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Are You Cheating Yourself by Choosing the Treadmill?

What's Better: the Treadmill or the Open Road?


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  • As much as I love walking and running outdoors, I am happy to have a treadmill that is ready whenever. This means no excuses. It is dark outside because I had to work late? No problem, the treadmill is right there. It is too hot or cold outside? No problem, the treadmill is right there. I also love that I can better track my time and distance when on the treadmill and looking at the distance and time usually motivates me to challenge myself for another 10 minutes, half-mile, etc.
  • Good article. I run both on TM's and outside. I love the outdoors. However, I push myself more on the TM. I have nothing to focus on but the numbers, and so I make myself really work hard. Outdoors I get too distracted by pretty scenery and my own thoughts. So I find a balance between the two works best for me.
  • I've been using a treadmill for a Couch-25k program. I think it's a good way to start out because it's easy to track the length of intervals and to adjust the speed from walk to run. Once I'm able to actually run for 3 miles without stopping, I might try the outdoors. It's also my first attempt at running since a bad ankle sprain 2 years ago, and so the 'give' of the treadmill is also a plus, since it likely reduces the irritation on my ankle while I build up muscle.
  • Great article, really lays out the pros and cons clearly.
  • Treadmill or outdoors - the most important thing is to start off with whichever will keep you going. I definitely agree that a treadmill is 'easier' and it's what I've started off with due to convenience. I try to balance the heavy treadmill use by upping the speed and incline and going hiking/walking on the weekends.
  • HVAN01
    I love the outdoors when it's warm enough to jog or walk. When I am on the treadmill I find that using the incline at the highest level works best for me. I get a great workout and burn a lot of calories. I would much rather do zumba, kick boxiing, step aerobics or something fun. When I first started to exercise it hurt my knees to even walk outside and on the treadmill but I kept pushing myself to just do it. My point is, it doesn't matter weather you walk, jog, run, on a treadmill or outside. Just do something to get you moving and have fun doing it. You're saving your life. Your heart will be stronger, you'll look and feel better about yourself.
    So get moving!!!!!!!!!!! Good Luck.....
  • I think if you want to run outdoors, then do it OUT OF TRAFFIC.
    I like to walk outside especially at this time of year in Florida. But I resort to a treadmill during some of the worst "dog days" of a hot, humid, Florida summer. I don't run on the treadmill. Both places that I go advise against running on the our senior community clubhouse and a hospital health fitness center (where there also a lot of seniors).
    Personally, being outside is uplifting and just nice when flowers are in bloom. Treadmill is basically boring.
  • I do both if its below zero I use the treadmill, otherwise I walk outside. But, I also live out in the country and I can only go a couple of ways before I reach my four miles. SO if its raining or looks like its going to storm I go for the tread mill. One thing I do know is the tread mill keeps you at a steady pace where when you are walking outside you may think your walking at the same pace but your not when you start getting tried your body automatically starts to slow done unless your pushing yourself for a specific time.
  • Starting running on treadmill first. Don't hate the treadmill but prefer outside running now but like the treadmill for walking. Inc and dec speed and incline for variation. Outside I run on walkway between buildings where I live and run the parking lot because the surface is uneven. When walking downtown where I live, I walk up and down the 45 steps to the train platform for variation. Intend to change my route and will also start to walk/run in the park that is a couple of blocks away.
  • Good article. It points out good things about both. I enjoy both based on my mood and the weather personally. My outdoor runs are definitely more challenging however the treadmill allows me to get to lifting weights quicker which is good time wise.
  • Great article ....i love both ....i like the controlled aspect of a treadmill and the goal setting (easy to see when you hit a new pr) but who.doesn't lile the wind tje rain the trees and the aliveness of outside
  • I love running outdoors, but have to stick with the treadmill at the moment because it's less impact on my [healed but still bothers me when I run outside] ankle. Outside, I run on a bike path but it's still more jarring to my ankle than the treadmill. That being said, I don't hate the treadmill like a lot of other people do... I don't watch TV or anything while doing it, I just vary my speed & incline and focus on how my body's responding.

    Still, I miss running outdoors. But I get out on my bike almost every day to get my fill of fresh air and scenery!
  • so far I find that running both in and outdoors is best, it keeps me from getting bored. When I run in a gym I am also strength training, outdoors my kids are riding their bikes to keep up and we have a blast together.
    Interesting article, and in an ideal world, outdoor running/walking would be preferable to using a treadmill indoors. However, I have severe allergies, so that limits my outdoor time in certain seasons and when it's windy. Ironically, I live in an area with mild winters so cold weather is not a detriment to outdoor workouts.

    Another consideration is pollution - from cars, factories, construction activity. It can be healthier to exercise indoors for some of us.

    Also, I live in a semi-rural area where there are no sidewalks, making running a dangerous activity. The roads have no shoulders and there are many have blind curves. I'd be crazy to run in this environment, because I'm not always visible to the oncoming traffic. Not to mention wild animals like coyotes, skunks, and bears - oh my!

    So, I'll stick to the treamill at the gym - and not feel guilty about it. At least at the gym I have several different types of equipment to choose from to vary my workout - treadmill, elliptical machines, weight machines, bikes, rowers, and free weights - and an indoor pool. So, I get a great workout.

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