Running Outdoors Vs Treadmills

Running Outdoors | Nava Health
Medically Reviewed
July 29, 2015

Running Outdoors Vs Treadmills

Any veteran runner will tell you that running on a treadmill is not the same as road or trail running. When running on the treadmill, there is no wind resistance, the environment is much more predictable, and the belt helps propel you and keep you at a set pace. You’ll find a treadmill in any gym, and in many homes for that matter, as they have become the dominating aerobic activity of many exercise establishments. So, want to know the difference between Running Outdoors Vs Treadmills?

There are definite benefits and accompanying drawbacks of treadmills. For example, treadmills are much more forgiving than the hard concrete surfaces on which we run outdoors. Because the belt gives a little during each contact with your foot, it acts like a cushion to help cradle the joints. So this is something to keep in mind especially if rehabbing an injury or just starting a regular running route.

Your running mechanics are also going to be altered when you’re running on a treadmill. Treadmills put a higher demand on the quadriceps during the push-off phase of running to keep you from being thrown off the belt; conversely, the hamstrings become less active for that same reason. Most research says that increasing the grade on a treadmill by 1-2% will make up for lost wind resistance and the added ease of being on a belt.

Running Outdoors Vs Treadmills: The Benefits

The benefits of running outdoors are vast: You are getting out into the fresh air, enjoying the scenery, and burning more calories than you would typically on a treadmill. The varying surface of being outdoors (curbs, potholes, tree branches, the occasional downed cyclist) keep the mind-body connection active because you are required to be more present during these runs.

Ultimately, treadmills have an important place in a runner’s training, but they should not be the main component unless serious injury is a concern. They do allow for a more flexible training schedule (weather is not a factor) as well as the ability to be utilized during physical rehabilitation. However, running outdoors challenges the mind and body in a constantly-changing environment. If you are participating in running events, it is important to spend at least half of your time, especially later in your training, on the asphalt to make sure you are prepared in both mind and body on race day! And now you know the difference between Running Outdoors Vs Treadmills.  Get more information about our healthy lifestyle plans by contacting Nava Center today.