Decide: Running Outdoors vs The Treadmill

We try to shed some light on the age-old debate of what is better – running outdoors or on a treadmill? Read on.

Running has always been one of the simplest and more effective ways to keep fit. But the debate has always been on ‘where’ to run! We discuss the most important points that should help you make up your mind:

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The Conditions

Treadmill: They are placed indoors either at home or in the gym which negates the extremities of weather. So, be it too hot, too cold or heavy rain, there are no reasons for you to skip your run. Plus, pollution and allergies, which can also make it difficult to step outside, can be avoided.

Outdoors: Running outdoors helps you enjoy nature at its fullest. It’s more challenging and unpredictable, which gives more of a sense of accomplishment. You can also try different routes and the fresh air can do wonders for the body. Plus, it helps in burning more calories than you do on the same distance on a treadmill.

Running Surfaces

Treadmill: The running surface here is the belt which gives a uniform surface to walk/run on and is much softer than outdoor surfaces. There are less chances of one pulling a muscle or damaging the joints on a treadmill. You can also set uphill and downhill modes to get close to a real world feel.

Outdoor: Outdoor surfaces are always different like concrete, asphalt, jogging track etc. and these can be uneven too, with undulating stretches. The outdoors give a more realistic feel of the actual conditions and are great if you are preparing to run for a marathon.

Working The Muscles

Treadmill: Running on a treadmill is much easier on the body as there is no effect of wind, temperature, terrain etc. and setting a one percent gradient will simply mirror the resistance encountered in the real world.

Outdoor: Setting a one percent gradient can help, but the hamstrings are put to work better on an outdoor run. There is a possibility of injuring the hamstring on an outdoor run after being only used to running on a treadmill. In short, nothing works the muscles better than a proper, real world run.

Going by the above points, both running outdoors and on a treadmill have their respective pros and cons. The ideal way would be to run outdoors most of the time and mix it up with some on the treadmill whenever conditions outside are unfavourable.

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