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For those of us whose resolution is to get more exercise, running is a popular option. But is there any difference between treadmill running and outdoor running? Which one is better for our bodies? We’ve tried pounding the pavement and toiling the treadmill to figure out an answer for you. 

As a sport, running has a lot of passionate enthusiasts and fans. Of course, the debate of treadmill running vs outside running will have heated arguments coming from both sides. Both their advocates share one thing in common – their love for running. Nevertheless, a lot of outdoor runners cannot stand running in place with no change in scenery whereas treadmill runners thrive in a controlled environment. It is, however, great that both have some great benefits that people can reap. 

We’re here to list out the good, bad, and ugly of both –treadmill running and outdoor running. We have left it up to you to decide which one suits you better. 

Treadmill Running – is it as Good as it is Made Out to be?

A lot of runners have a love-hate relationship with treadmills. We’re here to try and convince you as to why you need to be running on that treadmill. For those of you who do not know what a treadmill is, it is a machine with a rotating belt. The speed and incline of that belt can be controlled to suit your routine. It is available in all gyms. You could also invest in one if you think it is necessary. 

Treadmill Running
Treadmill Running

Courtesy: Runtastic

Why Should you Run on a Treadmill? 

  • A treadmill can hold you accountable for your goals and your training plan. If you have incremental weather or other conditions where you can’t go outside and run, your treadmill will still be there, not allowing you to excuse yourself from training.
  • Along similar lines, treadmill running is much more accessible than outdoor running is. It doesn’t matter what time of the day or what month of the year; a treadmill will always let you work out without fail. If you love exercising at night but feel unsafe doing so, the treadmill will be your best friend.
  • A treadmill is shock absorbing. It is a lot less impactful than if you were to go out and run on the road. This makes it a great rehabilitative tool because you feel lighter when you run on the treadmill. You have more bounce and balance which translates into less impact on your ankle, knee, and hip joints.
  • You can get a great hill training workout at any time by treadmill running. You cannot find hills or slopes for miles and miles outside. However, just increasing your incline setting on the treadmill will do the trick.
  • Treadmill running saves you a lot of planning time. You don’t have to constantly be thinking of where you need to run, how far, how many miles, where you need to be turning, looking at your map, etc. The treadmill takes all that away.

Why Shouldn’t you Run on the Treadmill?

  • The most obvious one is that you miss out on the beautiful and stimulating environment outdoors – the greenery, the bustling crowd, shops, etc. It can become overly monotonous to run in the same place every day of your life.
  • An important con to treadmill running is that it engages lesser muscles in our body in comparison to outdoor running. Our glutes and hamstrings are not as stimulated on the treadmill. This is because, on a treadmill, you will run in the same linear motion with no twists and turns.
  • It is also important to factor in the cost of treadmill running – you can either use it in a gym or buy one of your own. Both are expensive in the sense that a treadmill will cost you thousands of rupees whereas a gym membership is a costly recurring expense to incur every month.

Outdoor Running – Is it Worth the Hype?

Running is not only great for your health but is also extremely beneficial to your mind and soul. It can be tough to keep up with the habit of running but once you get the hang of it, you’ll come to love running. You can run on the sidewalk, a path, a trail, or a hike-way. 

Why Should you Run Outside?

  1. Running outside is like a breath of fresh air. It is way more enjoyable than running on a treadmill as you get to experience the outside world.
  2. The variety in routes, people, and things to see will only motivate you to get up and keep running every day.
  3. It reduces the risk of depression, reduces your blood pressure, and increases your stamina.
  4. The different kinds of paths you encounter will help you engage different muscles in your body to overcome the obstacles in your path.
  5. Running on harder and more solid surfaces will increase the strength of your bones and muscles therein.

Why Shouldn’t you Run Outside?

  • There are a lot of considerations to factor in before you start running outside – the weather, the route to take, the kind of obstacles you might face, the timing, the level of safety, etc.
  • If you live in areas with extreme weather – hot or cold, you will run a risk of dehydrating yourself. You need the proper gear to combat weather problems.
  • Running while it is dark outside is a big no which might be inconvenient for people working or otherwise occupied during the day.
  • It might increase your exposure to nature, but if you’re someone with severe allergies like dust or pollen, this might not be your cup of tea.

These are the pros and cons of treadmill running and running outdoors. For a conclusion to the debate of treadmill running vs outside running, well, it is up to you. We just wanted to ensure you were fully equipped with all that you need to make the right choice for the kind of life you live. 

Also read- Treadmill Vs The Outdoors