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Study: have more fun with running, lose weight

have more fun with running to lose weight

I saw a news headline the other day that I couldn’t ignore: If you want to lose weight from running, have more fun.

It sounds almost too simple to be true, but the research makes sense. In short, scientists at Cornell University did a series of experiments. Two groups of people were asked to take a 30 minute walk. However, one group was told that they were exercising for 30 minutes, while the other was told to have fun while they listened to music while they walked. Afterwards, everyone was treated to a buffet lunch and the “exercise” group ate more calories and chose unhealthier foods than the “fun” group.

Researchers say that the exercise group likely ate more than the fun group because they saw the walk as exercise, not fun. Many people incorrectly believe working out gives them the license to eat whatever they want in endless quantities.

According to this study, viewing running as fun instead of exercise may prompt you to make more nutritious food choices – and you may lose a few pounds in the process.

But just how can you have more fun with running? We have a few ideas:

  • Take your run off the beaten path.Running the same route day in and day out will lead to boredom – the furthest thing from fun! Exploring a new route – especially if it has scenic views – can take the fun factor up a notch.
  • Ignore your time.Leave your watch or phone at home and forget about your pace. Not meeting pace goals on a run can sap the fun out of the experience. Forget about your pace and just go. You may be surprised by the results.
  • Run in the rain or snow. Unleash your inner child and run outside while it’s raining or snowing (taking proper safety precautions, of course). We dare you to jump in a puddle or two without cracking a smile.
  • Enlist a buddy.Running with a friend or a group is a surefire way to forget that you’re getting a workout because you’ll have so much fun chatting.
  • Have a friendly competition.At the end of your run, challenge your buddy to see who can finish the last half or quarter mile of your run fastest. Good old-fashioned, side-by-side racing is guaranteed to make you smile. For even more motivation, make a friendly wager – last one to the finish line buy’s the first round!
  • Do a themed race. Color, electric, mud, and obstacle runs are all about fun. No one is gunning for a PR. In fact, most of these events aren’t even timed — they’re all about having a good time. Chances are you’ll have so much fun getting sprayed with different colored paint, for instance, that you’ll actually forget you’re exercising. (More about fun races.)
  • Race in costume. Running in a full costume is one of the quickest ways to take the seriousness out of running. Be anything you want during a Halloween-themed race, don a turkey, elf, or Santa Claus costume during a holiday race, or dress like your favorite Disney character during any runDisney event. Just make sure you test out your costume first before racing in it – remember, nothing new on race day!

How do you have fun on the run?

Written by Jen Matz

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