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Can Running Improve My Body Composition?

Because of its accessibility and cardiovascular benefits, many people include running in their exercise routine. If you have taken up running as part of your fitness program, it is essential to understand the effects it has on your body, especially when it comes to fat, muscle and metabolism. 

What is body composition?

Body composition refers to the amount of muscle, fat, bone and water in the human body. Most people aim to develop lean muscle and decrease their subcutaneous fat, this translates to an increased metabolism rate, better bone density, and a boost in overall health.

What is the effect of running on our muscle/fat balance? 

Generally, the amount of calories we absorb minus the amount of energy we use determines our body weight. By having a healthy, balanced diet along with regular exercise like running, you can create a calorie deficit, promoting fat loss while gaining lean muscle. However, you should note that at a certain point, lean muscle may not continue to increase with running, as the repetitive nature of the exercise only needs a certain level of muscle effort for sustainability. As such, if you want to have a well-formed body composition with a desirable amount of fat and muscle, running has to be paired with weight training.

Aside from the calorie expenditure that running provides, it also helps other aspects of the body. It increases metabolism by burning the calories you consume and uses the fats to create energy. In addition to this, practising a consistent running routine can also improve your overall endurance and the health of your most vital organs. Running can strengthen your heart and increase its efficiency to pump oxygen throughout the body.

How to Increase Body Composition Changes

To help you lose fat, gain muscle, and boost your body composition, please note the following tips.

1. Track Your Heart Rate
Training at a high heart rate, combined with improper nutrition can create catabolism or muscle breakdown. To ensure you are staying within the safe limit during your runs, use a fitness tracker. Your goal should be to work within your fat-burning zone, which is about 60 to 70 per cent of your maximum heart rate.

2. Eat the Right Foods
To improve your body composition, you need to eat the correct amount of food. Failing to replace the calories you burn while running may hinder your muscle  growth. You need to reduce your fat intake and boost your protein. Eating lean, protein-filled foods like chicken, turkey, beans, and fish will be beneficial for muscle growth. 

3. Practice 
If you have just started running, set achievable goals. You will improve your cardio faster if you build steadily. Try running for a couple of minutes and gradually increase the time. These small steps can help improve your body composition and overall health.

If you want to accurately measure your body composition, Bodyscan are here to help. We offer the latest, medically developed DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) technology to measure the amount of fat, lean tissue, and bone in your body. We can provide you with a detailed report of your body composition, which you can use to set specific fitness goals. Book a DEXA scan with us today. For any enquiries, email us at [email protected] or call us on 020 3490 4171.

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