Many people wonder which is better between treadmill or outdoor running; however, this question has no definite answer. Some runners (or walking enthusiasts) greatly crave the outdoors while many others enjoy the convenience of the treadmill. So, is there really any real difference between treadmill or outdoor running? What’s the difference between these two seemingly similar and yet incredibly different exercise machines?
The obvious difference between the two exercise machines is that the treadmill can be used inside while outdoor running is usually done outside in the sand or on a trail. This means that the main difference between them is the perceived exertion factor between the two exercises. With a treadmill, the perceived exertion is significantly less than that of outdoor running; hence, many would say that it’s safer to run outdoors. However, there is still a difference between the two; in the treadmill, the perceived exertion (the number of calories expended) is much higher than that of running outdoors. Hence, there is still a big difference between the two.
One of the biggest disadvantages of using a treadmill when compared to running outdoors is the level of perceived exertion (or perceived speed) that is required from the user. When doing workouts indoors, the individual may be at a lower physical fitness than when doing workouts outdoors. This is due to the fact that the environment (like road and weather) may inhibit the perceived exertion of the individual. Whereas when you are running on a treadmill, you can go outdoors and experience the fresh air and the strenuous environment at the same time.
The second major disadvantage of treadmill running is the time factor. Because the incline is one that a lot of individuals are not comfortable with, many people tend to avoid incline treadmill running and hence avoid it altogether. But it doesn’t mean that you should avoid using a treadmill running altogether. There are a number of pros and cons of treadmill running that outweigh the cons, as noted in the pros and cons section below.
The treadmill has some advantages as well, though. For one, it allows for an even workout regardless of how unfit the person is. Because the person is moving at relatively the same pace, it helps build the stamina of the person and therefore is good for building up endurance. And because it is stationary, the individual can do other things like reading or watching TV while working out-this is good for the mental health of an individual.
Treadmill running is very beneficial for increasing overall cardiovascular fitness and it can also develop leg muscles, which is ideal for sports like tennis. It also helps develop balance and body coordination, which is ideal for divers and swimmers. Also, it has been noted that people who run outdoors or who are not used to running indoors, notice that their calf muscles seem to cramp after a few days of training. This is because their calf muscles are not accustomed to being stiff for long periods of time. But once they start training their calf muscles to get accustomed to the stiffer surface, thus allowing them to perform better on the uphill terrain that they will be facing in the upcoming weeks.
Lastly, another benefit of treadmill running is that it provides a welcome change from the monotony that can be experienced while running outdoors on concrete, asphalt, or grass. Due to the nature of the terrain, when one runs outdoors, the runner is exposed to the sun’s glare. When running indoors on turf or carpet, the same exposure can lead to harmful health problems. This is why running outdoors on a treadmill allows you to reap all the benefits that the indoor varieties can give and at a fraction of the cost.