Is Running Outside Better Than Running on a Treadmill?

Is Running Outside Better Than Running on a Treadmill

How Do I Mimic Running Outside On A Treadmill?

Running on a treadmill is convenient, safe and easy if the weather is terrible.

Plus, several workout routines are designed according to a treadmill.

For instance, HIIT, tempo, speed training and incline running give effective results if you perform them on a treadmill.

Plus, the treadmill is one of the best fitness machines to prepare if you are participating in a marathon or race.

However, you cannot mimic running outside on a treadmill.

Why? Because you don’t have to tackle any wind resistance on a treadmill, which means you can easily maintain a speed for a long time.

The tread belt of the running machine also moves back, which is something that never happens outdoors.

Plus, you go through multiple slopes on the tracks outside, but a treadmill can offer you incline or no incline at all.

Still, there is a solution if you want to make indoor running comparable to outdoor workouts – run on the treadmill after inclining its tread belt at 1 or 2 per cent.

This setting will give you a feeling that you are tackling wind resistance. Consult the fitness experts, and they will tell you the same about running on a treadmill.

Running Outside vs Treadmill (The Verdict)

Treadmills are popular, low-impact, and more accurate than jogging outside on the road or trail, but they’re more expensive.

Although getting outside may be more exciting, decrease poor mental health symptoms, and save money overall.

Results of scientific research.

The Journal of Sports Sciences conducted a survey only to check whether running on a treadmill is the same as running outside.

We can trust this scientific paper because it is reputed for some genuine and honest studies. The research was to know which incline level on a treadmill can reflect similarity with outdoor running.

Now, this study cannot be completed by one individual. So, nine subjects were used.

All of them were male runners who were experienced in running treadmills and outdoors. They were asked to run for 6 minutes at six different speed.

There was a rest period of 6 minutes after each running round. The steps were repeated six times to capture accurate results.

Now, all the athletes ran on a level treadmill and five different slopes. So, that the review team can compare all the results, and they got a definite answer.

Running on an incline of 1 per cent is similar to running outside. Slopes at 2 to 3 per cent are similar, but somewhat different and cannot be compared with outside running. So, the result is – you can set the treadmill at 1 per cent to replicate outdoor running.

Running outside vs treadmill For Weight Loss

If your motive is weight loss, you might think, which is better to burn more calories – running outside or indoors?

Here is the good news for outdoor runner. You might burn 3 to 6 per cent extra calories by running on natural tracks than indoors; on a treadmill.

Also read: How To Burn 400 Calories on The Treadmill?

The fat burn also depends upon your speed. If you are jogging, then you will lose 3 per cent more calories.

Similarly, you will burn up to 5 per cent extra while running outdoors. It’s possible because the running surface moves on a treadmill. Plus, you are not dealing with any wind resistance.

You cannot run every day outdoor, especially if the weather is not in your favour or its too hot to handle.

You will forget about weight loss in case you experience dehydration or sunstroke.

Plus, running on hot days’ waste all your energy within a short duration, and you might not be able to complete your workout session. You will not enjoy any health benefits if you cannot even finish your exercise routine.

So, what’s the best idea? Run on the treadmill when you don’t find the outdoor weather favourable.

However, add 5 to 10 minutes to your running session and activate incline. You can try working out at 1 or 2 per cent.


Is running on a treadmill the same as running outside?

Running on a treadmill is not the same as running outdoors.

Working out on a running machine is comparatively easy because you don’t have to deal with uneven tracks and wind resistance.

Plus, the surface underneath your feet is moving, which helps you to run. So, the terrain is the primary difference between treadmill and outdoor running.

Is running outside or on a treadmill better for your knees?

Most of the treadmill comes with a shock-absorbing mechanism, which saves your knees from stress.

But, things are different when you are running outdoors. You don’t have any protection against the jerks when you are running on roads or pavements. So, running on a treadmill is better for your knees.

Related post: Does Treadmill Burn Fat?

Bottom Line

Walking, jogging and running on an inclined treadmill is beneficial for weight loss and strength training.

However, it will help if you don’t work out on a permanent slope because you will never see a running track with a 1 per cent incline throughout.

So, it will help if you do not use the gradient excessively.

We recommend that you step up on a treadmill for specific workouts that you cannot replicate outdoors—for instance, HIIT and tempo.

Most of the professionals follow this technique to improve the outcomes. Overall, including the incline in your exercises, but don’t make it permanent.


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