Running on a Treadmill Versus Running Outside

Running offers a full-body workout that increases your cardiovascular fitness and overall health. In the running world, there are two main ways to get a running workout: running on a treadmill versus running outside. So, which one should you pick?

Pros of Running Outside

When running outside, you work a wider range of muscles, especially when trail running. As you propel your body up small hills, jump over streams, and dodge other runners and bikers, you activate your glutes, abs, calves, arms, and more.
In addition, running on tough pavement can increase your bone density (for those without existing joint problems). According to Dr. Nelms from the University of Vermont, “Runners also tend to have increased bone density compared to less active people.” Asphalt and concrete don’t absorb force the way a treadmill does, though, meaning that your body takes a hit every time your feet contact the ground.
Running outside can also boost your mood, improve your blood circulation, and more. The top pros of running outside include:
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower risk of depression
  • Activation of multiple muscle groups
  • Build bone density

Cons of Running Outside

When it comes to running, consistency is essential. But, depending on where you live, running outside may not be an option for several months out of the year.
For example, individuals living in Arizona can’t run outside during the summer months unless they choose to run early in the morning or late at night due to excess heat. However, running in the dark can increase your risk of injury and is dangerous in some areas.
On the other hand, individuals who choose to run outside during winter risk slipping on ice. Special gear might be required, too, which comes at an extra cost. So, those who live in extreme climates may not be able to run during several months of the year.
Some of the other cons of running outside include:
  • Unpredictable surfaces increase the risk of injury
  • Extreme weather may interfere with safe running
  • Hard surfaces may increase joint pain

Pros of Running on a Treadmill

Treadmills are predictable. They allow runners to determine the exact length, intensity, and pace of their workouts. In addition, running inside means that the runner doesn’t have to face extreme weather conditions.
During the summer months, runners can run inside with the air conditioning. Likewise, during the winter months, runners can keep up their same pattern without worrying about interruptions to their schedules.
Treadmills also absorb some of the impacts of each step, making it easier on the joints. For those with a history of joint pain, treadmill workouts are the better option. Those looking for no-impact cardio workouts can also choose to use an elliptical machine.
Many new treadmills, such as Peloton, come with digital screens to mimic running through forests, beach dunes, and other stress-relieving sceneries. Other treadmills offer access to digital trainers who encourage and push you through the workout.
In short, the pros of running on a treadmill include:
  • Ability to control every aspect of your run, including climate
  • Decreases impact on joints
  • Helps runners keep consistent schedules
  • Ability to run safely at night

Cons of Running on a Treadmill

The main complaint from those who use treadmills is that treadmill workouts can be monotonous. While running outside provides a constant change of scenery and sounds, running inside can feel like you’re doing the same thing day after day.
In addition, running on a treadmill may exercise fewer muscle groups. Since you don’t have to make turns, jump around obstacles, or maneuver during your run, treadmills won’t target additional muscle groups.
Those who prefer running on a treadmill will also have to either purchase a treadmill or sign up for a gym membership.
The cons of running on a treadmill versus outside include:
  • Can become boring
  • Exercises fewer muscle groups
  • Costs money

When to Run on a Treadmill Versus Outside

The verdict of whether you should run on a treadmill or run outside is clear: whichever you prefer. The pros and cons of both options are fairly even, making your personal preference the most important factor. If you like running outside, then run outside. On the other hand, if you prefer running on a treadmill, then run on a treadmill.
When adding an exercise routine to your schedule, focus on consistency. So, pick whichever option helps you maintain your workout routine.

How to Protect Your Exercise Equipment from Damage

Running on a treadmill is one of the best ways to stay fit, increase cardiovascular health, and lose weight. However, like any piece of exercise equipment, it’s vulnerable to damage. The running belt can slip off the track, electronics in the display can malfunction, and the damage to the internal mechanics can lead to erratic speed settings.
Luckily, Upsie offers an easy way for fitness enthusiasts to protect their treadmills and other exercise equipment. Upsie’s extended warranties for fitness equipment covers treadmills, stationary bikes, and rowing machines from brands like NordicTrack, Peloton, and more.
With Upsie, customers gain access to:
  • 24/7 claims service
  • Unlimited claims up to the purchase price of equipment
  • No deductibles or service fees
  • In-home repairs and parts coverage
In addition, Upsie’s warranties cost up to 70 percent less compared to warranties from competitors. For the best protection and the best price, choose Upsie.

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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.