Monday, January 25, 2010

Treadmill vs. Outdoor Running/Walking

If you’re wondering whether you should run/walk outdoors or on a treadmill, here are a few things to consider.

  • Running or walking on a treadmill will seem easier than doing the same activity outdoors because the belt is being pulled underneath you instead of your legs having to propel you forward. Also, there is no wind resistance on a treadmill. Therefore, in order to get the same intensity of workout indoors as outdoors, you should always walk/run on a treadmill at a 1% incline to make up for the lack of wind resistance.
  • Running or walking outdoors provides you with somewhat uneven terrain which can increase your balance ability.
  • A treadmill provides a padded belt which is helpful for people with joint problems to have a softer impact than cement.
  • If you are training for an outdoor race, it is better to train outdoors so that you become accustomed to the wind, terrain differences as well as inclines and declines.
  • Psychologically, it might be easier to run outdoors because you are going somewhere and a treadmill can become monotonous.
  • The calorie burn in both options are approximately the same when you set the treadmill to a 1% incline.
  • The treadmill is a great option for training when the weather is not great outside.
  • If you are concerned with the pace that you keep and tend to slow down instead of keeping a steady pace, the treadmill might be your best bet because it keeps the pace for you.
  • The great outdoors provides different inclines and declines without you having to mess with “settings”

Really, what it boils down to is your preference: do you love the outdoors or prefer to keep pace on the treadmill…


  1. Is it better to do the treadmill at 3mph for 30 minutes or 2.5mph for 1 hour?

  2. In my opinion, it's better to do a good hard workout in less time and then build your time up. You'll burn more calories because you are more intense, plus you will increase your cardiovascular fitness. OR better yet, if walking at a 3mph is hard for you and a 2.5 is moderate, alternate between the two for 45 minutes. Once that becomes a bit easier, then increase to 3mph and 3.5mph.