There is a perpetual raging debate over treadmill vs running outside. In outdoor running, you can enhance your stability by navigating the ever-changing landscape and environment. Whereas, a treadmill allows you to explore and sustain the performance and speed levels which might be lacking in outdoor running.
However, there is no right or wrong answer to settle the debate. Both the methods have their relative advantages and disadvantages. There is no universal solution as to which method is the best. In fact, the best option is the one that suits to your individual goals and training requirement!! Let us see the breakdown of running on a treadmill vs running outside!!
Running on the Treadmill
Today, life is so hectic that it becomes very difficult for many people to find right time to go outside for jogging and running. Under the circumstance, treadmill is gaining popularity as a cardiovascular home gym equipment. Because it offers many advantages, more than 50 million Americans are using treadmills every year according to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) of the U.S. and the use has increased by 40% from the year 2000.
When to Run on Treadmill:
Advantages of Running on a Treadmill:
1. There are no Weather and Temperature Constraints
For running on a treadmill, weather is not a hindrance to continue the exercise. Rough weather will not create any discomfort in such case. When there is high temperature outside, you will face the inconveniences like heat exhaustion and dehydration for the workout there.
On the contrary, if it is too cold outside, running on the road will be very slippery and risky for the intensive level of snow and ice. However, you can easily throw away the effects of bad weather by jogging, running, and working out indoor if you have a treadmill at home.
Having this home gym equipment will free you from the need of over or under-dressing and other protective gears that are pre-requisites for outdoor exercise.
2. You can Stimulate Race Conditions
When you need to prepare yourself for participating in a hilly marathon, treadmill is the right gear you can entrust. Inclining the surface of the treadmill to a particular level will give you the taste of same extensive running on a hilly area. This device usually offers some pre-set exercise guidelines and you can also customize the setting of the race conditions according to your requirement.
3. You can Control your Pace
You know that for various reasons beyond control, it is often challenging to maintain the pace consistently while running outside. If you have treadmill, you shouldn’t have to worry over the issue!!
Treadmill workout offers a nice solution in the case of coming back from injury and it can digitally track your performance, pace, and mileage. Stopping the pace completely and increasing it when required are absolutely under your domain of control.
One of the biggest advantages a home treadmill offers is super convenience of use. You can use it according to your time irrespective of day or night. Bad weather is no more an excuse for sticking to the workout plan. Paying attention to your little kid is also very easy while doing exercise on the treadmill.
5. You can do Multi-Tasking
Treadmill gives you the opportunity of multi-tasking. You can listen to your favorite track and watch the records of your heart rate, blood pressure, hydration level, pace, and other workout indicators simultaneously. Also you can watch TV or go through a magazine while jogging on the treadmill at home.
6. Surface is Supportive for the Joints
Treadmill surfaces have in-built shock absorption system that an outdoor exercise doesn’t provide. For this reason, treadmills are great tools for reducing the stress on knees and ankles. Even when you set the treadmill at a higher incline position, you will not feel the pressure on your joints. Surface of treadmill is highly supportive for your endurance and strength.
7. Solo Effort Any Time
You can avoid the dangers of running outside by doing workouts indoor on a treadmill. Treadmill gives you the freedom of setting your own time and exercise plan without the help of a group or running partner.
8. Workout is Tracked
A treadmill can record all the running statistics like distance, speed, calories burnt etc. This device is technologically so sound today that it is easily synced with smartwatch and Fitbit to record and read the numbers accurately.
You can now see your progress and set the next milestone to achieve. Treadmill is a great motivating tool for new and injured runners who are planning to come back to the track.
Disadvantages of Running on a Treadmill:
1. Chance of Injury
Although treadmill is a safe option for running, jogging, and workout because of the automatic control mechanisms, you will get astonished to know the statistics of yearly estimated injury caused by treadmill in the US. It is more than 24,000!! Yes, you have rightly heard the figure!! People who push too hard or run too fast on the treadmill tend to fall into injuries. Very common treadmill-related injuries are falls, head injuries, cardiovascular events, and strains.
2. No Option of Going Downhill
Treadmills have upward incline options that enable you to exercise extensively and hardly. However, in most cases, this tool lacks the downward inclines for which you can’t expect to develop the anterior tibialis muscles of the legs.
3. No Option of Making Turns
A big disadvantage of treadmill is that you can’t enhance your lateral agility since this machine has no turning option.
To some running enthusiasts, treadmill stands for monotony and some un-affectionately call it a dread-mill. Although, modern treadmills have in-built music systems and many other facilities, running on this machine can sometimes be tedious if you do workout on it for long time.
5. Less Energy Burnt
There is a widespread claim that a treadmill can’t burn more energy of the runners. Even if you increase the incline by minimum 1%, you may not get the expected result. However, in case of running outside, a runner has to face and withstand the obstacles, wind resistance, and many other things for which he/she can propel the speed that leads to high energy burning.
6. Fewer Health Boosts
Although running on treadmill gives the opportunity of enjoying more freedom, it is not that great for boosting the mental health. Because indoor running will keep you aloof from fresh air and sunlight for which you may fall in the loop of anxiety and depression.
Jogging outdoor is a widely accepted and popular option of running on the track, trail, or pavement. If you are a professional runner on road or trail, you can truly train yourself by running outside.
When to run outside
Advantages of running outside:
1. No Gym Membership Required
When you run outside, you don’t require to get membership in a gym and wait until a machine is free for exercising. It offers more independence by reducing the absolute dependence on a treadmill for workout and jogging.
2. Simultaneous Training and Traveling
Running outside opens the avenue of exploring and visiting new places. You can also train other running newbies and enthusiasts.
3. Sport-specific Training
Outdoor running helps conditioning the joints and muscles since you need to run on different terrains. It opens the path of adopting yourself in different weather conditions. When you run outside, you know the timing for extra effort in the face of obstacles and elevations.
4. Enjoy Nature and Fresh Air
If you want to enjoy nature and breathe fresh air while exercising, only running outside will give you the opportunity.
By setting the distance goal and achieving that goal will give you the feeling of accomplishment and motivation. If you are still demotivated after achieving the goal, continue running from the destination point towards home.
6. Builds the Bones
Running is a great exercise for lessening the body weight and has intense level of positive impact on overall soundness of health. When you run outside, it affects the mineral density of bones to make those stronger. It is more impactful than cycling and other structured exercises.
7. Burns more Calorie
For running outside, more calories are burnt for extreme level of engagement of different limbs of the body. Cautioned eyes, ears, and brain demand more energy which comes from the burnt calories.
Disadvantages of Running Outside:
1. Risk of Injury
Due to bumpy road, dark, slippery, and other unknown dangers, you may fall in severe injury while running outside.
2. Hazardous Surroundings
If there is environmental hazards in your area, you better not to run outside.
3. Undesirable Terrain
When the terrain is undesirable, you can’t expect a better outcome from running outside.
Deciding Factors to choose the Right Option
After going through the above part of our article, if you still have confusion on which option to choose for jogging and running, consider the following facts that will help you reaching the right decision.
1. Surrounding Conditions
You must take into consideration the status of local weather, level of safety, and landscape to determine whether to run outside or remain indoor for the workout. If you need hilly areas for practice to participate in marathon to be arranged on a hilly region and you live in a flat area, outdoor running will not help you out. Unfavorable weather and limited comfortable outdoor spaces for running would drive you to stay indoors for the exercise.
2. Level of Fitness
You may start running as a beginner and over years of practice & consistent exercise, your body will get accustomed to take new limits. Ask yourself or the trainer about the fitness level. The answer will help you decide whether you will run outside or continue jogging indoor on a treadmill.
3. Training Goals
Each runner has his training goals. Under the broad goals, there are numerous smaller goals. Some people want to win the running competitions, while some others dream to run faster and many others set goals to run farther. Depending on the training objective, you can decide to run either on a treadmill or run outside.
4. Health Concerns
If you fall in injury in your running career or in case you have some other health concerns, it is clear to you what pace you should after the come-back. Certain locations have some value in improving the fitness and running abilities because of carrying unique conditions. So, look at your health concerns before determining to do workout on treadmill or run outside!!
When your training goal is to maintain cardiovascular fitness, a treadmill will suffice. This machine has all modern facilities including monitoring your pulse rate. By following the readings, you can push hard or soft according to your requirement. However, if you need to train for a racing event, running outside is the brightest option. Although you can maintain your cardio health on a treadmill, experts suggest treadmill workout-running outside ratio as 40:60 for an optimum fitness result.