Comparison: Treadmill vs Outdoor Running

12 August 2018

While all runners agree that running is good for you, there is a serious debate going on about who is actually doing it right – outdoor runners or gym rats? Here at Think Sport we have decided to put a stop to all the fighting with this final showdown that will announce the winner once and for all.

Round 1: Calories Burned

Since wind resistance in a gym is practically non-existent, it is easy to claim that running outside is way more efficient when it comes to burning calories. Yet all treadmill enthusiasts know that that is not necessarily the case. Simply setting your treadmill to a 1% gradient matches the effort of fighting the wind when running outside.

Treadmills are a staple of gyms and are often used for weight loss

Furthermore, a treadmill makes it possible for you to really push your limits. With a simple press of a button, the speeding belt forces you to pick up your pace and get active. On the other hand, it takes a lot more determination to speed-up outside, especially after a long day.

Winner: Treadmill, as long as you use it to push yourself

Round 2: Effects on the Body

Running on a treadmill reduces the impact on your joints and is easier on your body. It is also a lot more adaptable than the hard pavement, which makes it ideal for people recovering from an injury and all those who are only starting out their fitness journeys.

The counterpoint to this is that running on variable ground, such as that found in the great outdoors, helps to make your body more adaptable to change, which strengthens your biometrics in the long run. On a treadmill, you will not encounter hazards such as cambered ground or uneven surfaces and this means that your running is far less fluid and adaptable to unexpected issues.

If you're worried about the state of your body, however, a treadmill is probably your best bet, all things considered.

Winner: Treadmill

Treadmills are easy on the joints

Round 3: Convenience

The most obvious benefit of treadmill running is, of course, its convenience. It allows you to run undisturbed for miles and miles on rainy evenings, hot summer days and cold winter mornings.

After the experience of running down crowded city streets, dodging cars, cyclists and angry commuters, the experience of running on a treadmill is a peaceful and simple one. is what makes one truly appreciate the feeling of complete safety that using a treadmill offers, anyone is happy when the only thing they get to focus on is their run.

Winner: Treadmill

Round 4: Progress Tracking

A treadmill allows you to be completely in control when running, which can be especially important if you are serious about improving your results.

You can see exactly how fast you are going, how many calories you are burning and how many miles you still have to go. All of this can be not only useful when trying to improve your performance, but incredibly motivating as well.

Winner: Treadmill

Round 5: General Well-Being

Outdoor running
Every runner's dream

Running in the great outdoors, being close to nature and filling your lungs with fresh air will drastically increase your quality of life. Sadly, not everyone has the opportunity to go for a run in the woods and become one with nature.

Still, when it comes to general well-being of not only our bodies, but our entire being, running in a confined, air-conditioned space is probably best to be avoided.

Winner: Outdoor Running

The Verdict: Treadmill

Going for a refreshing run once in a blue moon, when the weather is just perfect and the time is on our side, is every runner's ultimate dream, but more often than not, we also need to factor in our actual surroundings, safety, the weather and our commitment to reaching our personal goals. 

While running outside and spending quality time with ourselves is the definite winner when it comes to improving the quality of life, running on a treadmill has significant advantages in terms of practical everyday training.

If you prefer running outdoors, explore our broad selection of Long Distance Running products at Think Sport.

All the fans of treadmill running, feel free to check out our treadmill selection.

Are you a fan of running outside or do you prefer a structured workout on the treadmill? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook or Twitter.