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It's often difficult to fit exercise into your busy schedule each day, but taking the time to work up a sweat is an effective way to improve your overall health. If you're concerned about carrying a little too much fat on your body, an aerobic exercise such as running is an effective way to burn fat.
A pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories, which means that if you want to lose a pound, you need to burn 3,500 more calories than you consume through food and drink. MayoClinic.com recommends losing a pound per week as a simple weight-loss goal because you can easily burn 500 calories more than you consume each day.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week. If you don't have that much spare time, aim for 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise. If you run 20 minutes per day at a moderate pace, you're slightly short of the recommended 150 minutes, but adding a few minutes to each day's run will help you surpass this guideline.
Running Calories Burned
The calories you burn during any activity vary according to your weight and the duration and intensity of the activity. If you weigh 185 pounds and run at 5 miles per hour for 20 minutes, you'll burn about 236 calories, according to Harvard Medical School. If you can sustain a pace of 7.5 miles per hour, you'll burn about 370 calories. A 20-minute run does burn fat, but unless you look at the amount of fat you burn over several days of running, you're unlikely to see results. For example, burning 370 calories means you're burning slightly more than one-tenth of a pound of fat. The higher pace you can maintain during your 20-minute run, the more fat you'll burn.
Whether you have just a few pounds to lose or want to continually drop weight over the course of several months, running has several benefits beyond just helping you burn calories. Benefits of running include strengthening your bones and muscles and boosting your cardio fitness. Running also releases endorphins, which help to boost your mood. People often call this phenomenon a "runner's high."