This is going to ruffle some feathers, but I am going to say it anyway.
Running is not something I recommend. It can be a bad way to get fit and a great way to get injured.
Sure, most fitness websites and articles will have you believe running is the best way to lose weight and that it is great for your health.
Sure, you can create an energy deficit through running that will bring about weight loss, at least initially, and you do get a cardiovascular benefit, to an extent.
However, statistically you’re very likely to become injured in the process.
Additionally, after your body adjusts to the energy demands of running, it will no longer be challenged and will use less energy to power your activity.
You will not build new muscle when running. You may actually lose some muscle tissue if you run for long distance or duration and do not properly fuel or recover.
When I meet with prospective new clients I always discourage them from running (in fact, many will say to me “I hate to run” and I say “good!”)
I have a few clients who were already runners when they came to me. They love running and it is a part of who they are. Rather than discourage them from doing something they are passionate about, I work to keep them from getting injured and to make their body stronger to counteract the punishment running inflicts upon it.
Most Americans are not built for running. Our hip flexors are already tight and our hamstrings slack which is only exacerbated by running which overemphasizes the front muscles of the legs and makes one even more quad dominant, putting added stress on the knees.
The hunched position of the runner also compliments our daily postures, hunched over a computer screen or a smartphone.
When programming for my runner clients I include lots of hamstring and glute work and as much upper body pulling as possible.
Yes, running can be good for the heart and lungs and it certainly releases endorphins, which much like any other stimulant, makes it fairly addictive.
But the way I see it, the negatives outweigh the benefits, by a lot.
If you want to get fit, forget running. Combine strength training with mobility and flexibility training and lots of walking.
Your joints and metabolism will thank you.