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 Pros and cons of treadmill and outdoor running

 What’s the difference between  treadmill running and outside running? Contrary to what many people may believe, experts state that there is not much of a difference between running outdoors and on a treadmill. It seems that neither is as good or as bad as people may have thought otherwise. Lets take a look at some of the more important differences:

Woman running outdoors


It’s hard to find that same bounce and absorption you feel on a treadmill, outside on streets and sidewalks. Treadmills have built in suspension systems that absorb most of the impact and take the pressure off your back and knees. The outdoor roads may be less forgiving. If you are to enjoy the scenery, try going to a nearby park that has a track, one that is clay to reduce some of the stress associated with cement. Your knees are used everyday. Keep em’ working for as long as you can.


Lack of hamstring activation

On a treadmill, the belt dictates the speed and propels you forward, giving your quads the bulk of the work. When running outside, you use your hamstrings to finish off the stride getting a more complete leg workout. Repeated running on a treadmill may develop a weaker hamstring, which can set you up for injuries down the road. If you don’t have a choice and need to run on a treadmill, try to keep the pace light. Also, try to keep the total time to around 30 minutes or less.



Running outside presents change at each step. Any lack of awareness can result in a bad sprain or worse, a few missing teeth! Also, make sure that if you running while listening to music, that you adjust the volume to the outside environment. Being able to hear whats going on around you is way more important to having your favourite song at full blast. 


Wind Resistance factor

The outdoors also presents wind resistance, which isn’t the issue when on a treadmill. Experts have realized that putting the treadmill to a 1-1.5 degree incline can create the same resistance. Again, other factors such as rain may add to that resistance and slow down your pace. Be careful not to use too high of an increase when on a treadmill. Being at too high an incline will put the focus on the quads. You always want to make sure that your other muscles aren’t being neglected.


Fun Factor

Lets face it. Running on a treadmill for 30 minutes without much of a scenery can suck. This, compared to being outside on a beautiful summer day while enjoying a cool breeze and vibrant surroundings.

Being from Canada, mother nature doesn’t always allow me to run outside all year long. Sometimes being stuck indoors can make cardio a dreaded task rather than an enjoyable form of cardio. For those of you who are limited as well, just remember – starting your cardio when its warm outside may be too late if you’re trying to get that summer body!  Don’t procrastinate just because you may find running indoors to be boring. Besides, using a treadmill for the winter months may end up saving your knees in the long run (no pun intended).