Is Outdoor Running Better Than Hitting The Treadmill?

benefits of outdoor running
Woman running outdoors
Tatcha

There is a difference between outdoor running and running on the treadmill.  Both are effective and give you a good workout.  But, which is better?

Runners usually tend to fall in one of two camps of outdoor running or treadmill running. Outdoor runners hate the confines of a gym, and they love the dynamic challenge offered by the open air and streets, parks, and trails of their city.  Indoor treadmill runners prefer a controlled climate and environment, as well as more control over their workout.

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But which is best? Can you really say that either is “better” than the other?  Well, it all depends on where you live, time of year, and access to safe sidewalk or trails.  It’s important to have a goal.   If you’re training for a full marathon, you’ll definitely want to train outdoors.  Can’t imagine running thirty plus miles per week on a treadmill.  While treadmill running does have its advantages, there are many more reasons to love outdoor running.  Here are 5 reasons you should take your workout outside:

Increased Difficulty

  • Outdoor running is especially difficult for those who are regular treadmill runners and comfortable with their pace, incline and settings. When you run outdoors, you not only have to compete with your own body and fitness level, but you’re also facing the wind, weather, and terrain.  You have to run up and down hills, struggle against heavy winds, and try to survive the heat and cold. It’s often harder to run outdoors, but that’s what makes it so awesome. You “level up” more quickly when running outside!

Greater Development

  • As a runner, your goal is to increase your speed in order to reach your goal faster. This means you have to increase your pace as time passes. The more you run, the more you’ll learn about your instincts and your natural abilities. Your body will set the pace, and your speed will naturally increase.

Beautiful Scenery

  • Many runners believe that it’s incredibly boring to jog or run in place. This is especially true if you’re running more than five or 6 miles at a time. Why do you think so many treadmill runners read books or watch TV or movies? When you go running outdoors, you get to enjoy the beauty of nature, an ever-changing environment, and new people and places.  No run is ever boring when you’re running outdoors.

Choice of Terrain

  • Feeling in the mood for a harder challenge? Why not grab a friend and go for a run in the forest? Need something easier after a tough workout? Take the smooth, even park paths! Don’t have the time to fit in the gym after a long day of work? Why not jog/run to and from the office? With outdoor running, you have your choice of terrain, distance, difficulty, and destination. You can go anywhere and do anything–all you need is your own two feet and a good pair of running shoes.

Acclimation to the Environment

  • Did you know that exercise can help your body acclimate to the winter cold or summer heat? The more time you spend outdoors, the easier it will be for your body to get used to the temperatures. Outdoor running helps you to adjust to the climate changes in your city, so you don’t have to spend your days in front of an A/C or heater.

Yes, treadmill running definitely has its benefits, but can anything come close to the sheer enjoyment of running in the sunlight and open air? Cold and heat be damned, outdoor running is as good as it gets for a top-notch workout.  This is not only good for your physical health, it’s great for your mental wellbeing as fresh air can clear your head.

Happy Running!

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