Fitness & Exercise

Is It Better Running On A Treadmill Or Outside?

Is It Better Running On A Treadmill Or Outside?
Written by Collins Nwokolo

The debate over outdoor running vs. treadmill is an old one. People are always skeptical when it comes to the real thing and the imitation even when the difference doesn’t have any noticeable effect. You always here people ask, is it better running on a treadmill or outside? The answer to that question depends on a number of factors.

Running on a treadmill, however, has its own advantage just as running outdoor has its own. As such, in any argument for or against either of both methods, the users’ focus and goal will ultimately determine the winner.

For instance, if you are more focused on improving your stability while running, running outdoors will help you more in achieving your goal rather than running on a treadmill. Unlike the treadmill, outdoor running forces you to navigate through an ever-changing terrain, which in turn will help improve your stability as your body is forced to adapt to the terrain at most every step you take while running.
On the other hand, if your goal is to sustain speed and improve your overall performance, then running on a treadmill is your best bet as it provides a way for you to measure your performance all through the race while adjusting speed settings to take you over to the next level of challenge.

There is really no right or wrong answer in the treadmill vs. outdoor running debate. It is all based on what you want. As such, when deciding to go for a particular activity, you might want to take out a few minutes to take about your goals and what you want to achieve by the end of the exercise.

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Treadmill vs. Outdoor running: 5 things to consider before making a choice

If you have wondered: Is it better running on a treadmill or outside? Then these five points will help you decide which might be best for you.

Is It Better Running On A Treadmill Or Outside?


When it comes to safety, running indoor on your treadmill is a lot safer than running outdoor. A study conducted by the University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands shows that knee injury is by far the commonest sports injury in outdoor running. If you have been injured, you can learn about 10 active tips for running after an injury.

While the same can occur on a treadmill, the chances are considerably lower. In addition to increased chances of having bodily injuries during a workout session, running outdoors also exposes runners to a potential collision with cyclists, cars, dogs, etc.

Weather condition

This is obviously a pro for treadmill running, but weather conditions can also help you prepare ahead for an outdoor competition.

When it comes to running outdoors, you will need to take into account the weather condition, and sometimes when it gets too hot, windy, or rainy, you most likely won’t want to hit the road. On a treadmill, you won’t have to worry much about the changing weather condition as you can easily cool your room space to provide the necessary condition for optimum performance.

Elements of weather such as windy and sunshine, however, help you to prepare for a real outdoor race. Your body tends to get used to wind resistance and can easily increase speed to match the resistance once it is sufficiently trained – something you cannot get on the treadmill.

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Building up energy

Athletes can build the same energy level regardless of the route they choose when it comes to running outdoor or on a treadmill. This is because energy level buildup during a workout session is most often based on the perceived exertion rather than on the type of activity.

Perceived exertion deals with how hard you feel a task is. Perceived exertion has been clinically proven, and if your expectation is that outdoor running will be harder than indoor running, then your body will respond to that thought and prepare to work harder than when it is running on a treadmill.

Is It Better Running On A Treadmill Or Outside?

Building speed

When it comes to building and maintaining your speed, outdoor running cannot compare to running on a treadmill.

For one, treadmills are specially equipped to help you to train to become faster and quicker. There are different levels that you can adjust them to, and there are also meters to measure your speed once you start running – something that you can hardly get when running outdoor.


Running outdoor is a lot less expensive compared to running on a treadmill. For one, you do not need a gym membership card to hit the road and sweat it off, neither do you need to pay a ridiculous sum to buy and ship the road to your backyard, unlike the treadmill.


Bottom Line

In the end, it is really up to you to decide on the method you want to use based on your personal goal, and it really isn’t a bad idea to have both at your disposal. Whether, you’re running outdoors or on a treadmill you’re exercising and that’s the most important thing.

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About the author

Collins Nwokolo

Collins Nwokolo is a passionate blogger and an amazing writer. He is a health and fitness enthusiast who loves sharing helpful information to people.

1 Comment

  • During the period of this lockdown going outside for a walk or going for running is dangerous. If you have treadmill in the house its better to use the treadmill.

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