Running, in anyone’s book and in any form, is a great way to get exercise and to burn calories. Running engages every part of the body and is the most effective cardio for burning calories. But which method of running is better? Road running or treadmill?
Both versions certainly have their advantages (ever wanted to run in the rain when you can run inside in comfort on the treadmill?), however in terms of fitness, road running beats a treadmill run hands down. The reason is this: a road provides many undulating surfaces that a treadmill doesn’t. This means you are constantly engaging more muscles and naturally working harder than you would on a running machine. Secondly, when running outdoors, you face wind and other forms of resistance, which again pushes your body naturally to work harder, therefore burning more calories.
Running outside also has the added perks of fresh air (unless you are running along a major road), sunshine (hello Vitamin D) and differing scenery. There is no ‘off’ button on an outdoor run, so once you decide it is time to turn around, you have to come all the way back, and the faster you run, the sooner you are going to get home.
Treadmills however do have their perks. For one, you can get a run in rain, hail or shine. Secondly, you can set them to do intervals, hills climbs or just about any form of workout that floats your boat. Running on the treadmill however is easier than running outside. It is tempting to settle into a very basic pace on a treadmill and not challenge yourself. The numbers on the screen (calories, distance etc.) can act as a distraction also. I suggest covering the screen with a towel if possible and distract yourself with other things. If you are training for a running event however, treadmills can be put to excellent use. Speed training in particular is a great exercise that can assist in marathon training.
In the end, any running is better than no running, so it really comes down to personal preference. Keep this in mind however when you next embark on your run.