Treadmill vs. Outdoor Running: What’s the Difference?

You may have wondered what the difference is between running outside and running on a treadmill. Both types of running have their advantages and disadvantages. However, both are good for your body and can help you maintain a healthy weight.

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Treadmill vs. Outdoor Running

Treadmill walking compared with running outside will feel somewhat easier physically because the “ground” is being pulled underneath your feet. Also, unlike when you are outside, there is no wind resistance inside on a treadmill. Walking or running outdoors requires more energy since you are propelling your body forward with each stride.

We know from research, that in order to accurately simulate the same pace you walk or run outside, you need to make sure the treadmill you are working out on is set for a 1.0% incline. A 1.0% incline will make up for the lack of wind resistance and better simulate outdoor running.

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Psychologically, you may have a harder time handling the monotony or potential boredom of the treadmill. In general, it may be far easier to distract yourself when running outside. It is also easier to tune into your running and to work on your form and stride when you are outside.

If you are training for an outdoor race, try to train outside as much as possible to get prepared for race conditions. You will also become far better at handling the varying terrain you encounter when you are racing if you have been training outside.

However, treadmills do offer advantages. The belts on all modern treadmills are padded, which makes them a good option if you are very overweight or are more injury-prone (especially with knee issues), and want to decrease the impact. Additionally, there are days when the weather just does not cooperate. A treadmill inside a climate-controlled environment can offer a great refuge from the inclement weather and still permit you to get your training completed.

With regard to calories burned on a treadmill versus walking or running outdoors, there is little difference, especially if the treadmill is set at a 1.0% grade. Some studies have noted a slightly increased calorie burn (less than 3%) when running outside, but many others have reported no differences. Keep in mind though: those treadmills that indicate the number of calories burned are generally not accurate. Many reports suggest that treadmills and other cardio machines actually overestimate calories burned by 15% to 20%.

Now that you know some of the research about treadmills compared to outdoor running, start putting some miles on your running shoes!

Must-do Things When Buying a Treadmill

By now, you have decided to get a treadmill for your home. This is quite convenient since you can do your exercise while staying home, watching TV, and taking care of the household chores. But definitely, you will have a lot of difficulty in selecting a really good treadmill that is perfect for your need and budget from the sheer number of treadmill brands and models out on the market today. This guide can help you trim down your options in order that you can get the best treadmill that your hard-earned cash can purchase. You must take note of these things when buying a treadmill:

1. Make sure that the motor has at least a continuous rating of 2.0 horsepower. If you’re a runner, and quite heavier, you should get a higher rating motor, at least 2.5 Horsepower. The motor is the main part of the treadmill. So you shouldn’t scrimp on this one. If you can get the best motor, so much the better. Weaker motors tend to get broken easily after prolonged use, so better invest in the best one available.

2. Before buying a treadmill, make sure that you have ample space for walking and/or running. Check the dimensions of the two-ply belt. It should be at least 18″ wide and 48″ long. This facilitates a more comfortable stride. You should get wider and longer two-ply belts if you are taller.

3. The recommended length of the belt by the American Council on Exercise is 49″ minimum. A lot of higher-priced models include wider and longer two-ply belts.

4. Also, before buying a treadmill, one should check the deck of the treadmill. A low-impact treadmill deck is recommended since this absorbs the shock by flexing under one’s foot when it is stricken. Less impact means a more comfortable exercise as well as less likeliness of injury and strain. This holds most especially for people who have injuries such as back and foot problems or even shin splints.

5. Also, check the after-sales service and warranty of your model before buying a treadmill. This would save you a lot of headaches when problems may arise later. The better treadmills around offer long warranties on the motor, parts, and labor. The best treadmills offer a lifetime warranty on the parts and motor and longer warranties on the labor to give you fewer problems later. Read the fine print so that no problems will arise later. DO avoid 90-day warranties and it’s better to have a return clause just in case the treadmill doesn’t suit you. Also, the treadmill has also provisions on its weight limit, so the warranty might be voided if you’re heavier than their specified weight.

6. Also, check the features as well as the user-friendliness of the model before buying a treadmill. Safety issues should also be resolved too. This is to get the best treadmill that fits your preference.

Buying a treadmill is quite a big investment, so always get the best one. You wouldn’t be sacrificing price for your health, so you shouldn’t also be when buying a treadmill.

Related Reading : Best treadmill under 300

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