Running outside (Pros and Cons) vs Running on a treadmill (Pros and Cons)


Often, patients find themselves in situations whereby they are advised to engage in a workout as part of the treatment and recovery process. One such physical exercise involves running. In a related vein, individuals who seek to keep a fit body often engage in running. Running is considered to provide a person with several notable health benefits including those related to cardiovascular functioning (Ogueta-Alday, Morante, & García-López, 2013). However, many such persons tend to face the dilemma of having to choose whether to run outside or inside using a treadmill. Advancements in technology have made it increasingly possible for individuals to use treadmills to improve their physical health (Hitchings & Latham, 2016). The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis that compares the benefits of running outside with those of using the treadmill. In doing so, the exposition also highlights the significant shortcomings associated with either alternative.

Pros of Running Outside

Running outdoors is considered to have some benefits. For instance, it has been argued that running outside allows an individual to burn relatively more body fat as compared to using the treadmill. While running outside, a person has to make quick and sudden starts, as well as stops, in addition to changing the terrain from time to time (Heesch & Slivka, 2015). Such an individual is also likely to find himself or herself running against the wind. All these eventualities make running outside a more engaging activity. (Heesch & Slivka, 2015). The individual burns more calories as a result. Furthermore, running outside tends to be more demanding for a person. In particular, such an individual has to complete a certain physical distance as part of realizing the goal associated with the physical exercise. The need to achieve the goal is more demanding as compared to that of a treadmill where the individual can simply switch off the machine and get off thereby bringing the exercise to an end (Yeh, Stone, & Davids, 2017). Running outside also enjoys a person to enjoy the scenery in addition to leveraging the option of using different routes every other day. Therefore, it is evident that running outdoors has notable advantages.

Cons of Running Outside

Despite having significant benefits, running outside is also considered to have a few drawbacks. For example, a person who chooses to run outside has to deal with the prospect of maneuvering unpredictable terrains. The process can be unnecessarily challenging for an individual who would have otherwise preferred to utilize a uniform surface for the physical exercise (Yeh et al., 2017). Moreover, the weather plays a significant role in determining whether the physical activity would be successful and even whether an individual would be able to run in the first place. Unexpected changes in the weather could result in a person having to postpone the exercise and consequently, miss out on its health benefits (Weng & Chiang, 2014). Running is beneficial as an exercise when it is performed regularly and not once in a while. Weather disruptions could, therefore, have a negative impact on the ability of an individual to leverage the benefits of the exercise. Also, it is worth noting that running outside is more likely to result in a less effective workout. The case is especially prevalent in instances whereby the individual lacks access to a device that would otherwise notify them when they slow down (Heesch & Slivka, 2015). Understanding these shortcomings is, therefore, necessary for those who wish to consider the option of running outside.



Pros of Running on the Treadmill

An alternative to running outside would involve conducting the physical exercise indoors using a treadmill. The option, just as it is the case with that of running outdoors, has various advantages. For example, using the treadmill allows one to avoid the disruption that would otherwise be occasioned by unexpected changes in the weather (Keniger, Gaston, & Fuller, 2013). Such an individual would be in a position to proceed with the physical exercise irrespective of the existing weather condition. Running indoors also allows one to avoid unpredictable terrains while also monitoring factors such as the pace, distance, and calories (Keniger et al., 2013). The device allows the user to view their progress and even set a pace that is in line with their goals. A person training for a specific event could set a pace on the treadmill and use the machine to achieve the same. In a similar vein, an individual seeking to enhance his or her stamina endurance could also use the device to determine the ideal pace. Using the treadmill also allows the individual to avoid distractions in the environment which tend to slow down one’s pace (Yeh et al., 2017). Nonetheless, a user who prefers to train while also undertaking other activities such as watching the television would find the treadmill to be the appropriate option. Running indoors certainly has several benefits.

Cons of Running on the Treadmill

The option of using the treadmill also has a few notable shortcomings. For instance, running indoors can be boring for some. While having a constant environment helps an individual to avoid unpredictable changes in the terrain, it can also result in the exercise being tedious and lacking the necessary stimulation (Ogueta-Alday et al., 2013). Using the treadmill also requires that a person invests in such a device which can be costly for some. An alternative would involve using the machines owned by a local gym which would require that the individual pays a fee before accessing the same. Running indoors also eliminates other essential factors which are considered to be useful in helping an individual to maximize the full benefits of such an exercise. The wind is one such factor and persons who choose to use the treadmill do not experience the resistance that would otherwise be caused by running against the wind (Hitchings & Latham, 2016). Additionally, it has been noted that the cushioned surface that is typically used on conventional treadmills exposes a person to the risk of exerting undue stress on their hip, ankle, and knee joints (Heesch & Slivka, 2015). Such pressure could result in the individual experiencing injuries during the training. Persons who use the option of running indoors, therefore, need to take into account the various drawbacks associated with the same.


Running is undoubtedly good for an individual’s health. The physical exercise allows one to improve his or her overall cardiovascular health while also enhancing their stamina endurance. In many cases, a person may find it challenging to decide whether they should run outside or indoors using a treadmill. Each one of the alternatives has unique advantages, as well as notable shortcomings. Running outside allows an individual to leverage benefits that not accessible to those who choose to run indoors. Such benefits include those related to the person’s ability to burn more calories and to utilize different terrains. On the other hand, running indoors allows one to avoid unpredictable changes in the weather, as well as in the terrain. Clinicians, therefore, need to advise their clients accordingly regarding the benefits and drawbacks of each option.






Heesch, M. W., & Slivka, D. R. (2015). Running performance, pace strategy, and thermoregulation differ between a treadmill and indoor track. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 29(2), 330-335.

Hitchings, R., & Latham, A. (2016). Indoor versus outdoor running: understanding how recreational exercise comes to inhabit environments through practitioner talk. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 41(4), 503-514.

Keniger, L. E., Gaston, K. J., & Fuller, R. A. (2013). What are the benefits of interacting with nature? International journal of environmental research and public health, 10(3), 913-935.

Ogueta-Alday, A., Morante, J. C., & García-López, J. (2013). Validation of a new method to measure contact and flight times during treadmill running. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 27(5), 1455-1462.

Weng, P. Y., & Chiang, Y. C. (2014). Psychological restoration through indoor and outdoor leisure activities. Journal of Leisure Research, 46(2), 203-217.

Yeh, H. P., Stone, J. A., & Davids, K. (2017). Physical and emotional benefits of different exercise environments designed for treadmill running. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(7), 752.



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