Running on a Treadmill vs Hitting the Road: Which One Is Better?

Jogging in PerthJogging outside and running on a treadmill use the same muscle groups, but is there a big difference between road running and treadmill running? Whilst both require the same forward movement and help improve cardiovascular fitness, there are some obvious and not-so-obvious differences between outdoor jogging and running on a treadmill.

Psychological Demands

If you jog outside, you need to increase your effort to run the same distance as you do on a treadmill. This is because of the external factors of jogging, including terrain and wind resistance. Fitness companies, such as, say that the moving belt on a treadmill promotes faster foot movement, allowing the user to run faster than he normally does outdoors.

The treadmill also has less impact on the joints than when jogging outdoors. This is because you land with a flatter foot placement and within a constant surface. In addition, the treadmill is more comfortable for running because the equipment allows you to run within the confines of your home or room, with the same constant temperature and humidity.

Cognitive Influences

Mood and motivation play a major role in achieving your fitness goals. A treadmill gives you motivation by allowing you to see your progress on its informational displays. This pushes you to train harder and boosts your morale. Meanwhile, some people prefer to run outside because of the refreshing ambiance of nature and other factors that affect their motivation.

Calorie Burning Difference

Calorie burning is always an issue between running outside and running on a treadmill. Although there are many opinions from different people, fitness professionals believe that running outside burns more calories than on a treadmill. One of the factors is that road running requires a greater rate of oxygen consumption.

Roads and concrete pavements are not as flat as a treadmill, which means it could be more difficult to run and to maintain your posture. However, if you want to burn more calories in treadmill running, you can adjust the incline and increase the intensity of your pace.

A treadmill is a great training equipment, especially for those who live in environments with harsh weather. However, running outside offers more challenging surfaces, which enhance your physical skills.