Running on a treadmill versus running outside

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Every runner has a preference. Some runners can’t stand the monotony of the treadmill while others can’t pick up a pace without manual controls in front of them (they just love the accuracy of a structured workout).

Though none of the categories is wrong, but both the types have their pros and cons and each type can help make you stronger and faster in its own way. Here is an elaborate explanation of the pros and cons of both running inside and running outside.

Benefits of running outside
For many runners, a treadmill can never beat the appeal of hitting the road on a gorgeous day. It is also said that when you run outside, you expend more energy than you would on a machine. This happens because you get more muscle activation outside as you do not have to run in a linear pattern. According to the University of Missouri, running outside is also good for your bones, even more than resistance training.

When you run on a stiffer surface like concrete, it provides more ground reaction forces, which reinforces your bones more than a treadmill.

Treadmills, on the other hand, are designed to absorb ground reaction forces, which saves your joint from the impact associated with running. So, if you are an outside runner, you have to be smart about strength training your legs. Runners who run outside and do not strength train their legs lack the requisite strength in their legs required to run outside.

When you should choose running outside
It’s never a bad idea to run outside, but you must choose to do it if you are training for a race or a marathon. Though you can decline or incline the treadmill, it’s hard to match the undulating gradients of the road.

Apart from these physical benefits, there are some other health benefits of running outside. Like when you let the sun shine down on your skin, it provides you with a good amount of vitamin D. It also gives you a chance to inhale the fresh air, which is great for your overall health. Running outside leads to a bigger boost in energy, results in less tension, depression and anger as compared to running on a treadmill.

Benefits of running on a treadmill
It’s not all the time that you can run outside and that’s when you need a treadmill. Training on a treadmill provides you with a completely controlled environment. You have the option to accurately control the pace, interval, incline and recovery. Also, achieving your targets of running at a certain speed can only be accomplished when you are forced to run on a belt under your feet.

When you start running outside after you have a good practice of running on a treadmill, it makes easier for you to maintain your pace. Running on a treadmill makes it easy for people to train when the weather outside is not great.

The oxygen used by your body when you run outside or run inside is also the same. So, while running outside may feel harder, what’s going on inside the body is similar.

Running on a treadmill goes easier on your joints and keeps them healthier for longer. Outside runners usually deal with more injuries as compared to people who run inside. The biggest advantage of running inside is that you can do it whenever you want to. Rain or sun are no constraints for you.

When to choose to run on a treadmill
If you want to maintain your fitness routine by doing a few miles of cardio every day, treadmill is a great option for you. If you are an outside runner, you can choose to run inside when it’s dangerous to run outside. Not just weather, running alone in dark, sharp turns and blind spots for cars can be difficult to be deal with. If you are training for a race, running on a treadmill can be great in providing you with a structured speed workout.

Running inside can be great for people who have come back from injury. Also, if you are a beginner and not ready to run on a concrete surface, running on a treadmill is definitely the best option for you.

Verdict
There are pros and cons of both running inside and running outside. If you are running only for cardiovascular benefits, you can choose to run on a treadmill. But if you are preparing for a race you will be more benefited by running outside.

Figure out what works the best for you and try to include that in your routine as much as possible.

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