Ever since machines made their way into the gym there has been an on-going debate as to which type of workout is better for sculpting the body and losing weight; free weights or machine weights? The same debate spills over to cardiovascular exercise as well; indoor machines or outdoor scenery? One of the most frequently asked questions related to this is: Are there any differences between running on a treadmill or running around a track outdoors? Which is better?
Well, the answer to the first question is “Yes” there are a lot of differences between running indoors on a treadmill versus running outdoors. For the second question, people must understand that running indoors on a treadmill or outdoors on pavement really comes down to the person’s preference on any given day.
It’s not really important where the exercise is being performed as long as the exercise is being performed, and as long as the person is giving his/her best effort. In the end that is what counts the most. Calories and pounds will be shed regardless of where the exercise is done, on what surface or what terrain.
Let me clarify what the differences are between treadmill running and outdoor running. The key differences are in the environment in which the exercise is being performed. Sure the atmosphere, scenery and maybe even company are different but the most important difference between running on a treadmill and outdoor running is the way it affects the body and its muscle areas.
A lot of people would argue that running on a treadmill is a relatively passive exercise in comparison to running outdoors. This is because by running on a treadmill the runner is simply trying to keep up with speed of the treadmill itself. This is true in some cases because a lot of treadmill users out there just go with the motion of keeping up with the treadmill belt, holding on to the support bars and not really giving much of an effort. In contrast, however, by running outdoors the runner has to propel him/herself forward in order to complete the run.
Running outdoors also requires the runner to use more muscles, especially the lower body muscles, making outdoor running much more demanding on the body. This will in the end make the body stronger, fitter and much more defined.
However, there are advantages to both methods; for example: running on a treadmill allows the runner to dictate the pace of the run as well as the angle of the incline or decline of the slope. With a flat and even surface area, running on a treadmill is safer and far less demanding on the joints. Therefore it is preferred by people who have knee, leg and back problems.
Running indoors on a treadmill also takes the outside elements in question such as wind, sun, rain, traffic, pollution, bugs, and most of all the uneven surfaces which cause of a lot of unnecessary accidents. For example, when running outside you are more likely to get tripped up or run into a hole.
Running on a treadmill also provides other advantages and amenities that are important to people such as the cup or water bottle holder, the MP3 player holder, support bars, calorie counter, mileage counter and a choice of terrain and speed, but most importantly a timer. Some people try harder when they know how much time they have left to run instead of how far they have left to run.
Furthermore, it is also more advantageous for runners to be able to stop anytime for a drink of water or for a washroom break. It really is nice to know that these amenities are just around the corner.
When running on a treadmill, whether it’s at home or at the gym, the runner can easily multitask. Nowadays, almost every gym in North America is equipped with either a television set or numerous magazine selections right in front of the treadmill area. Runners can now put in their gym time without missing their favorite shows or catch up with the news and other current events.
Studies actually show that distractions such as televisions, newspapers or magazines in the gym area actually help runners complete their runs much more frequently than runners who have nothing to focus on other than the surrounding gym area. These are just some of the advantages that treadmill companies and gym owners are trying to market to people out there. Running indoors on a treadmill is deemed much more convenient and much more advantageous in a time challenge society.
So, while it seems like owning a treadmill is the way to go if you are runner, there are also advantages into hitting the open road for a good run. While some people choose to avoid and brave the elements, some actually welcome it. Running outdoors offers a different kind of advantage: the scenery is always changing along with the terrain, and for a lot of runners, these changing conditions are the fun part of running outdoors. There is nothing like getting up early in the morning for run to catch the sunrise, or to go for a late run and watch the sunset.
For some people, running outdoors is as close to being with nature and experiencing the surrounding environment as they will ever come in their every day lives. However, one of the major advantages of outdoor running is that people can run together as a group or as individuals. People run outdoors to escape and get away from the daily stresses of life and for some running together on an open road is the ultimate escape, where no one can bother you with telephones or other distractions.
Whatever your preference, running is the perfect way to get into great cardiovascular shape and lose weight. Choose the treadmill for consistency, safety and all of the benefits that come from working out indoors. Run outdoors with a partner while you take in the scenery while changing your route every day. Or combine the two and reap the benefits of both. However you choose to run you’ll feel great, look great and have something to look forward to, day in and day out.