Treadmill vs Running Outside: Which One is Better for Runners?

Treadmill vs Running Outside: Which One is Better for Runners?

Treadmill vs Running Outside

Treadmill vs Running Outside: The debate whether running outside is better or running on a treadmill is better is not a new one. Is running on a treadmill is as good, healthy and effective as running outside?  We asked this question from Sports Cardiologist Dr. Norberto Debbag.

Running is a highly recommended aerobic exercise to take care of your health. It is an activity that is not complex and that helps oxygen consumption that is why it is so useful to improve cardiovascular conditioning and lower the risk of stroke or an acute myocardial infarction.

Dr. Noberto Debbag explains Treadmill vs Running Outside very well.

“In either of the two ways, the important thing is to move. Both are useful, it depends on what you are going to use them for. But fundamentally the modality of the running outside is the one used because it can be a recreational sport but also a more complete exercise for the one that seeks to train and one takes it much better than being locked in a gym or in a room, “said the sportsman.

Treadmill vs Running Outside: Which one is Best for me?

Running outdoors is better than running on the treadmill because this way allows us to get accustomed to nature and climate that we normally face in competition.

Treadmill vs Running Outside

Treadmill vs Running Outside

However, while many experts say that running outside provides more effective training but running on the treadmill can also be good for your training as an athlete. Check out these benefits of running on the treadmill and running outside.

Pros and Cons of Running on the Treadmill

The treadmill is for people who often have little time, embarrassment to go out or elderly people who are afraid of injuries. In addition, it is necessary to have a certain economic level to acquire the machine and have it at home or pay a fee to go to the gym.


  • Available 24/7, even when it’s cold, wet and dark outside.
  • Treadmill running is easier on the joints than outside running.
  • It allows measuring the distance, the speed or even calculating the calorie consumption.
  • Reduces impact injuries on the legs, so it is used more in rehabilitation when a patient wants to rehabilitate the knee or a muscle tear.
  • Avoid the inclemency of the weather, at home or in the gym, the air conditioning protects against heat shocks and when indoors, the rain is not a nuisance.

Pros and Cons of Running Outdoors

Going outside for a run is a free activity, accessible and in which one can mark their own schedules. However, it has wind resistance that can hinder the start of the activity and also is not protected from weather conditions. Rain can cause falls and high temperatures can lead to dehydration or heat stroke. In addition, there are more chances of suffering injuries, mainly due to the impact of the roads on the knees.


  • It stimulates contact with the outside.
  • Reduces the chances of getting bored with the activity.
  • The strength of the legs is worked more and a more complete exercise is carried out because many more muscle groups are going to be moved than on the treadmill.
  • Reduces stress from contact with the outside.
  • There is no speed limit, as it exists in the running machine.
  • When we running outsides, we burn 4-6% extra calories than we run in a treadmill.
  • Outdoors runners get vitamins D from sunlight. Vitamins D an important nutrient, which helps us feels great and also fights against cancer, bone deterioration, and seasonal depression disorder.
  • Being outdoors increase anti-aging factors by at least 35%.
  • Research published by The Journal of Aging and Health found that spending time outdoors even helps people suffering from dementia and other diseases more commonly found among the elders.

What precaution should be taken in both cases?

  • Before running outside or in the gym, you need to have clinical approval and you must inform your doctor about the activity you are going to carry out.
  • Wear suitable shoes and clothing for running.
  • If you are going to run outside, try not to do it with intense rain, low temperature or extreme heat.
  • If possible, have a nutritional control.

BBC Video Report On Running on a Treadmill vs Running Outside


For me, Treadmill vs Running Outside summary is that running outside is much better than doing it in a gym. This is totally because, by nature and simple biomechanics. Your body will strive 100% or more to achieve its best performance and keep you strong and healthy.

The experience of running among trees, with the airbrushing your face. The humidity of the environment and the smell of the leaves is simply UNIQUE. But difficult to reproduce daily when you have an office job, children, social commitments, etc. The best place to run, in the end, is the one that is most practical and comfortable for you. And running on a treadmill is not as bad as many people think. So take advantage of it during the week and on the weekends visit a park or forest to make long distances.

The idea is to choose the option that you enjoy the most and that fits your needs, and even combine them if it is useful. Anyway, running outdoors brings benefits at an emotional and sensory level that the treadmill does not, and that result in a more complete experience.

As you can see, both exercises have their advantages and disadvantages and it is up to you to choose which ones are best for your level of motivation, physical ability and desire to leave everything running and sweating.

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