominal and visceral areas.
Ideally at your comfort and capacity, HIIT training can be used as a potential component of weight management programs.
Is it necessary to warm up before exercising and to stretch afterward?
Yes. Both warm-up and stretching are important parts of the running routine to prepare your body to run and to recover.
Skipping these two increases the risk of injuries and muscle cramps. On top of that, doing static stretches will help you recover gradually after training and improve your flexibility.
Standard yoga positions are great for both warm-up and stretching. You can always adjust your routine! Attending a yoga class will boost your focus on breathing as well as achieving your goals while running.
running is a great way to improve your fitness, build endurance, and can boost weight loss. It isn’t just for people with a normal weight range.
Running and exercising is for everyone, including obese people. As long as they follow the running plan for obese beginners, progress slowly, take rest days and mind the onset of pain symptoms, then, they’ll have a smooth-running routine!
So don’t miss out on all the health benefits of running.
Follow the guideline to safely start your new lifestyle and remember don’t let a stumble in the road be the end of your journey.
Are you ready to take your first step?