running outside vs treadmill

Running on a Treadmill vs Outside: Which Option Burns More Calories?

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Running is a wonderful cardiovascular exercise and one most people pursue at one point or another.

If you want to build stamina, feel good, and have a healthier heart then running has to be on your list of workout options.

While all of this is important, a lot of people get stuck when it comes to running the right way. Some will want to hop onto a machine while others are going to run on a nearby trail. Keeping this in mind, you are going to be left wondering which one tends to burn more calories.

Here is a deeper dive into this question while also looking at the benefits of both options.

Running Outside vs on a Treadmill: What’s Better for Burning Calories

When you are thinking about choosing the right way to run, you will come across two options – treadmills or running outside.

This is normal and it is something you are going to have to think about in great detail.

In general, running outside tends to involve a variety of environments and experiences. It also tends to bring along with it constantly changing surfaces.

Studies show the average person tends to lose 3-7% more calories by running outside for the same length of time in comparison to on a treadmill [1].

However, this also depends on the type of machine and the amount of resistance. It is important to keep things as equal as possible to hit those metrics.

Benefits of Running Outside

  • Increased Challenge Due To Natural Elements

The natural elements are going to provide a unique twist.

You are going to start to deal with wind resistance, hills, changing elevations, unique surfaces, and natural hurdles that come along while running.

Each aspect of this is something that will add to your experience as a runner. It will make it harder and that is why running outdoors is an increasingly challenging proposition.

  • Unique Routes

The routes that you are going to end up taking will be unique.

This is key when it comes to understanding how you are going to be running when outdoors. You end up having to take a unique route each day and even the same route will be different.

This includes weather conditions, people, and other hurdles that pop up.

  • Psychologically Engaging

This tends to be one of the more psychologically engaging activities when it comes to running.

When you run outdoors, you are going to be working on your mental focus too. This is key when it comes to staying healthy.

The benefits include:

  • Constant Energy Boost
  • Easier to Turn Into a Lifestyle
  • Faster Results

It is just as important to work on your brain as any other part of the human body.

By running outdoors, you are going to have a relaxed experience as you jog at the pace that you prefer.

  • Immediate Speed Changes

If you are someone that wants to change speed, you won’t like the idea of having to toggle through speed settings on a treadmill.

This can be difficult and waste a lot of time.

As a result, you will enjoy the immediate speed changes while running outdoors. You can just start sprinting harder in a matter of milliseconds. It is that easy.

  • Natural Development

There is a sense of natural development that comes along with running outdoors.

For example, you are going to get the opportunity to run as fast as you want and it is going to be in line with what you are after.

You will start to see progression regardless of the route you are taking. It will be something that builds your body and stamina.

Benefits of Running on a Treadmill

  • Eliminates Weather-Related Concerns

The main benefit has to do with ignoring the weather.

You won’t have to deal with wind as long as the treadmill is indoors. This is great because a lot of places are in colder climates and that makes it harder to run.

Whether you want to run in the day or night, this will be a consistent option.

  • Consistent Surface

The surface is going to be softer and much more consistent.

This is ideal for those who don’t want joint pain and prefer running on a surface that doesn’t change texture all of a sudden.

The benefits include:

  • Easier on the Joints
  • Easier to Run
  • Ideal for Resistance and Progression

It is a lot easier to manage on a running belt.

It is just going to work better and you are going to have a much easier time of things as you start running regularly.

RELATED READING: Review of the Echelon Stride Folding Treadmill

  • Easier to Modify Incline

If you are someone that doesn’t want to find a hill in town to run incline sprints, you have to think about going with a treadmill.

The treadmill will make it easier to adjust the settings and get the incline to be the way you want it to be.

  • Simpler Tracking

Most of the data is laid out in front of you with treadmills.

This makes it easier to know your distance covered and other relevant metrics in one place. For those who prefer data, this is a good place to start.

  • Easier to Customize

One of the core details that get mentioned when it comes to running on a treadmill has to do with overall health including your posture.

Studies show running on a treadmill is good for your postural strength and will lead to improvements in your overall well-being due to the softer surface [2]. This is important for those who tend to run a lot and want to limit some of the damage that is done to their joints.

If that is something you relate to, it makes sense to go down this path. The treadmill is simply better in this regard and offers a better chance to personalize the experience.

Need to Stay Inside? Consider an Air Runner for a More Realistic Indoor Experience

The Air Runner is a masterpiece.

This is a top-of-the-line motorless treadmill that is perfect for providing the best of both worlds. If you are someone that wants to enjoy the uniqueness of running outdoors while still gaining access to a good gym machine, this is a great fit.

It has a curved design that makes it a much better surface to run on. It has a more natural curve that limits the damage to your joints.

Key features include:

  • Motorless Design
  • Eco-Friendly
  • Built-In Transport Wheels

If you are thinking about going with a high-quality machine for your home gym then it is best to start here with the Air Runner.

This is the real deal and a good fit for those who want to take advantage of a modern machine.

RELATED READING: TrueForm Treadmill Review 

Final Thoughts: How to Decide Which Option is Best for You

When it comes to running, you are going to have a few goals in mind.

One of those goals will be to shed weight and burn as many calories as possible. This is a common requirement and that is okay.

The goal should always be to make sure you are running with a purpose and finding a solution that is in line with your workout goals. In this case, the treadmill is a good option and will burn quite a few calories as long as you are patient.

If you take the time to plan your workout sessions, you are going to see impressive results especially with a machine such as the Air Runner.

References

  1. https://www.active.com/running/articles/6-benefits-of-running
  2. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-running-can-benefit-your-back/