Running Outside vs Treadmill: Which is Better?

most popular forms of exercise, and there are many ways to do it. Two of the most common options are running outside and running on a treadmill. Both options have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, and the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and individual goals. So which option is best for a beginner: running outside vs treadmill?

When you go outdoors there’s a sense of liberty and connection with nature that can’t be experienced on a treadmill. The ever-changing scenery, fresh air and uneven terrain can make it more thrilling and offer a tougher challenge. But you’re subject to varying weather and other external elements which makes it less secure and convenient.

Using a treadmill lets you control your environment to an extent, making it easier to customize your workout by altering speed, incline and other settings. There’s no need to worry about weather conditions and safety, but the routine may not be as stimulating as outdoor running, nor give you the same mental and emotional boost.

Benefits of Running Outside

Running is a great form of exercise, and there are many benefits to running outside. Here are just a few:

  • More challenging: Running outside can be more challenging than running on a treadmill, as you have to deal with uneven terrain, hills, and other obstacles. This can help improve your overall fitness and make you a stronger runner.
  • Fresh air and sunshine: Running outside allows you to get some fresh air and sunshine, which can be invigorating and help boost your mood. Plus, exposure to sunlight can help your body produce vitamin D, which is important for bone health.
  • Variety: Running outside allows you to explore new routes and see different sights, which can help keep your workouts interesting and prevent boredom.
  • Improved mental health: Running outside can be a great stress reliever and can help improve your mental health. Being surrounded by nature and fresh air can be calming and help clear your mind.
  • Increased calorie burn: Running outside can burn more calories than running on a treadmill, as you have to work harder to maintain your pace and deal with the outdoor elements.

Overall, jogging outdoors is great way to stay active, immerse yourself in nature and increase your physical and mental well-being. Keep safe by wearing reflective gear at night and running in lit areas, and don’t forget the right clothing for any weather.

running outside vs treadmill
Photo By Fabio Comparelli

Benefits of Treadmill Running

Running on a treadmill has many benefits that make it a popular choice for runners of all levels. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Controlled environment: One of the biggest advantages of treadmill running is that you can control the environment in which you run. This means you can set the temperature, adjust the incline, and even watch TV or listen to music while you run.
  • Reduced impact: Treadmills have a cushioned surface that reduces the impact on your joints compared to running on hard pavement or concrete. This can make it a good option for runners who are recovering from an injury or who have joint pain.
  • Consistent pace: Treadmills allow you to set a consistent pace, which can be helpful for runners who are training for a specific race or distance. You can also easily track your pace and distance, which can be motivating and help you stay on track with your goals.
  • Variety of workouts: Treadmills offer a variety of workouts, including interval training and hill workouts, which can help you improve your speed and endurance.
  • No weather restrictions: With a treadmill, you can run regardless of the weather outside. This can be especially helpful for runners who live in areas with extreme temperatures or inclement weather.

In summary, treadmill running offers a controlled, low-impact environment that can help you improve your running performance and stay motivated to reach your goals. Whether you’re training for a race or just looking for a convenient way to stay active, a treadmill can be a great option to consider.

running outside vs treadmill
Photo By Lewisgoodphotos

Drawbacks of Running Outside

While running outside has many benefits, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

  • Weather conditions can be unpredictable, making it difficult to plan a consistent running routine.
  • Running on uneven surfaces can increase the risk of injury, especially if you are not used to it.
  • Outdoor running can expose you to air pollution, which can have negative effects on your respiratory system.
  • Running outside can be more challenging due to factors such as wind resistance and changes in elevation.
  • It can be harder to track your progress when running outside, as you may not have access to the same technology or equipment as you would on a treadmill.

Despite these drawbacks, many runners still prefer to run outside for the fresh air, scenery, and challenge it provides. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and choose the option that works best for you and your fitness goals.

Drawbacks of Treadmill Running

While there are many benefits to using a treadmill for running, there are also some drawbacks that should be considered. Here are a few:

  • Monotonous: Running on a treadmill can become monotonous and boring, especially if you are running for long periods of time. The scenery never changes, and you don’t get the same sense of accomplishment as you do when running outside.
  • Less Challenging: Treadmills are designed to cushion your steps, which can make running feel easier than it actually is. This can lead to a false sense of security and make it difficult to prepare for outdoor runs.
  • No Fresh Air: Running on a treadmill means you’re breathing in the same recycled air, which can be stuffy and unpleasant. Fresh air is important for overall health and well-being, and running outside allows you to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of your surroundings.
  • No Inclines or Declines: Treadmills can simulate inclines and declines, but it’s not the same as running outside on a hilly terrain. Running outside allows you to work different muscle groups, and the varying terrain can help improve your overall fitness level.
  • No Wind Resistance: When running outside, you have to work against wind resistance, which can be challenging but also beneficial for building strength and endurance. On a treadmill, there is no wind resistance, which means you’re not getting the same workout.

Overall, while treadmills can be a convenient and effective way to stay in shape, they do have some drawbacks compared to running outside. It’s important to consider your personal preferences and goals when deciding which option is best for you.

Tips for Running Outside

Running outside can be a great way to change up your routine and get some fresh air. However, it can also present some challenges that you don’t face when running on a treadmill. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your outdoor runs:

  • Plan your route: Before you head out, plan your route and make sure you know where you’re going. This will help you avoid getting lost and ensure that you don’t run into any unexpected obstacles.
  • Wear the right gear: When running outside, it’s important to wear the right gear. Make sure you have comfortable, breathable clothing that’s appropriate for the weather. You may also want to invest in a good pair of running shoes that provide adequate support.
  • Stay hydrated: When running outside, it’s important to stay hydrated. Make sure you bring water with you or plan your route so that you can stop at water fountains or other sources of hydration along the way.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: When running outside, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye out for cars, bikes, and other runners, and make sure you’re running in a safe and well-lit area.
  • Start slow: If you’re new to running outside, it’s important to start slow and gradually build up your endurance. Don’t push yourself too hard too soon, as this can increase your risk of injury.

By following these tips, you can make the most of your outdoor runs and enjoy all the benefits that running outside has to offer.

Tips for Treadmill Running

Running on a treadmill can be a great way to train for a race or stay in shape when the weather outside is not ideal for outdoor running. Here are some tips to make your treadmill workout more effective and enjoyable:

  • Adjust the incline: Running on a flat surface can be monotonous and can put extra stress on your knees. Adjusting the incline can help simulate outdoor running and engage different muscle groups.
  • Use intervals: Incorporating intervals into your treadmill workout can help increase your speed and endurance. Try alternating between periods of high intensity and low intensity, or sprinting and jogging.
  • Stay hydrated: Just because you’re indoors doesn’t mean you don’t need to stay hydrated. Make sure to have a water bottle nearby and take sips throughout your workout.

Additionally, consider using the following features on your treadmill:

Heart rate monitorTracks your heart rate and can help you stay within your target heart rate zone
FanKeeps you cool during your workout
TV or music playerProvides entertainment and can help pass the time during longer workouts

By following these tips and utilizing the features on your treadmill, you can make your indoor running experience more enjoyable and effective.


Whether running outdoors or on a treadmill, there are benefits and drawbacks to both. The best approach for you depends on your own wants and goals.

If you love being outdoors, appreciate the fresh air, enjoy varying scenery, and find it calming to connect with nature, running outside may be the answer. On the opposite side of things, a treadmill can be suitable if you desire a more regulated environment, have limited time or access to safe outdoor routes.

When it comes to injury prevention, each option has its own potential issues. Outdoors running may introduce uneven surfaces, obstacles, and bad weather, while too much treadmill use can cause overuse injuries and fail to provide the same feedback as natural terrain.To ensure both an enjoyable experience and safety from harm, try combining both indoor and outdoor running depending on your individual needs. Doing this will keep your workouts interesting and beneficial.

Overall, the best approach is to incorporate both outdoor and treadmill running into your routine, taking into consideration your individual needs and preferences. This can help keep your workouts varied and enjoyable while minimizing the risk of injury.

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