A toned body just looks good, doesn’t it? When your body is toned, muscles are well defined (not necessarily big) and there’s little excess fat. Everybody wants a body like that, but can running tone your body?
The truth is that regular running is one of the best ways to tone your body and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Can Running Tone Your Body?
If you want to increase your strength and lean body mass, resistance training is great. But when it comes to toning your body, losing weight and belly fat — you can’t beat running.
Running or jogging is an aerobic exercise, which means it’s not great for building muscle mass like bodybuilders. However, doing aerobic exercises like running on a regular basis is the best method to use to get rid of those bulges and tone up.
What Muscles Does Running Tone?
It’s easy to think the way to work your muscles is at the gym pumping iron.
But you can bet that running works and tones muscles too, and a lot of them. Exercising outdoors or on a treadmill will produce excellent results.
We know intuitively that running tones:
But when you’ve finished your run and are thinking about remedies for sore muscles — you’ll know you were firming more than just your lower extremities.
What Muscles Does Running Tone in Your Upper Body?
ABS and CORE
Holding your body upright as you run naturally works out your abs and core muscles.
Believe it or not, good posture is a must for runners, and that means keeping your back and spine straight, which tones the front and rear.
Chest & Back
This means you’re now working on toning your chest and back.
Shoulders, Neck & Arms
The natural movement and motion of running extends into your shoulders, neck, and all the way down your arms.
So, you can see that virtually every muscle in your body, including the muscles of your face, are toned and sleek from regular running. ( some more than others).
Does Running Tone Your Stomach?
If you’re looking for six-pack abs, go to the gym! But — because your abs are supporting you when you run — every stride is working, tightening, and toning stomach muscles.
That’s because your stomach muscles are heavily involved in keeping your upper body upright as your legs are moving your forward.
In fact, as you’re running there’s a lot of movement going on with your spine and stomach. That means that these muscles are constantly flexing for a good ab workout.
As it turns out, because our abs are fully involved and in constant movement, you wind up burning a lot of fat around your midsection.
If you’ve gotten fat around your stomach, running is the best way to burn it off!
You can see a lot of people suffering through crunches and sit-ups at the gym in an effort to get rid of stomach flab. But those exercises are never going to produce the flat stomach they are looking for.
Running is the best aerobic exercise to promote weight loss all over your body as you flatten and tone your stomach.
Here’s the thing though:
Taking a run once a week is never going to help much of anything, when it comes to your body.
For the best results, you’ll need to run 30-60 minutes at least every other day. Wearing knee sleeves can help protect your knees and keep you going with sore knees.
In fact this is about the minimum of any exercise to see any results for your health or the way your body looks.
Can Running Tone Arms?
Running is well known as a great form of exercise for cardio that improves cardiovascular health, losing weight, releasing tension and stress, and toning your entire body — almost?
Running will help with toning your arms.
And did I say help, right?
Yes, I did say it will HELP — and that’s about all.
Even though you will notice with running that your entire body begins to take on a slimmer and toned look, if your arms are flabby, I doubt that running is going to help much.
The truth is that while jogging does indeed burn calories and fat, it doesn’t do that much for your arms.
The American Council on Exercise says that “triangle” push ups are probably the best thing to do for the muscles under your arms.
Triangle push ups are regular pushups except you put your thumbs together instead of hands under your shoulders as in regular pushups.
3 Ways to Define and Tone Flabby Arms
You can build muscle mass with lightweight dumbbells from WalMart or any athletics store for bicep curls. Start out holding the dumbbells beside your legs with your arms fully extended and palms up.
Now bend your elbows as you use your biceps to curl the weight all the way to your shoulder. Lower your arm all the way back to straight down.
Try doing it 4 times with each arm, resting for a minute and doing another set of 4 reps shooting for 4 sets of 4-10 reps. These biceps curls are great for sculpting and toning arms.
Air boxing is simple enough and requires no sparring partner. Just bring your fist up and in front of your chest like a boxer and jab punches into the air left then right for 3 or 4 sets of 10-20 jabs.
This is a good workout for your entire upper arms, shoulders and chest. Do air boxing standing still, or while your running.
3.Park bench press-ups
Back up to a park bench, sturdy wooden chair, or end table, with hands shoulder width apart and feet under your knees.
You’re basically going to do squats with your hand behind you gripping the park bench.
Depending on your strength, you can do these dips anywhere from this position to your legs extended in front of you in the plank position.
Try to do 10 reps for great arm workouts.
Even with all the reasons one should consider running as a great exercise, it probably won’t help your arms that much.
Does Running Tone Your Thighs?
Most people find that legs, butt, and thighs are the first thing to start toning, slimming down, and firming with regular jogging.
Jogging uses every major muscle group of your lower body. It takes all of these muscles working together seamlessly for the motion to happen smoothly.
As you are striding along, all of these large groups of muscles are at work burning calories and really toning just about everything about your body, including your thighs.
Does Running Help Saddlebag Thighs?
Are you dealing with what’s known as saddlebag thighs?
The first thing you need to know is those sagging thighs are caused by an area just under your butt that needs to be toned, built up, and strengthened.
When this area of your leg is underdeveloped, fat accumulates there and gravity pulls it out towards the side of your legs.
The good news is that running is a great exercise to get rid of sagging thighs and lose weight.
But to tell you the truth, running alone probably won’t do it.
Because saddlebag thighs are fat, you could need to exercise and diet off the fat as you tone this area with running.
Hormones and genetics are the real culprits that cause what you eat too much of to head straight for your thighs. So the first thing to do is get a hold of your diet and eating habits.
Next is exercise to move the fat cells out of there. Use running, walking, biking, or indoor cycling no less than 5 times a week.
Jogging always targets the legs and butt areas first and foremost as quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves provide the movement and power to run.
For most women, saddlebags are the last fat deposits to give up the fight and disappear. So, you’ll need to sick with both your diet and exercise until it’s done.
Let there be no doubt that running will help you tone up your lower body and thighs. If you have trouble moving toning your thighs do this:
- Run up and down hills
- Change up your stride length, long strides, short strides, try twisting your body to one side as you run, turn your body to look behind you as you run
- Vary the places you run. Run on tracks, neighborhoods, in the sand of beaches, wooded trails
- Change up your pace during runs. Jog, then sprint, then jog
How Running Benefits the Body
There’s plenty of scientist who believe our bodies have evolved over time to be strong runners. They believe that the way our body is shaped and put together we are made to run for miles.
Whether you buy into that theory or not, the benefits directly related to running are undeniable.
1. Improved Cardiovascular Health
There simply isn’t a better way to increase and maintain the best cardiovascular health than running several times a week.
According to this study, running as little as 5-10 minutes a day will dramatically reduce risk of death from “all causes and cardiovascular disease”. That’s an interesting statement and one worth thinking about.
2. Running Reduces Depression and Anxiety
Whether you’re toning up your body on a treadmill or running in the neighborhood, it won’t take you long to notice how much better you feel. If you run for as little as 30 minutes a day your moods and focus will lift considerably.
And there’s no evidence that the speed of running makes any difference at all. So whether you’re barely hitting a jogging pace or out front setting the pace, you will see depression and anxiety dissolve from your life.
3. You’ll Sleep Better
There was a reputable study done that included 51 people all who were doing some exercise. The group was divided in half with one half adding a running regime to their exercise, the other half not running at all.
There was a marked difference in quality sleep for the ones who running 1/2 hour a day 5 days a week. In my own life, if I miss a week of running, my sleep takes a downhill spiral quickly.
4. Running Builds Better Bodies
Most people would like their body to have that lean, toned, and healthy look without the extra fat.
Any type of exercise you choose will help you stay healthy. However, running will always be the best strategy for toning your body, burning calories, and fat and looking your best.
Running increases metabolism, endurance levels, focus, overall energy levels, and bone and joint health.
How to Stay Motivated to Run
I don’t know of anyone who runs, exercises, or plays sports who doesn’t lose their motivation to go on from time to time.
As much as I love the feeling of freedom and knowing I am serving my body well when I exercise or run, sometimes I just don’t want to do it?
One thing I know is that if I can convince myself that I will enjoy it once I get started — the motivation comes.
In fact, whether I’m cycling, running, or working out at the gym I am always more motivated — with more endurance — while listening to music.
And I’m not by myself either. According to this study at Brunel University, experts recorded as much as 15% increases in exercise and sport endurance for people listening to rock or pop music.
I’ve learned over the years that listening to music on my daily runs makes a world of difference in my motivation, enjoyment of the process, and how long I can stay after it.
I’ve tried just about every sort of earbuds and headphones along the way, and finally hit on what I consider the best headphones for running, or any other place for that matter.
If you’re not listening to your favorite music while running or exercising, check out my review of the best sport Bluetooth headphones available.
When it comes to toning your body, I don’t know how you can beat running.
Face it: if you’re only interested in losing weight, you could walk an hour a day and see real results.
However, running is one of the safest and most effective methods of losing weight and toning as you go. Even though walking is a great exercise, the benefits of regular running far outpaces walking.
Whether you are a runner or a jogger you can trash the diet supplements, diet fads and gimmicks.
Running itself is a naturally healthy way to lose weight, and tone your body.
When you’ve made running a regular part of your life, muscles will stay toned, your body will stay lean , you’ll improve your heart health, and reap many other health benefits.