How to Start Running When Overweight: Tips for Beginners

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Running is a great way to lose weight. It is a low-impact exercise that can easily adjust to your fitness level. You can start slowly and increase your speed and distance as you become more fit.

Running is also a great way to improve your cardiovascular health. It strengthens your heart and lungs and can help to lower your blood pressure. In addition, running burns a lot of calories or body fat, which can help you to lose weight.

Running is also a great way to relieve stress. It can help you to clear your mind and relax. So if you are looking for a way to lose weight and improve your health, running is a great option.

In this article, we will give you some healthy tips on how to start running when you are overweight. Let’s get started.

What is Running and its Benefits

Overweight Woman Running

Running is a type of aerobic exercise that involves moving your feet quickly in a continuous motion. It is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and lose weight. When you run, your heart rate increases, and you breathe faster.

This helps to strengthen your heart and lungs. In addition, running burns a lot of calories.

Running has many benefits beyond building strong bones and muscles and increasing stamina. Running is also capable of doing the following;

  • Improve your mental health and cognitive function
  • Strengthen your heart and lungs
  • Reduce blood sugar levels
  • Decrease the risk of falling
  • Help to lower blood pressure
  • Burn calories, which helps with weight loss
  • Relieve stress

Runners often report feeling a “runner’s high” after a long run, which is thought to be caused by the release of endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that have mood-boosting effects.

In addition to endorphins, running releases other mood-boosting chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals can help to improve your mood and make you feel happier.

Running can also help to improve your sleep quality. If you have trouble sleeping, a few extra miles on the treadmill might be just what you need to fall asleep more quickly and sleep through the night.

So, as you can see, there are many benefits to running, both mental and physical. If you are overweight, starting to run may seem daunting. However, with some planning and effort, you may begin receiving rewards from running in no time.

Tips to Start Running When Overweight

You may wonder if running is a good option if you are overweight. The answer is yes! Running can help you to lose weight and improve your health. Here are some tips on how to start running when you are overweight:

Talk to Your Doctor First

Before starting any new exercise regimen, it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor, especially if you’re carrying around extra weight. They can help you assess risks and ensure that running is the right choice.

Your doctor will also be able to advise you on whether running is proper for you and offer tips on how to get started. They may also recommend changes to your diet and lifestyle to help you reach your goals. Once you have the green light from your doctor, you can begin by slowly and gradually increasing your mileage over time.

Dress for Success

You won’t want to run if you’re not comfortable in your running clothes. Finding the right running gear that fits well and doesn’t rub or chafe is essential. This is especially true if you are carrying around extra weight.

A few companies specializing in plus-size athletic wear have expanded their size ranges to include more plus-size options. Once you have the right gear, you’ll be one step closer to starting your running journey.

Start Slow

As a beginner, it is crucial to start slow first to avoid injury risk. If you’re not used to exercising, give your body time to adjust. It is always better to start walking for your bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles to adapt and strengthen. Then gradually increase the duration of your running sessions.

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It’s also important to be mindful of your form. It’s common to want to go fast. Running too fast with extra weight can be tough on your joints, giving you back pain. So it’s best to start slow and increase your speed and distance over time.

Also, don’t forget to listen to your body. If you’re feeling pain or discomfort, take a break or walk instead of forcing yourself to keep running.

Find a Buddy

Overweight people exercising

Finding a workout buddy is one of the best ways to stick with any new fitness goal. If you have a friend who is also interested in starting to run, ask them to join you on your journey.

Having a friend to run with will not only help with holding you accountable, but it can also make running more enjoyable. Having someone to chat with while you run can help the time fly by.

Set Realistic Goals

When starting any new fitness journey, setting realistic goals is essential. This will help you to stay on track and motivated.

If you’re overweight, losing a few pounds may seem daunting. However, setting smaller goals, such as running for 30 minutes three times a week, can help you to achieve your larger goal.

Reward Yourself

Don’t forget to reward yourself for your hard work. After all, you deserve it! When you reach small milestones, take the time to celebrate your success. For example, you might give yourself a new pair of running shoes after completing your first five-kilometer run. This will help to keep you motivated and on track.

Build Muscle with Bodyweight Training

In addition to running, incorporating bodyweight training into your routine can help you to build muscle. This is especially important if you are carrying around extra weight.

Bodyweight exercises are a great way to build strength and can be done anywhere. Try adding squats, lunges, and push-ups to your routine. As you get stronger, you can add more challenging exercises, such as pull-ups and tricep dips.

Don’t Give Up

The most important thing to remember is not to give up. Running may be difficult initially, but it will get easier with time. Be patient and stick with it – you’ll be on your way to reaching your goals in no time.

Stay Hydrated

It’s no secret that running can be tough on your body. That’s why it’s essential to ensure you stay hydrated before, during, and after your run. Not only will this help you avoid cramps and other problems, but it will also help you keep your weight down.

Staying hydrated is even more critical if carrying a few extra pounds. That’s because excess weight can strain your joints and muscles. And when you’re sweating, you also lose electrolytes that need to be replaced.

Make sure you drink plenty of water or sports drinks with electrolytes before, during, and after your run. You’ll feel better and perform better, too.

Recover Well

After a run, it’s essential to take the time to recover. This means stretching and foam rolling to help your muscles repair themselves. It’s also crucial to refuel with a healthy snack or meal.

This is especially important if you are carrying extra weight. The extra pounds can strain your body, so giving yourself time to recover is crucial. Try to include a mix of protein and carbs in your post-run meal to help your muscles repair themselves.

How to Maintain Your Weight Loss

Now that you’ve reached your weight loss goals, it’s time to focus on maintenance. This doesn’t mean you can never eat cake again or go off your diet. Let’s talk about some tips for maintaining your new body size.

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Eat Healthy Food

Eating healthy food is an essential part of maintaining your weight loss. Ensure you include lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs in your diet. And don’t forget to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

You should also make sure you’re drinking enough water. Staying hydrated will help you to feel fuller and may even help to reduce your cravings.

Exercise Regularly

In addition to eating healthy, you should also exercise regularly. This doesn’t mean you need to run five miles every day. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise a few times a week can help you maintain your weight loss.

So get out there and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. Remember, consistency is key. Try to stick to a routine that works for you, and you’ll be on your way to maintaining your weight loss for the long term.

Run from Sugar

When trying to maintain weight, it’s essential to cut out sugary foods and drinks. These empty calories can quickly add up and sabotage your efforts.

Instead, focus on eating whole foods that are packed with nutrients. And make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and feeling full.

Weigh Yourself Regularly

Last but not least, don’t forget to weigh yourself regularly. This will help you catch any weight gain early and adjust accordingly.

Common Complaints from Overweight Runners and Solutions

Young overweight woman exhausted

Overweight runners are more likely to complain about the following:

Difficulty Breathing

This is one of the common issues for overweight runners. When carrying extra weight, your lungs have to work harder to supply oxygen to your body. This can make breathing difficult, especially when running at a faster pace.

To help with this, focus on taking deep breaths and exhaling fully. You may also want to slow your pace until you can catch your breath.

Joint Pain

Extra weight can also strain your joints, leading to pain. This is most common in the knees, hips, and ankles. To help reduce joint pain, wear supportive shoes and start slowly.

If you’re still experiencing pain, try cross-training with low-impact activities like swimming or biking. These activities will take the pressure off your joints and allow you to get a good workout still.


Chafing is another common complaint among overweight runners. When your skin rubs against clothing, it can irritate and even lead to raw patches of skin. To prevent this, wear loose-fitting clothing and apply petroleum jelly or body powder to problem areas.

You may also consider wearing compression shorts or a sports bra if you’re a woman. These can help to hold everything in place and prevent chafing.

Shin Splints

Shin splints are a condition that causes pain in the lower legs. It’s common among runners and can be caused by overpronation when the foot rolls inward too much when striking the ground. This puts extra stress on the shin bone and surrounding muscles.

To help prevent shin splints, wear supportive shoes and stretch the calves before running. If you’re still experiencing pain, try cross-training with low-impact activities like swimming or biking.


Remember that everyone has to start somewhere. Most people who are now avid runners were once in your shoes, wondering how to start running when overweight.

The key is to begin slowly and gradually increase your mileage and intensity as you get in better shape. Running can be a great way to explore new trails, meet new people, and clear your head. You’ll be on your way to becoming a runner with patience and perseverance.

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