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9 Ways Running Changes Your Body (Most Of It’s Good)

Taking up running will change your life. I mean it. Running isn’t just a way of exercising, it’s joining a community (and not in a scary religious cult type of way).

Yet the questions most would-be runners ask are “How running changes your body shape?” and “What does running do for your body?” Most of it’s good. Really good.

  • Running boosts your cardio, helps reduce stress, improves mental health, and lets you sleep well at night.
  • Taking up running is good for your fitness and can help reduce body weight.
  • Expect to lose body fat, improve your body shape, and increase your muscle mass.

Some people even think we evolved to run. If you’re body-obsessed, or just trying to get in shape, I’m sure you’ll want a few more details such as will my butt look good, is running the best way to get fit, and is there a typical runner’s body?

how running changes your body

#1 You Will Lose Body Fat

When people want to know how does running change your body and what does running do to your body, often what they have in mind is losing weight. It’s simple really, weight change is about the balance between calories in versus calories out, and running is a great way to burn calories.

In my view, it’s the BEST! You burn nearly double the number of calories compared with walking. Each mile you run burns around 100 calories. There’s no expensive gym membership, most people can run right from their door and all you really need is a good pair of running shoes. Develop a regular running habit and you will lose weight.

The only downside is running makes you hungry. Did I say hungry? I meant starving! Forget to refuel after a run and the only thing on your mind will be, “I need to eat NOW”. (Beware of HANGRY runners – they need feeding!)

Instead of replacing all the calories you’ve just burnt by reaching for a big sugary donut, have healthy snacks lined up and ready to eat just after your run.

How running changes your body shape

#2 Your Thighs Will Become Toned

Always wanted to get rid of fat at the top of your inner thighs? Running is the answer. It’s hard to think of any regular runners who don’t have toned thighs.

Going for a long run gives your legs a terrific workout. Run on a regular basis and your thigh fat will be history.

Your runners body

#3 Your Boobs Will Shrink

This is a downside. To be fair, it’s a downside to losing weight full stop. Most women, (and men), will lose weight off their chest when they take up running.

You can still have an attractive cleavage -just make sure you wear a sports bra even if your breasts are small.

It’s not a question of looks. Sports bras are essential for female runners to protect the Cooper’s ligaments that support the breasts from stretching. Run without a sports bra and it hurts – big time.

how running changes your body
Running will shrink your boobs!

#4 You’ll Develop Envious Calf Muscles

Best chat-up line ever? Walking around a bookstore in Sydney I was asked “How did you get such great calf muscles? You must be a runner!”

Now my calf muscles have been admired by many, but using it as a chat-up line was a first!

Running will build your calf muscles giving you shapely legs.

There is a downside. You will no longer be able to fit into skinny jeans, skinny boots, or anything that requires stick-thin skinny legs. Will it bother you? I doubt it. You’ll be too busy running…

what does running do for your body
Running up hills builds big powerful calf muscles.

#5 Your Arms Will Shrink

This is another downside of losing weight. If you’re running intensely, the muscles you’re not using will slim down. That means no more arm muscles.

There is a way to prevent weedy arms and improve your upper body. Combine running with yoga, weight training, or these bodyweight exercises for runners, and give your arms a good workout.

How running changes your body - Prevent weedy arms by strength training
Prevent weedy arms by strength training.

#6 You Will Have The Best Butt Ever

Running doesn’t just tone your legs, it tones everything below the waist. Think stomach muscles of steel and a butt to die for.

When you run you’re really working your gluteal muscles. That means an envious butt without having to hit the gym.

How running changes your body - Strengthen your glutes with hill reps
Strengthen your glutes with hill reps for the best butt ever!

#7 You’ll Sleep Better

One of the mental health benefits of running is improved sleep. Physical exercise increases the amount of time in deep sleep and can help with insomnia. The only proviso is to avoid intense activity in the hours before bedtime.

(No cramming in a run late at night because you forgot to go earlier – set your alarm for an early morning run instead).

Run earlier in the day and feel the benefits when it’s time to get some shut-eye. Sleep soundly and awaken refreshed.

running helps you sleep better
Running helps you sleep better.

#8 You’ll Feel Terrific

Running just makes you feel great. It boosts your energy levels and builds confidence making you more outgoing. However, when it comes to changes to your body from running it’s about more than just the physical side.

It’s good for your mental health and a wonderful way of making friends. You’ll find yourself enjoying your journey towards becoming a fitter, healthier person.

Being able to move better, run to catch a bus, and get the maximum use out of your body, just makes you feel terrific.

#9 You’ll Stop Overthinking Everything

The runner’s high isn’t a myth. Running releases endorphins creating a natural high. This way you get to feel good without any side effects.

It could be the endorphins or just the benefits of exercise, but running creates positive outlooks – and helps you stop overthinking and sweating the small stuff. The improvements in mental health are backed up by research. Life’s just better when you’re running regularly.

It gets easier and the benefits of running are worth it!
It gets easier! And the benefits of running are worth it!

Your Runners Body

When you first start running, you’ll quickly notice how running changes your body shape and you’ll start to enjoy all the feel-good benefits of a runner’s high and improved energy levels. These are just some of the science-backed health benefits of running.

From better cardio to living longer with less risk of heart attacks and stroke, running is good for you. It isn’t just a way to lose fat – running is one of the best ways to exercise.

Your runner’s body will be unique to you. Runners come in all shapes and sizes depending on their natural physique, what they eat, and how they train. Find out more about How To Get A Runner’s Body: Physique + 7 Training Tips

Is running good for you
Is running good for you?It’s a resounding YES!

Thoughts From Love Life Be Fit

We hope this insight into a runner’s body will convert you to take up running. Follow a Couch to 5K plan or even my Couch to Half Marathon plan if you love a big challenge!

The positive effects and physical and mental health benefits are immense from reduced risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol levels, and reduced high blood pressure to better mental health and sleep.

Running is a lifestyle – a way to make friends and seek out adventures. We hope you’re a convert!

What does running do for your body?
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