Treadmill vs. Outdoor Running: Which is Better?

Are you an avid runner? Have you ever wondered whether running on a treadmill or running outside is better for you? I have, and although I like to run I struggle running long distances in the Miami heat and humidity! So instead of running outside during the summer months I love to run interval sprints on a treadmill and when the temps finally cool down I love taking in the beauty of Miami on foot.

According to this article from Baptist Health South Florida “Both treadmill running and outdoor running provide great benefits to health and fitness levels,” said Marcela Todd, a certified Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) running coach and head coach of Friends in Training. Running in any way, shape or form treadmill or otherwise can “help to manage weight, relieve stress, prevent depression, boost confidence, keep cholesterol and blood pressure levels normal and are a great way to stay healthy overall.”

Treadmill running has many benefits including:

  • Less impact on your joints. Most treadmills have built in shock protection that helps take pressure off your ankles, knees, hips and low back.
  • You can determine the intensity of your workout by adjusting the speed and incline which can help keep your pacing more consistant.
  • You can ward of boredom by watching TV or videos.
  • You can always run no matter what the weather is like outside. Day or night. Rain or shine.

TW-Fit Tip: Try Alternating running and power walking on an incline 30 seconds of running followed by 30 seconds of active recovery (power walking or jogging) to get a truly heart pumping, metabolism boosting workout!

Running Outside Also Has Many Benefits Including:

  • It has been scientifically proven that being outdoors in nature can boost mood and prevent depression.
  • Because you do not have a tread belt running outside you have to propel your bodyweight forward which makes for a more challenging workout.
  • If you are preparing for a race or special running event the only way to fully prepare is for you to run outside in the exact conditions the race or event will take place. Although you can adjust speed and incline on a treadmill you can never fully simulate running outdoors.

At the end of the day exercise is exercise and the most important thing is that you get your body moving! Put one foot in front of the other and go for short bursts of intensity with a little bit of active recovery to follow or forget the world and “Run Forrest run!”.

Make sure to head over to Baptist Health South Florida for more on treadmill vs. outdoor running debate! And if you are in the Miami area Baptist Health South Florida offers free run clubs for you to find your tribe!


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