Is It Better to Run on a Treadmill or Outside?


Running is an excellent form of cardio exercise that provides many health benefits. However, if you are faced with the decision of running on a treadmill or outside, you may be wondering if there are any differences between the two. In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of running on a treadmill versus running outside.

Running on a Treadmill

Running on a treadmill is a popular option for many people, especially during the colder months. Treadmills offer a controlled environment with adjustable speeds and inclines, allowing you to customize your workout to your fitness level. Additionally, treadmills are more forgiving on your joints and reduce the risk of injury compared to running on hard pavement.

However, there are some drawbacks to running on a treadmill. For instance, running on a treadmill can be monotonous and boring, which may lead to a lack of motivation. Furthermore, treadmills can be expensive and may not be accessible to everyone.

Running Outside

Running outside provides a different experience altogether. Fresh air and sunshine can be invigorating, and nature can offer a variety of terrains to challenge your workout. Moreover, running outside is often cheaper than using a treadmill and can be done anywhere.

Nevertheless, there are some downsides to running outside. For example, running on uneven terrain can increase the risk of injury, and you may encounter adverse weather conditions such as rain, wind, or extreme temperatures. Furthermore, you have less control over your environment and may need to carry your supplies with you.

Comparing the Two

Now that we’ve explored the advantages and disadvantages of running on a treadmill and outside, let’s take a look at some specific data to compare the two. A study conducted by the University of Brighton found that running on a treadmill was less physically demanding than running outside, as the treadmill belt assists with forward propulsion, resulting in less muscle activation in the legs.

However, a study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that outdoor running burns more calories than treadmill running at the same speed. The study found that outdoor running resulted in a higher heart rate and oxygen consumption, which leads to more calories burned.


Overall, the decision of whether to run on a treadmill or outside comes down to personal preference and circumstances. Both options offer their own unique benefits as well as drawbacks. If you prefer the convenience and controlled environment of a treadmill, then that may be the best option for you. However, if you enjoy the fresh air and variety of outdoor running, then that may be the better choice. The most important thing is to find a form of exercise that you enjoy and can stick to in the long run.