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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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    The better option is the one that gets you off the couch. I don't exercise outdoors because of the extreme heat in the Southwest in the summer. For the month of June, temperatures were 100+ every day, and are still over 100.

    Allergies also limit my outdoor activities, as does pollution. I used to live in a very small, rural town back East, where the roads were 2-lane, winding with no shoulders. It wasn't safe to run, or even walk on those roads.
    There is also the aspect of fresh air outdoors, not just the weather...
    I prefer the treadmill for several reasons. The biggest one is that I'm a single mom to a 6 year old, so getting out of the house alone for a good run is just about near impossible. I have a treadmill in my basement that I use after the kiddo goes to bed. I also have a significant amount of weight to lose and have unfortunately spent the past several years pretty sedentary. I think it's probably better for my joints if I use the treadmill to lose a decent amount of weight before I attempt running outside. Also, I just actually enjoy it - I kind of go into a "zone" on the treadmill while I think running outside would distract me a bit! I know that if I want to enter an actual 5K race though when I'm done that I'll need to do some training first outside, maybe for a couple of months. I doubt I'll be ready for an outdoors 5K after I run my first one on the treadmill :) As long as people know that though, and they don't go straight from treadmill to Race Day, there shouldn't be any issues with starting on a treadmill! I know I'm getting a good workout and have been feeling fantastic lately - getting better with each run - so I'm happy! :)
  • 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

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