Most people who are overweight or trying to maintain a healthy weight tend to try running for weight loss due to its promising results. So, when it comes to running, one of the most common questions people have is, what is better- running outdoors or running on a treadmill?
Both running outside and on the treadmill can benefit you in weight reduction either in higher or lower intensities. Refer to this feature further to pursue a better knowledge about treadmill vs outside running.
What Is The Difference Between Running Outdoors And Running On A Treadmill?
The key difference between treadmill vs outdoor running is the environment that you get to run.
Running on a Treadmill- Pros and Cons
Treadmills are machines that are utilized indoors. When the weather outside is unfavorable, treadmills make it easier for us to work out indoors. However, running on a treadmill does not give you the opportunity to admire the scenery outside. Plus, it does not provide any terrain changes either. Hence, this running routine can sometimes be tedious for someone who demands changes in their regime.
But, on the other hand, treadmills enable the user to regulate minute features of their run concerning the pace, intervals, and incline. This feature is excellent for those healing from injuries who want a more restrained setting. Moreover, improved and modern treadmill belts are also devised to absorb some of the effects of your treads, which can support in protecting your joints. And, according to research data, it has been proved that running on a treadmill or any form of running will not cause joint or knee damage.
And, when you use a treadmill to run, you run in a uniform linear motion with the treadmill belt thrusting you forward. Therefore, running on a treadmill involves only a few muscle groups, such as the hamstrings and glutes, contrasted with running outside. However, you can overcome this issue by including resistance training in your workout regime a few times per week. So, it can help you use the muscle groups that treadmill running may don’t. However, on top of everything, the main downside of the treadmills can be the high cost compared to outdoor running.
Running Outside- Pros And Cons
Unlike running on a treadmill, outdoor running allows you to discover and admire your local area and nature around you. According to the studies, this can give outstanding advantages for those with mental stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms. Additionally, the well-reputed health organizations suggest that solid grounds or concrete surfaces are ideal grounds to run across. They show that they could examine people who run outside regularly, building stronger bones as a positive outcome.
Furthermore, the diverse ecosystems and obstacles you may meet while running outside can help you stimulate other muscle groups and promote better stability and endurance. Those responses may involve hopping over puddles, running up the hills, and ducking other people on your path. Above all, running outdoors costs very little. You may have to invest in a good pair of running shoes, clothing, and other necessary running gear that you might think is required. But, still, it is way lower than the cost you’d have to invest on a treadmill or spend on a gym membership.
However, when it comes to the cons of running outside, it could be challenging in terms of multiple inclines, terrains, and weather. This could possibly lead to injury when coming in contact with rough or wet ground. Besides, running in intense warm or cold can double your chance of dehydration. In fact, dehydration could be life-threatening if you don’t rehydrate or wear proper clothing. And, running at night raises the danger of injury and can be risky. So, if you choose to run at night, make sure you wear reflective clothing and use a headlamp to help others see you.
Which One Helps You Best With Weight Loss?
With whatever exercise you do, creating a calorie deficit is vital to losing weight. This means every day; you will have to torch more calories than you consume. According to nutritionists, weight management is essentially about the stability of energy. In that case, to reduce weight, we need to consume fewer calories than we burn through our resting metabolism and bodily movements. As per health experts, regular running can aid you in burning more calories and generate an approximated 500 calorie deficit.
So, when it comes to running, either you run on a treadmill or run outside, a consistent aerobic activity like running will torch calories to accomplish a calorie deficit goal. A study conducted in 2016 discovered that running several times a week paved the way to improved fat loss. With all, while most participants underwent considerable weight loss, they also increased muscle mass.
According to fitness experts, two different varieties of running may help weight reduction. The good news is, you can reach weight loss with low to moderate intensity running, which is also called steady-state running. Steady-state running involves running at a constant speed at the same strength for a fixed period of time. Instead, you could also practice high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT includes brief, 30–90-second intervals of strenuous activities. It could be like sprinting, accompanied by an equal resting period, such as moderate walking or running.
According to a set of data provided by research done in 2017, it is shown that both steady-state running and high-intensity interval training support people in reaching their weight loss goal. However, losing weight depends on how much time a person would put into exercise, effort, and satisfaction. And, if you go sprinting outdoors, keep in mind to run on flat ground to prevent injury. According to the studies, it is proven that it is best to pick whatever form of running you can give your best. In fact, you can practice both steady-state running and high-intensity interval training outside or indoors on a treadmill.
Things To Consider When Running Outside Or On A Treadmill
Whatever the way you are running for weight loss, it is essential that you run safely. And, just because we mentioned that you need to be in a calorie deficit, that does not certainly mean that you should consume calories in too low amounts. In fact, a study has shown that regular long-distance runners who follow very low-calorie diets are more inclined to have poor bone health. Hence, either you run on a treadmill or run outside, the proper amount of calories in your everyday diet is a crucial factor.
In addition to this, people who engage in outdoor or indoor running may have a concern about their joints and knees. Researchers have discovered that runners usually have a more precise pace and a greater overall walk rate when running on a treadmill vs. outside. However, a study from 2014 found that this can transmute to less influence on joints such as your ankles, hips, and knees. Moreover, another study conducted in 2017 with 2500 participants shows that regular running could literally minimize the risk of having knee pains.
In order to reduce the impact on your knees while running, the experts suggest following these steps while you run outdoors or on a treadmill:
- To engage in knee strengthening exercises.
- Decrease bouncing while running.
- Wear the appropriate running shoes.
- Wearing knee straps.
- Maintain a proper posture while running.
- Try to use quick strides.
As you see, running on a treadmill or running outside can help you in shedding weight and achieving your desired goals. What matters when running for weight loss is that you choose a way you can continue and enjoy in the long run. Choosing the best for you depends on how much you are willing to spend, your lifestyle, the environment you need to run, and your overall preference. Regardless of the way you choose, running helps you lose weight when healthy lifestyle changes and dietary changes are incorporated into your regime.
So, let us know how our post helped you when choosing the most suitable one for you from running on a treadmill vs. outside. Make sure to drop us a comment below and share your ideas.
Sources and References
WORLD ATHLETICS & NIELSEN SPORTS RECREATIONAL RUNNING STUDY
National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine
National Library of Medicine
Harvard Medical School