How Long Does It Take To Lose Belly Fat By Running In 2024 – Here’s Our Experts’ Answer!

Christine VanDoren, Nutritionist
Sevginur Akdas, RD
Are you wondering, “How long does it take to lose belly fat by running?” Learn how consistent running can positively impact your body in 2024.
how long does it take to lose belly fat by running
Consistent running can help you burn fat. Photo: Ba Le Ho

Running has always been a popular exercise form due to its simplicity. You don’t need any special equipment or locations, which most people do anyway in their everyday lives, depending on circumstances. It’s essentially one of the most convenient weight loss exercises out there; you can do it wherever and whenever you want.

Running is also as effective as it is simple. Various studies have provided evidence of the short-term and long-term health benefits you can get from running around your neighborhood. Thanks to this scientific proof, we can somewhat accurately calculate how much visceral fat you can get rid of by running.

That leads to the question, “How long does it take to lose belly fat by running?”

How Long Should You Run A Day To Lose Belly Fat?

It depends, as everyone starts at a different overall body fat percentage and fitness level. To lose weight and eventually burn belly fat, try running for 30 minutes three to five times weekly.

How Long Should I Run To Lose Stomach Fat?

The general consensus is that running — or any aerobic exercise, for that matter — for 30 minutes five times per week should help you lose weight. However, the rate at which your body burns fat depends on which heart rate zone you are in and the intensity of the physical activity.

While sprinting certainly increases your heart rate, it can only be sustained for so long. Running for a longer period of time, say 20 to 30 minutes, at a moderate speed is a more efficient way to lose fat. This also allows the body to use stored fat as energy rather than carbohydrates. 

Even so, the rate at which your body actually burns fat can also rely on your genetics to a certain degree. In one study, researchers discovered that the presence and frequency of certain genes[1] in some of their subjects led to more weight loss than those who didn’t have that specific gene. As a result, this is not something you really have control over. 

Regardless of how your body fat burns away, it is impossible to target lower belly fat. You cannot target fat anywhere on the body, as factors like your genetics will determine where on your body fat will be burned the most quickly. However, be patient and stick to your running routine, and you will eventually reduce belly fat. 

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Does Running Burn Belly Fat?

Can running burn belly fat? Moderately intense running is ideal for burning fat because it allows for optimized fatty acid oxidation, meaning that the cells can steadily receive a proper oxygen supply and allow the body to burn fat. Also, fat leaves the body through sweat and the carbon dioxide you exhale.

A moderate pace that gets your heart pumping while allowing you to converse with a running buddy is ideal for weight loss.

Running is one of the best ways to initiate and promote fat burning. Your increased heart rate allows for improved blood circulation, meaning that oxygen and nutrients reach your body’s cells faster. This influx of oxygen causes more energy to be generated from your belly fat, meaning that more of it is used up and ultimately removed from your body composition.

However, as mentioned before, you cannot use running to target belly fat, but it will be burned eventually.

Benefits Of Running

Promotes Weight Loss

how long does it take to lose belly fat by running
Running can help you lose weight. Photo: Shutterstock

As stated before, running to promote fat burning strongly correlates with increased weight loss. But where’s the proof of this?

The scientific evidence to back up this claim comes from a study that compared changes in weight between running and walking,[2] with the latter technically acting as a control group. Based on the results of this study, the overall conclusion is that the difference in body mass index, or BMI, is greater in those who run compared to those who only walk. Not only that, but this change in BMI is still negative, meaning that the BMI decreased since there is not as much body mass throughout your body after running.

Most of us walk daily, which can slightly help burn calories, proving that moving your body faster increases the chances you’ll lose weight.

Improves Cardiovascular Health

We mentioned earlier that running increases your heart rate, but this doesn’t only promote burning belly fat and fat in general.

Running can help prevent the development of several severe health conditions,[3] such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. It can also increase your overall mortality, meaning you’ll live longer than if you never moved your body.

However, it is also important to note that some runners may be more prone to certain cardiovascular conditions like myocardial fibrosis and arrhythmia. Fortunately, this can be easily avoided by properly taking care of your body and allowing it to rest when it needs it.

Strengthens All Muscle Groups

Since running requires some amount of stamina to keep up, it can be considered an endurance exercise.[4] The fatigue that beginning runners may experience is normal due to the increased workload, but your body will grow accustomed to it the more you run.

Although running doesn’t directly make muscles grow, this increase in endurance can enhance the anabolic response of strength training. The increased blood flow promotes more protein synthesis and less degradation, aiding you in muscle-building exercises. It is also important to note that every part of your body is involved with running, so you could technically consider it a full-body exercise.

It is important that you properly fuel your body to support muscle growth. Eat a few servings of high-quality lean protein sources like chicken, ground turkey, salmon, eggs, Greek yogurt, tofu, and beans daily. You also want to provide your body with energy through healthy carbohydrate sources, so stick to nutritious options like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Boosts Confidence And Mood

how long does it take to lose belly fat by running
Running can improve your overall confidence. Photo: Shutterstock

This may not seem relevant to building an ideal physique, but it’s a great benefit to consider nonetheless. Researchers have found that moderate running promotes improved cognition and mood.[5] Compared to the control group that didn’t run, the runners in this study were found to have enhanced arousal and even pleasure due to the body constantly being active. 

In other words, physical exercise can improve your physical health while giving you a mental detox, making it especially beneficial to those with mood disorders like major depressive disorder.

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Tips On How To Run Efficiently

It is extremely important to stay safe and listen to your body. Never try to run when you know your body won’t be able to take it; overdoing it can make you more susceptible to certain injuries,[6] especially in the foot and ankle bones. Running too much can also increase your risk of developing a cardiovascular disorder due to the excess workload that your heart may not be able to handle.

When first getting started, set either a distance or time goal for how far you run. Start small and slowly increase your goal every week, typically by 10% or less. 

Like with all forms of exercises, follow general workout principles. Do light warmups before you start running to increase your range of motion, and do light cooldown exercises after you finish running to expedite muscle recovery. Consistency is also key; try to run the same number of times each week — three or four days a week is ideal here — and on the same days of the week, if possible.

Research shows you can get more out of running when paired with a targeted weight-loss diet.[7] It is also best to cut back on unhealthy eating habits and conform to the diet as best as you can. Of course, you can still be creative with what you eat if it fits within your selected diet.


Running is scientifically proven to be one of the best ways to achieve a flat stomach, among many other long-term health benefits. With how simple it is, there is no reason not to incorporate it into your workout or daily routine. You’ll eventually get the results you want as long as you do it consistently and with enough intensity.

Keep in mind that everyone’s body composition is different from one another. No matter how much or how fast you run, your progress may come along differently than someone else. 

Even so, you must still remain realistic about progress. Simply running on its own won’t be enough to burn away stubborn belly fat in less than a month, so it’s best to give up on that idea now. It is also a great idea to combine running with a healthy diet and adequate rest to get the best results. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does running burn belly fat and love handles?

Yes. Running increases heart rate and can eventually burn fat in your abdominal area.

How long should I run to lose stomach fat?

Ideally, you should aim for around 30 minutes daily, three to five days a week. Any more than that can result in overtraining and injuries.

Does running burn belly fat fast?

Running can burn belly fat, but not as quickly as you would like. This fat is often so stubborn that it may take several months of consistent running for the desired amount to be burned away.

How long does running take to get a flat stomach?

As long as you maintain a consistent running schedule, you should start seeing results after two to three months and then get your desired results several months after that. 

Can running 30 minutes a day help lose belly fat?

It is certainly possible. In fact, according to most exercise experts, this is the ideal amount of time you would want to spend running each day when losing belly fat.


  1. Itziar Lamíquiz-Moneo, Rocío Mateo-Gállego, Bea, A.M., B Dehesa-García, Sofía Pérez-Calahorra, Marco-Benedí, V., Lucía Baila-Rueda, Martín Laclaustra, Civeira, F. and Cenarro, A. (2019). Genetic predictors of weight loss in overweight and obese subjects. Scientific Reports, [online] 9(1). doi:
  2. Williams, P.T. (2013). Greater Weight Loss from Running than Walking during a 6.2-yr Prospective Follow-up. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, [online] 45(4), pp.706–713. doi:
  3. McMullen, C., Harrast, M.A. and Baggish, A.L. (2018). Optimal Running Dose and Cardiovascular Risk. Current Sports Medicine Reports, [online] 17(6), pp.192–198. doi:
  4. Zuzanna Kazior, Willis, S.J., Moberg, M., Apró, W., José A. L. Calbet, Holmberg, H. and Blomstrand, E. (2016). Endurance Exercise Enhances the Effect of Strength Training on Muscle Fiber Size and Protein Expression of Akt and mTOR. PLOS ONE, [online] 11(2), pp.e0149082–e0149082. doi:
  5. Chorphaka Damrongthai, Ryuta Kuwamizu, Kazuya Suwabe, Ochi, G., Yamazaki, Y., Takemune Fukuie, Adachi, K., Yassa, M.A., Worachat Churdchomjan and Soya, H. (2021). Benefit of human moderate running boosting mood and executive function coinciding with bilateral prefrontal activation. Scientific Reports, [online] 11(1). doi:
  6. Kakouris, N., Numan Yener and Fong, D. (2021). A systematic review of running-related musculoskeletal injuries in runners. Journal of Sport and Health Science, [online] 10(5), pp.513–522. doi:
  7. Nielsen (2016). Does running with or without diet changes reduce fat mass in novice runners? A 1-year prospective study. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, [online] 56(1-2). Available at:

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