Is Treadmill Running Better Than Outside?

If you are asked to choose between running outside and on a treadmill, you may have a tough time providing the right answer. However, knowing the advantages and disadvantages of the two options will help you to make the right decision. We present the analysis of running on treadmill vs outside.

Advantages of Running Outside

Some runners prefer running outside no matter the atmospheric condition of that particular day. When you run outside, you will be using up more energy than running on a treadmill. This is because your muscle gets more activation since your feet need to grab the floor for perfect propelling.

Even though researchers have been able to prove that there is no change in biomechanical patterns when running on a treadmill vs running outside, outdoor running promotes a natural pace cycle. You will be working out without any interference by treadmill parameters.

Which Is Easier? – Running on a Treadmill Or Outside

Running on a Treadmill


When running outside, you will be activating more muscles because you will not be limited to certain patterns. On the other hand, when you run inside, some muscles may witness weakness and decondition.

This can lead to injury when you decide to start running outside again. Also, treadmill running may be monotonous because you are using similar predictable patterns, and this can lead to injury caused by bone or muscle overworking.

Experts believe that when you run on a rigid surface such as concrete or asphalt, you will get more bone reinforcement than working out on a treadmill. On the other hand, treadmills reduce the impact on your joints because they take up ground reaction forces during workouts.

When to Consider Running Outside

Consider Running Outside

If you are preparing for a race, you should consider running outside. Even if the weather is bad, you never can predict the type of weather you will experience when the actual race is on. Training outside will expose you to the real atmospheric condition for easy adaptation.

You will also be building your mental strength as you will be exposed to various elements of weather for maximum effectiveness.

The Vitamin D Factor

Safe exposure to sunlight is a good source of vitamin D. Running outside promotes the acquisition of vitamin D by the body since you will be exposed to sunlight. You will get enhanced energy, and there will be a reduction in anger, tension as well as depression.

Advantages of Running on a Treadmill

A treadmill workout makes it possible for you to exercise in a controlled environment. It is possible for you to precisely control interval, pace, incline, as well as recovery. For instance, if you want to get used to certain speeds before moving to the next level, it is much easier with a treadmill.

The maintenance of a pace is easier without monitoring the time. The machine’s belt helps you to maintain a steady pace, which makes the treadmill equivalent to running outside. Besides, you will be more motivated to complete your runs because a virtual coach is urging your steps.

Resistance training is also easier because of the flexibility involved in choosing resistance levels. What’s more, researchers have been able to discover that setting a treadmill to a 1% grade is equivalent to running outside at specific speeds.

Also, the amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise (VO2) is the same for both outside and treadmill running. Hence, your body is working harder when you run outside but utilizes the same oxygen as treadmill runners.

Also, you will have a reduced impact on your joints, which makes the building of strong bones easier. You will be less exposed to injuries because you will be running on a cushioned belt. This will boost your overall health and make it possible for you to get the most satisfactory result.

Is Treadmill Workout Good For You?

Treadmill workouts are good for you if they meet your expectations. With the flexibility of speed and incline, it won’t be difficult for you to meet your fitness goals. However, you need to note that in most cases, these machines may not be able to simulate downhill running, which is an essential integral part of many fitness plans. Also, they can be monotonous and boring, especially if there is no coach to put you on the right track.

When You Should Use a Treadmill

If your goal is to run a few miles to enhance your fitness program, you can consider working out on a treadmill. If you run regularly outside, and some days are not safe to run outside, you can turn to this machine.

At times, the weather may not be friendly for outdoor exercising or it is too dark for you to run alone, it is better you do your stuff indoors. Even if you are training for a competition, you can benefit from the structured speed workouts of a treadmill.

Besides, athletes just returning from injury as well as those who want to forestall injury can take the advantage of the wonderful offers of a treadmill. You can also start running on a treadmill before hitting the road because you would have mastered the process before running on asphalt or concrete.

Final Word

Running outside and on a treadmill have advantages and disadvantages. Your fitness goals as well as other circumstances will determine the right one for you. You can combine the two if you believe it is going to help you get the best result.

Also, if you consider running outside vs treadmill weight loss, you need to weigh the options properly to make the best decision. If cardiovascular benefits are what you are looking for, you can consider working out on a treadmill.

On the other hand, if you want to train for a race, outside running is very essential for you, even though you will need to blend it with treadmill training. Lastly, it is very essential to discover the best option for you and stick to your fitness plan so that you will be able to achieve the most satisfactory outcome.


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  • Updated March 18, 2023
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