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Running Indoors or Out



There is no question in regards to the intense workout running provides, nor the amazing health benefits that come as a result to this type of exercise. There is, however, a question pertaining to whether one should choose running on a treadmill or running outdoors. The truth is; there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of running. Whereas many would respond that it is solely up to the individual’s preference of treadmill versus the free range running outside, that answer is simply the blanket to cover the many comparable aspects between the two.

To start with, there are a few factors that actually affect one’s workout. Running outside is a bit tougher on the body because one must exert extra energy to actually propel himself forward. This is contrary to the functionality of a treadmill where the belt actually aids in moving one’s legs backwards in order to allow the body to execute the motion of pulling them forward again. Running in place in this sense may be a slight bit easier to perform. In addition, there is no wind resistance when running on a treadmill. Running outdoors includes wind resistance, along with uneven terrain. This naturally demands that the body slightly alter its momentum and stride in order to respond to such variables. Contrary to the uneven terrain one encounters when running outdoors; the treadmill provides an absolutely smooth surface, unchanging in texture, and therefore easier to tread on. The smooth surface of a treadmill, which also happens to provide a bit of shock absorption, is less detrimental on joints, allowing the body to endure the workout easier. This is an important aspect to consider; especially for those who are at a higher risk of injury, with medical conditions, or are nursing previous injuries. The shock absorption and lessened impact is particularly easier on knees, hips, and ankles.

Another factor to consider when determining whether treadmills or outdoors is right for your running needs is the fact that treadmills have been known to be improperly calibrated. Many indoor runners acknowledge that they seem to take twice as long to run 2/3 the distance when they take their trek outside. Often times, this is because the treadmills miscalculate the distance, speed, and time one runs. Unfortunately, this can really mislead someone who believes they are running at a certain caliber, in particularly one who is training for a marathon or other event.

Then there is the whole boredom issue. Outdoor running provides an open space with fresh air, and plenty of scenery and other things to enjoy watching. This typically makes time fly, and the run ultimately easier. Outdoor running is also not limited to stationary exercise, allowing one to choose whatever route he may wish, deviating from said path at any given time should he so choose. Running on a treadmill confines the runner to a nearly immobile state, other than the actual activity of moving his legs back and forth. This often makes running feel much more tedious, plus it allows an anxious running to stare at an often seemingly slow-going process. On the other hand, the treadmill allows for much more control of one’s pace, distance, and time spent. It also provides a stationary place to workout in the safety of a gym or home. This aspect comes as a relief for many runners who prefer to exercise at night, or away from inclement weather.

When weighing the pros and cons of running either indoors on a treadmill or outdoors, one must consider his own body, his own needs, and ultimately what he wants to achieve out of running. One of the first considerations should be whether higher impact is ideal, or if it is a healthier, physically beneficial choice to stick with the lower impact of a treadmill. Another aspect to consider is whether one is capable of pushing himself through monotony, or if the outside surroundings are necessary to keep the runner occupied during exercise. Also, if a runner’s intent is to train for an outside event or to simply achieve a certain long distance, this may change his running preference. He must consider whether he will benefit more from a possibly inaccurately calibrated, yet more controlled setting, which may ultimately aid in achieving that desired number; or if running outside is more ideal, especially when training for an outside event, in order to achieve the most realistic likeness. Either way, though it is up to every individual, each advantage is paired with a disadvantage somewhere in the mix. Truth be told, running is running, and a phenomenal exercise that should always be available. On nice days, it is great to go for a run while enjoying the fresh air. It is equally as great to find the convenience of a treadmill in order to continue that workout regimen. All in all, running, no matter where you do it, is great for you!