Running Outdoors vs. Running on a Treadmill
Running outdoors and running on a treadmill are both aerobic activities, with quite a few similarities - and certain substantial differences. When choosing which one is the better option for you, you must consider several factors. In order to make the choice easier for you when considering the two options, we have drawn up a comparison to ease your analysis!
Check out which one of the two wins the bigger portion of the cake when it comes to the following stated aspects, which will help you make your choice in an informed fashion!
In Terms of Impact
The impact required or caused by an exercise routine is an important factor to ponder over especially for those individuals who suffer from arthritis or lower back pains. If we compare running outdoors and on a treadmill, then the difference in impact formation is rather slight. However, since treadmill running does not require much of springing forward, the impact being spoken of is lower in this case. This makes treadmills a preferable choice for those suffering from conditions such as back aches and arthritis
In Terms of Ease of Accessibility and Use
In terms of accessibility, not everyone owns a treadmill, nor do many have the time to use the treadmill at the gym. Running however can be done easily without having to buy equipment per se (beyond a good pair of running shoes). In terms of ease of use, treadmills are equipped with options whereby you can change the speed of your workout around and play with the slopes and elevations with the press of a button, making your workout more or less challenging accordingly. Whereas, on the other hand, when it comes to running outdoors, you are pretty much in control of your speed and required elevation needs. If you are looking for more of a challenge when running outdoors, you must increase your speed on your own and find a course for running which has hills and slopes.
In Terms of Wind
The presence of wind or the lack of it is one difference between running outdoors and on a treadmill that cannot be altered. When you are on a treadmill there is no wind resistance whatsoever that you may have to encounter. Whereas, when you are running outdoors you may have to combat against high wind pressures or might just be subjected to breezing through slight whisks of wind coming your way. Either ways, when you are made to encounter high pressure winds, which builds up resistance against the wind pressures, making your workout far more challenging. The only way to come to par to the wind resistance with a treadmill is by elevating the incline on the treadmill.
In Terms of Terrain
Another very visible and substantial difference between the two is of the terrain. When you are on a treadmill you are pretty much running or walking on a smooth surface which holds constant throughout the workout. Whereas, when you are running outdoors, until and unless it’s on a proper built running track, you will almost never be running on a smooth surface. Running outdoors becomes more challenging then as you have to move past obstacles such as diversions in the roads, rugged terrain, uneven surfaces, rocks, potholes and the likes. Depending on what your running goals are, you can choose between the two, if you are looking to practice for a race then the best idea is to run outdoors. If burning calories is your only concern, then the treadmill workout should also do the trick for you.
In Terms of Muscle Activation
One factor or consideration where the two types of running converge is of muscle activation. Both, running on a treadmill and running outside, will activate the same set of muscles, that is, hamstrings, calves, abdominals, glutes, quadriceps and hip flexors. Either ways, your abs will contract the same way, but if you run outdoors, due to the motion of moving forwards and backwards away from your present spot, more emphasis will be placed on your hamstrings, calves and glutes, making the workout more beneficial for these parts!
It is much easier to cheat your way with a treadmill workout than it is when running outdoors! The handrails present on the sides of the treadmill can provide your body with substantial support, slowing your movements down. When you are put on a running track, you have nothing to hold on to for support which will only add on to the efficacy of your workout! But, since the treadmill provides an easier way out, it is very likely that it will be abused! Thus, the handrails are more of a cheating spot for runners than anything else!
Given the above stated points, the choice you make is pretty much dependant on your preferences. However, if you are looking for a more high resistance power workout then running outdoors is your deal, but if you are looking for ease of use and convenience, then maybe you are more of a treadmill workout person! Either ways, the benefits of both, running on a treadmill and running outdoors are quite similar, with a few alterations here and there. Choose your pick wisely!