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Will running help you build muscle?

The study dives into the science behind aerobic exercises and the relationship it has with your body

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Many people have started running during the pandemic to stay fit while gyms were closed, but how much muscle can you build running? The first thing that comes to mind when ‘ building muscle’ is being strong or lifting weights at the gym. How does running fit into that?

A study on Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy after Aerobic Exercise Training was done at Taylor University, diving into the science behind aerobic exercises, and its relationship with the muscles in your body.

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In this study, 12 university students and adults were given a 10-week training program to analyze their muscle growth. The study found that running was an efficient mode of improving cardiorespiratory fitness, and each individual found an increase in the size of their quadricep muscles by the end of the training program.

Running is a repetitive weight-bearing motion that simultaneously works out the various muscles groups in your lower body, glutes, hamstrings and quads. How much muscle you build depends on how much you run – if you run three times a week, you will build muscle faster than someone running once.

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The study concluded by saying that the best way to promote muscle growth is by participating in cardio-based activities and exercising at a high intensity to 70 or 80 per cent of your max heart rate.

However, just running will not be enough to build muscle. If your goal is to increase your muscle mass, strength and weight training will be crucial for your success. Alongside training, ensuring your body has enough rest and eating a healthy diet will help you move toward your goal.