Many have led you to believe that outdoor running is the "real run", while the treadmill is a synthetic substitute to use until the weather improves. But you would never believe something that was said to you without checking, right?
Maybe it's the fact that it takes place indoors that makes it seem more lethargic, but certainly none of the people who think it have ever set a treadmill at level 20 with an incline of 5.
There are such differences between road running and treadmill that they could be considered as different exercises.
1. The treadmill for beginners
For starters, the treadmill belt will make your run easier, as well as speed it up. This does not mean that once on the road you will have the same pace.
If you run faster (and more consistently), that means you're working your muscles harder and burning more calories, right? Not necessarily.
In fact, a study conducted in Singapore revealed that on a treadmill you run much slower than you think, which can boil down to the perception of being stationary.
Thanks to the extra effort of pushing forward without assistance, many more muscle fibers are put to work, thus using more energy.
2. The road race for energy expenditure
In addition to this, there is the resistance of the wind, against which we must go. The evidence comes from a study conducted by the University of Exeter, which revealed greater use of energy when encountering wind resistance.
However, to play evenly, you can achieve the same results by adding at least a 1% incline to the treadmill.
In terms of impact, it doesn't “give” more on a treadmill.
3. The treadmill for joint health
This makes the treadmill lower impact and makes life easier for the joints. In terms of pros and cons, this can be seen as a good thing if you suffer from hip, knee, ankle problems or anything aggravated by the high impact of a tarmac run.
The treadmill also offers a “stable environment”. Sure, you can add different variables by pressing a few buttons to increase the incline, speed or set them both at intervals, but it's all kept under control.
This is to your advantage if you are recovering or looking for something simple while still putting the same muscles to work - it's a good idea even on active rest days so you don't overdo it and limit the strain on your muscles and joints.
4. The road race for recovery
However, in terms of recovery, if you want to rebuild, the strengthening provided by road running is important in getting even the smallest muscles to work.
The treadmill is ideal if a false move could cause you to relapse following an injury, but changes in incline and road surface will effectively put smaller muscles to work to use to help you stay balanced, building them in the process.
Do you think the treadmill is safer? Think about it one more time. If you don't vary your speed and add variables regularly, you run a higher risk of repetitive strain and ligament damage.
Running outdoors on asphalt and on the road will add these variables for you; in this way the legs will stretch and fix themselves.
Back to the beginning, is there anything to be said about being outdoors instead of being confined to the gym?
With a treadmill there is no crowds, no interruptions, no obstacles and no breaks to cross the street, but it can be monotonous to always follow the same routine.
To keep yourself motivated, the different landscapes of being outdoors, the freedom to choose the path and the fresh air could be more good for morale, especially if you have worked all day indoors.
Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you are concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or making major changes to your diet.