Running Outside Vs. Running On A Treadmill

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Tonya McIntosh

Tonya McIntosh—The main person behind TGFFitness as its Founder and Chief Editor. Get to know more about Tonya


woman running outside

Every person has a preference when it comes to running. Some people like running outside while others like running on a treadmill. Both types of running have a unique way of working with our body and mind.

Running outside vs. running on a treadmill has its pros and cons. There have been many differences and how they impact health.

Did you know that Romans used the first treadmills? They used it for lifting heavy objects for construction purposes. Were treadmills also used for punishing prisoners? Yes, it is true. Prisoners sentenced to hard labor had to work on the treadmill for six or more hours.

Running on a treadmill or outside remains as one of the hot topics to debate. There is still no right or wrong answer to this problem.

Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, but they depend entirely on an individual runner to train according to his needs and goals.

Is running outside better for a runner than using a treadmill? What is the difference between the two? These are some of the common questions asked by many people.

Sometimes it is better to run on a treadmill for some workouts. Whereas, at other times, it is good to run outside and exercise.

Running not only helps in losing weight but also to keep a perfect balance mentally and physically. Running every day helps you not only tone your body but also reduces mental stress by increasing norepinephrine that moderates the brain’s reaction to stress.

Life gets tough to deal with when you gain a lot of weight, judging and staring at you for the pressure that you put on. Health issues also start with hypertension and diabetes. It is becoming challenging to shed weight once you gain it.

To put an end to the torture, I wanted to lose weight by following a natural routine. That is when I came across running, but it is very confusing to know the difference between running outside and running on a treadmill.

Let us learn some ways on how running outside and on a treadmill is beneficial for us.

Effects Of Running Outside

Exercising outside relives and provides positive energy, reduces tension, anger, and increases our strength.

Stability improves when we run outdoors by helping us navigate the terrains.

It is a way of looking forward to a day of hard work or a day full of stress. Running outside helps us breathe fresh air, demands our body, and just enjoying nature and life. It is also free of cost!

Effects Of Running On A Treadmill

Convenience and comfort are how a treadmill helps us exercise from home. They are straightforward to use and provides a very efficient workout. Running on a treadmill is very beneficial for people who are overweight and have knee problems.

The treadmill sustains speed and performance levels.

Apart from running, you can also walk and jog, and customize your workout routine in a treadmill

Benefits Of Running Outside

Running outside is free, and the benefits that come with it are excellent both physically and mentally. Here are a few of the ways on how running outside helps us:

Burns calories

Running outside is free, and the benefits that come with it are excellent both physically and mentally. Here are a few of the ways on how running outside helps us:

More muscle work

Running on the ground requires more of our body to move forward. It activates more muscles. Studies show that the strength of your leg and flexibility in ankle increases through outdoor running.

Long exercise

People who go for outdoor running tend to exercise more time. Looking at the trees, dogs, architecture, and views in front of you makes you run more. Nature improves the attention and memory span.

It helps to burn more calories. Some researchers have found that the biomechanical patterns when we run on a treadmill versus when we run outside do not change.


You can also discover new places while you go for a run outdoor. It helps us to refresh our mind and find more about our surroundings. Studies also show that exercise done outside is more enjoyable than indoor.

Continuous training

It becomes effortless for you to continue your workout routine even while traveling. Running outside also helps you to discover new places.

Builds up bones

Running builds our bone mineral density, which measures how strong our bones are. Studies show that running outside is more effective than cycling and other pieces of training.

Adapt to changes

By running outdoors, our body muscles and joints start to adapt to changes that help when we encounter a race. Our body will adapt to change in weather or extra effort during obstacles and elevations.

Benefits Of Treadmill

Treadmills help you to exercise whenever you want at the convenience of your home. Apart from thinking of the weather, there are other benefits of a treadmill which are as follows:

Heart rate

For the heart and lungs to benefit from the workout, it is essential to maintain the intensity level of our heart rate. Many treadmills have a heart monitoring system that helps you track and monitor your heart. Determine your ideal heart rate before running on a treadmill.

No weather excuse

Your exercise routine is not disturbed whether there is any change in weather conditions when you run on a treadmill. Running in cold and hot climates poses some dangers like dehydration, heat exhaustion, and snow or ice, which does not affect your exercise routine while running on a treadmill.

Workout customized

Whether you want to jog, run, walk, lose weight, or train yourself for a marathon treadmill, you can customize the setting according to your workout routine. It also can adjust and control according to the energy you want to expand.

Setting 1% grade of the treadmill helps to run the same amount as running outdoors.

Convenient and multi-task

With treadmills, you can work out at your own convenient time and use headphones, watch TV, or listen to a podcast. You can multitask according to your choice.

Injuries and joints

People who have suffered from injuries and joints prefer using a treadmill than running outside. The smooth, cushioned surface is easier on joints.

Pace control

Treadmills help track your mileage and pace, which benefits you to either reduce you or push your workout. You can also stop anytime and rest, which regains strength.


It becomes complicated to leave your kids and go out for a run, which is why treadmills are convenient. It helps you stay close to your family while doing your exercise.

Carbohydrates and fluids

It becomes complicated to leave your kids and go out for a run, which is why treadmills are convenient. It helps you stay close to your family while doing your exercise.

When To Choose To Run Outside

Mostly it is convenient to run outside if you are training for a marathon or race. But the other health benefits are exposing your skin to the sun, which provides vitamin D, inhaling fresh air, and boosting our energy.

Running outside also prevents us from getting bored. A scenery refreshes our mind, which motivates us to keep pushing forward. Looking at the time and blinking lights on a treadmill every day will demotivate a person. So running outside and feeling the airbrush through your body makes running outside worthwhile.

You also learn how to control your pace by running outside. While running, you learn how to adjust your body, helping maintain and find your own pace. By running outdoors, our collection gets used to even and continuous running.

So running outside is never a bad idea.

When To Choose To Run On A Treadmill

Lousy weather is the most obvious answer when we talk about choosing a treadmill over running outside. It is essential to have a good workout.

When you don’t feel safe, or it is too dark, it is rather wise to choose running on a treadmill than risking outside.

Running on a treadmill gives you a more structured exercise routine and quick workout, one of the benefits of a treadmill to simulate a racecourse.

A treadmill is a good option as they have predictable surfaces to avoid getting injured while running on pavement, curbs, trails, or sidewalks.

Also, running inside benefits beginners who are not ready to run on a concrete surface and patients who have injuries.

The Bottom Line

If we maintain the same level of effort, then running outdoors or treadmill is the same. If you want to maintain your body for the sole purpose of cardiovascular fitness, then using a treadmill with a proper amount of exercise will be beneficial.

On the other hand, if you plan to train yourself for a race or marathon, running outside will be more beneficial.

It is essential to find out what suits you the best include that in your workout routine for a good result.

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Chief Editor
Tonya McIntosh

Hello there! My name is Tonya McIntosh, and I’m the Founder and Chief Editor of TGFFitness. I’m also a NASM-certified Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer. With eight years of experience under my belt, I’ve found that one of the most common issues my clients struggle with is remaining consistent.

Finding your main motivator to keep going is easier said than done for Keep Reading.

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