Running Treadmill vs Outside

Indoor running or outdoor running, which one do you prefer? Which one is the best for you? Running outside or on the treadmill offer similar benefits but they are not the same due to the different natures of outdoors & on a treadmill. In this article, we will look at the pros & cons of treadmill running vs the pros & cons of outdoor running.

Treadmill Running Workout

Since time immemorial, treadmills have been very popular cardio machines used at home & in the gym. Let’s look at some of their benefits & drawbacks.

Benefits of using treadmill:

1. They can be used indoors, which eliminates the climate factor. Who wants to go out running when it’s hot during the summer or during winter with snow on the ground & you barely have anywhere to run?

2. There a lot of buttons on the treadmill that allow the user to change adjust the settings on the machine which will allow for a user to replicate different conditions. Running on an incline helps build strength & endurance.

3. The screen on the treadmill allows a user to keep track & maintain a steady running pace.

4. It’s very convenient to own a machine like this which allows you to run on your own time.

5. You can listen to music or watch TV while running on the treadmill.

6. It’s safe. In terms of not getting hit with a car while running or on the joints in your body, treadmills offer a better shock absorption than pavements, which means less stress on your ankles & knees.

Drawbacks of using treadmill:

1. Boredom is one of the big downsides to using a treadmill.

2. While it’s safe, you can still get hurt while running on a treadmill.

3. The belt propulsion limits you hamstring & glutes from getting a workout.

4. Your body coordination will not improve.

5. If you go to a gym & it’s crowded, you must wait for a machine to be available limiting you to a set schedule, so you don’t have to wait.

6. Can’t reproduce downhill running.

Outside Running

When running outside, you have the option of a track, a trail or on your local pavement road. Let’s look at some of their benefits & drawbacks.

Benefits of running outside:

1. It’s absolutely free & is a time saver. If you can’t afford to buy a treadmill or join a gym, this will be best for you. Also, running outside is not as crowded as the gym sometimes is, allowing you not to have a set schedule.

2. The change of scenery is welcome; you have the option of choosing different routes.

3. Body coordination & balance will improve your ability to do other tasks.

4. Breathing in Fresh Air while running is the best feeling you can imagine.

Image by Skeeze from Pixabay

Image by Skeeze from Pixabay

5. Research shows you will be burning more calories.

6. It can be inspiring to complete a certain goal distance.

7. It helps build bone density.

Drawbacks of Running Outside

1. Weather can be a limiting factor; too much heat or too cold during winter.

2. There is a higher risk of injury compared to treadmill running.

3. There are a lot of hazards such as cars, cyclists, dogs (I have been chased a few times, lol), that make it dangerous running outside.


Which one is better for you ultimately depends on what you prefer. Treadmill running is safer for you, weather is not a limiting factor, you can workout whenever you want & you can watch TV or listen to music while running. The downsides to treadmill running are boredom, no downhill running, hamstrings & glutes don’t get a workout & there is still a risk of getting hurt. When it comes to running, the pros of running are: you get to breathe in fresh air, you have more options in terms of routes, you get to burn more calories, helps build bone density & it can be inspiring to achieve your goal. The downsides to outside running are, it can be very dangerous (dogs, cars, cyclists), there is the chance of getting injured and weather is a big deciding factor on whether you can exercise outside. I have tried both treadmill running & outside running & my personal preference is outside running. I usually ensure that I have comfortable shoes on before my run. If you don’t have good running shoes, you experience will be very uncomfortable no matter which one you pick. Which one do you prefer, treadmill running or outside running? Leave your comment below.

12 thoughts on “Running Treadmill vs Outside”

  1. Fred Ota says:

    I would rather run outside and take in the fresh air and scenery. I normally choose a park or a soccer field at around 5 pm.
    Treadmills are a great alternative but may be cheaper to use it at the gym.
    Both options have pros and cons. Great article.

    1. Ray Rooney says:

      I run at my local park too. Thanks for sharing visiting.

  2. carol says:

    I love the outdoors. With fresh air and the joy that nature brings, I am not ready to give up that for a treadmill indoors. However, whenit is cold or rainy, I do wish I had a treadmill though. For this reason, I am thinking seriously about getting one.

    1. Ray Rooney says:

      Thanks for visiting. Good luck buying a treadmill if you decide to get one.

  3. Audrey says:

    Very interesting post. I am myself a runner (I run between 3 to 5 times a week) and this is a question I already asked myself, outdoor or indoor?

    I would say that my favorite is outdoor because when I run it’s 6 am and there is absolutely no one on the road or outside, the small city I live in is still asleep. Plus, the fresh air is very fresh, this feeling is so cool.

    Although the weather is still a challenge and when it’s raining I don’t like to go outside. I try to fix my running day when it’s sunny.

    Thank you for sharing this, I’ll probably more consider the indoor running now 🙂

    1. Ray Rooney says:

      Glad you enjoyed the article.

  4. Jaron Goh says:

    Although I instinctively take to running outdoors as a preferred running option, I never really thought about the downsides of a treadmill relating to the belt propulsion. You really do learn something new everyday! I do get bored on a treadmill and even though I can pace myself, unless I get “into the zone” I typically don’t want to spend more than a half hour on it!

    I think a slight downside to running outside is the pollution. I try to avoid running beside the road where possible and thankfully London has decent options when it comes to that!

  5. Nathan says:

    I appreciate your insight with this topic. I am a fan of running in the outdoors, but I can also see the benefits of running on a treadmill. Thanks for your post.

    1. Ray Rooney says:

      Thanks for visiting.

  6. Marius says:

    Great article Ray, I really enjoyed how you listed the pros and cons of both running on the treadmill and outside running. I personally prefer running outside, because like you said it’s really nice to change the scenery and have fresh air at the same time, which will benefit my health more. I find it very boring to run on the treadmill at the gym, even if you can watch tv there. So I do the weight training at the gym and running outside with my smartwatch which tells me everything I need to know, like calories burned, distanced and my heart rate. Thank you for sharing this informative article.

    1. Ray Rooney says:

      Glad you enjoyed reading the article.

  7. Sherline says:

    I definitely prefer to run on the treadmill. This was a great article!

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