What are the advantages of the treadmill vs outdoor running, and should you spend the money on such an expensive piece of equipment when you can go outside and exercise for free? After weighing the pros and the cons of health considerations, you’ll likely conclude that treadmills offer all the same calorie burning and weight loss benefits of exercising outdoors. But can even the best cardio workout on a treadmill compare to the tangibles you can get outside, such as wind resistance and varied terrain?
Here are some arguments to help you determine which is right for you in the treadmill vs road running debate.
Cons of the Treadmill vs Outdoor Running
Let’s look at some of the things considered to be drawbacks with treadmill vs road running:
- The first downside is obvious and that is cost. A good runner’s machine starts at about $1,500 and goes up to around $4,000. In addition to that, there are issues of maintenance and repairs. With road running, all you need is to lace up a pair of running shoes and you’re out the door.
- Boredom with indoor running is also a major complaint. As much as we try to stay occupied with TVs, iPods, magazines, even looking out the window, running on a treadmill is just dull, dull, dull for a lot of people.
- Treadmills have huge footprints and take up a lot of space in a room. Even a foldaway machine will take up a lot of closet space.
- Unless you can wheel your treadmill out on the patio and plug it in outside, you miss out on fresh air and sunshine.
- Some people develop bad habits when running on treadmills. An improper running gait becomes more apparent when they move outside after a season of indoor running. You don’t want to develop a bouncy, upright form with short strides – the result of having no wind resistance and trying to avoid striking the machine’s plastic motor covering with the front of your foot.
- Distraction isn’t often mentioned as a con of treadmill vs outdoor running but it should be. By this we mean that getting away from phones, TV, and family members allows you to have time to mull your thoughts. It’s known as the distraction hypothesis which observes that everyday stresses can be alleviated by not just the effects of exercise itself but by the psychological well-being of doing the exercises in new surroundings.
Pros of the Treadmill vs Road Running
Next we’ll take a look at some of the benefits of moving indoors:
- Indoor running means that you never have to deal with weather including wind, rain, and snow, nor deal with high heat and humidity.
- With the comfort of a treadmill in your own home, you have the advantages of safety and privacy. Running near cars isn’t a factor and you do not have to wait to cross any busy intersections. For those people who don’t like the idea of exercising in public, a home treadmill affords them the opportunity to workout alone.
- Convenience is also a top consideration in using a treadmill vs road running. You don’t have to fear running after dark or waiting for a storm to clear. Just flip on the machine and run whenever you like.
- A treadmill offers better shock absorption, resulting in less stress on the feet, over running on hard asphalt and concrete surfaces. Decks and belts are especially designed with extraordinary cushioning for runners and walkers who put in a lot of miles every week.
- Wind resistance correction is something you would expect to be listed in the “Cons” column, but it’s put here to show you that you can overcome a lack of wind resistance on a machine. By elevating the treadmill to a one percent incline you will make your workout more equal to what you would experience if you ran outside where air resistance increases your workload up to ten percent depending on your speed.
Some Tips for Indoor/Outdoor Running
The best solution to the argument of treadmill vs outdoor running is to do a combination of both. Moving your training outside during warmer weather is a great distraction and good for your soul. Take advantage of the variety of outdoor terrain such as road running, paths, and cross country. Roads and sidewalks are such hard surfaces they can cause stress injuries so if you have the choice to run on softer paths and trails, take it.
Keep in mind when you do move outdoors, that good running form is necessary no matter where you train. The most important thing to remember when weighing treadmill vs outdoor running is that you must actively pursue the proper stance and keep to this perfect form to prevent injuries. You should use the exact same well-formed running gait in both indoor and outdoor running. Bad habits are hard to break so always train hard, but train right.
About the Author:
Kevin Urban is the editor at http://www.TreadmillTalk.com – one of the top sites on the web to start your search for the best treadmill in your price range.
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