Is it better to run fast or slow to lose weight?

This question is about Running

Sarah Achleithner

Running fast or slow can lead to weight loss. Both moderate-intensity exercise and high-intensity exercise have been shown to lead to weight loss and running intensity should be individualized based on fitness level, age, weight loss goals, training frequency and other factors [



Research suggests that 150-250 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week will provide modest weight loss, while greater amounts (>250 minutes/week) have been associated with clinically significant weight loss [


]. Studies have shown that when runners go at a slower speed, they have more endurance and exercise for longer periods of time resulting in increased calorie burn (therefore leading to weight loss). Conversely, high intensity running cannot be sustained for as long, however, can result in increased calorie burn for several hours after exercise [



In conclusion, the more consistent you are with running (and the more your speed and distance improve) the more likely it is for you to lose weight [


]. Focusing on your diet and consuming less calories overall will also help lead to weight loss. Genetics, sleep, stress, age, meal timing and meal content can also impact weight loss success. 

people wearing shorts and sneakers running along road


  1. De Feo P. (2013). Is high-intensity exercise better than moderate-intensity exercise for weight loss?. Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases : NMCD, 23(11), 1037–1042.

  2. Donnelly, J. E., Blair, S. N., Jakicic, J. M., Manore, M. M., Rankin, J. W., Smith, B. K., & American College of Sports Medicine (2009). American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Appropriate physical activity intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 41(2), 459–471.

  3. Rogers, R.J. (2020). Myth Busting Weight Loss. American College of Sports Medicine. Retrieved from