Is It Better to Run On a Treadmill or Outside?

One major question elicits many different opinions among runners: Which is better, running on a treadmill or running outside?
Pros of treadmill running

One of the biggest advantages of using a treadmill is its accessibility. Since most treadmills are indoors, you can use it day or night and in any climate. This can make running more accessible for those who exercise at night or live in places with ever-changing weather.
Most advocates of treadmill running enjoy the various functions a treadmill can offer, such as precise control of their pace, incline, and intervals.
This is also helpful for those returning from an injury, as they can progress slowly on a treadmill in a more controlled environment.
For example, running outside may pose a greater risk to someone returning from an ankle injury because of factors like uneven ground and slippery sidewalks.
Finally, running on a treadmill may be better for your joints since most treadmills have cushioned belts to absorb some of the impact. In contrast, hard ground, especially sidewalks and roads, will not.

Cons of treadmill running
Unlike outdoor running, during which you can be surrounded by forests or beautiful greenery, indoor treadmill running involves staying in a fixed place where the treadmill is located. Some say this can become boring over-time.
Additionally, treadmill running requires fewer muscle groups, such as the glutes and hamstrings, compared with outdoor running. That’s because when you run on a treadmill, you tend to run in a consistent linear motion with the treadmill belt propelling you forward.
A simple solution to this is to incorporate resistance training into your fitness routine a few times per week. This can help you work the muscle-groups that treadmill training may miss.

Pros of Outdoor running
Most runners find outdoor running far more enjoyable than treadmill running due to the changing scenery, fresh air, challenge of uneven ground, and unlimited options for running routes.
The increased variety can increase a person’s motivation to continue exercising.
Though both treadmill and outdoor running bring health benefits, such as lower blood pressure, greater endurance, and lower risk of depression, outdoor running may give additional benefits simply by helping you feel more connected to nature.
Additionally, the various environments and barriers you may encounter while outdoor running can help you activate other muscle-groups and develop better balance. Actions may include dodging other people on the trail, jumping over puddles, or running up hills.

Furthermore, research shows running outdoors can build stronger bones since you’re running on harder-surfaces. This allows for greater gravitational force and stress on the bones, which is important for bone metabolism.

Cons of outdoor running
It’s best to run outdoors in dry, moderately warm temperatures. Meanwhile, it’s less ideal and riskier in the rain, snow, and extremely cold or hot temperatures.

Which is better for weight-loss?
The best exercise for weight loss is exercise that you enjoy.
Whether you prefer treadmill or outdoor running, regular aerobic exercise like running will burn calories to achieve a calorie deficit.

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