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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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Great views, I've never really given it much thought. I just which ever was readily available to me at the time. It's hard to get out the house with a 9 year old, 6 year old, and 3 month old, so I would just stay home and get on the treadmill. I would do the occasional walk around the block with stroller in tow.

I will now consider challenging myself more. Report
After working out at home for nearly two years, I've decided I'm totally fed up with being plagued by everpresent constant niggling injuries caused by over training and also too much running outside on hard surfaces. Hence I have re-joined my gym, so now at least I'm able to have access to more equipment that is kinder on my body: such as the elliptical, rowing machines, cycles, and also the vast array of weights that the gym has. Also, running on the treadmill works for me - I am now injury free for the first time in months and am loving the feeling of being able to go through day to day life without any aches or pains! Report
I used to run on a treadmill and I loved it. I wish I had access to one now. But, I run outdoors now. It is true that you use different muscles. When I ran exclusively on a treadmill and then signed up for a 5K, it was exhausting. I was in shape, but wow! I felt like I was running under water. Now, I run outdoor, I wonder how I will feel if I ever run a 5K again. Report
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. Report
There is also the aspect of fresh air outdoors, not just the weather... Report
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! :) Report
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. Report
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. Report
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. Report
Great article, really lays out the pros and cons clearly. Report
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. Report
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..... Report
I think if you want to run outdoors, then do it OUT OF TRAFFIC. Report
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. Report
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. Report

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