The Treadmill Versus Running Outside.

Running, jogging, and even walking is a great way to get your heart pumping. In addition to that, it can keep you in shape, shed calories, and keep your bones strong. If you’re planning a fitness regimen, you’d be a fool not to incorporate some cardio in your life, even if your goal is to bulk up. Plus, it’s versatile. You can run outside no matter where you are for no cost. You just need a good pair of shoes and an even better place to run.

With that said, if you own a treadmill or go to a gym, should you choose the treadmill, or stay outdoors? Are they the same, or are there pros and cons to both of them? In this article, we’ll break it all down for you.

The Weather

One reason why people may choose the treadmill over the outdoors is due to Mother Nature. A hard rain can be uncomfortable to run in, and so can running through ten feet of snow or in the hottest day of summer. Being indoors at a room temperature, the treadmill is convenient year-round.

It should be noted, however, that wind is an element that can enhance your outdoor workout. If you run against it, it can burn calories even more due to a higher resistance.

The Incline

Running up a slope can burn more calories and chisel your hamstrings and your glutes. For instance, if you weight 130 lbs. and you run ten minutes at a 0% incline, which is a flat surface, you’ll burn approximately 270 calories. If you set an incline to 5% and run the same amount at the same pace, you’ll burn 365 calories. That’s almost 100 calories more!treadmill_runner_33

Jones and Doust, researchers at the Journal of Sports Sciences, reveal that if you run on a 1% incline on a treadmill, it reflects most of your experiences in running outside.

Elliptical machines are another popular piece of kit that incorporate variable inclines taking the treadmill one step further – but that’s another story all together – I’ll get back to ellipticals versus treadmills later!

Granted, there are giant hills and steep inclines outside that you can run on, but it’s much easier to use a treadmill, where you can adjust it to anything you want. You can’t do that while outside!

The Intervals

Running in intervals instead of doing slow cardio can burn more calories and keep your aerobic capacity up. On a treadmill, it’s easier to do intervals than to run outside. This is because you can increase incline and have the floor move for you. It’s much better than interval training and speed work because of this. On another plus side, there are treadmills out there where you can control your intervals, keeping your sprinting and recovery speeds in check. Therefore, you can adjust at any time.

For instance, if you want to keep your workout more intense, you should try running at your maximum speed for half a minute instead of running four miles at a medium pace. After running for 30 seconds, you can recover for a minute, and then repeat for about 30 minutes. This will save plenty of time, burn even more calories, and increase your capacity.

It’s Up To Your Personal Preference

We’ve spent the past few paragraphs seeming to rail on running outside, but there is something that running outside has that treadmills don’t: variety. You have an entire earth to run across, making it much more preferable than running on a never-ending belt for an hour. If you can’t stand running on treadmills, then don’t make the switch. It will just make your experience worse, and we don’t what that.


As we said, it’s up to your preference. Treadmills can produce more results, but if you don’t like running on them, it won’t work for you. Granted, if you run outdoors, consider running on a treadmill when the weather’s bad, unless you like the elements. Just pick whichever you like and enjoy!

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Mary Goforth

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