A quick guide to running outdoors vs. on the treadmill

When running outdoors is not an option, is it worth running on the treadmill instead? Here’s what you need to know.

Many runners agree: you can’t beat that invigorating feeling of running outside in the fresh air. But sometimes, the weather or other factors make running outdoors impossible – even for the most devoted athletes. On the other hand, there are those who love the dependability of the treadmill. Whether it’s a necessity or if you’ve always been a fan, the good news is that a treadmill workout can be useful and effective, especially if you keep a few key things in mind.

THE BENEFITS OF OUTDOOR RUNNING

Running outside has a slight edge over a treadmill workout. The arguments for outdoor running are hard to beat:

  • It is psychologically uplifting. Spending time outside has a proven mood-boosting effect (which is also very motivating).
  • It stimulates a variety of muscles and is more challenging. You can run both uphill and downhill. Running on varied terrain builds more muscle and develops balance and coordination.
  • It burns more calories due to wind resistance (at least compared to running on treadmills without an incline. More on this below.)

TREADMILLS HAVE ADVANTAGES, TOO

While outdoor running has a lot to offer, there are also reasons to opt for a treadmill workout. Treadmill running is beneficial because:

  • The weather can’t stop you.
  • You can choose from different programs and track your progress.
  • There is less impact on your joints.

HOW TO GET A GREAT TREADMILL WORKOUT

When using the treadmill, here’s how to ensure you get a quality workout:

  • Set the incline to at least 1%. This helps to mimic the conditions outdoors so you can burn more calories.
  • Think about speed. Whether running inside or outside, effectiveness comes down to a simple fact: the harder you work, the more calories you burn.
  • Make treadmills your speed-training tool. Think of treadmills as a convenient way to focus on speed training intervals. Experiment with the preset options or try out different speeds and inclines. Above all, challenge yourself.

Running has so many health benefits, the main thing is to have a running training plan that motivates you. Cultivating both exercise habits – treadmill and outdoor running – will give you the ultimate in flexibility, variety, and long-term fitness benefits.

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