"Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture the heart"
Ancient Indian Proverb

Natural Health

Getting a treadmill for use at home is as cheap and easy as it’s ever been. Exercising in your own home and in any weather appeals to most of us, compared to having to hit the road in miserable weather to keep up with your routine. So which is best? Is the treadmill a replacement for going outside?

Benefits Of The Treadmill

The most obvious benefit of treadmill training is the fact you can run in any weather. Come rain or shine, you’re safe in the knowledge to won’t be getting wet. Apart from the obvious fact that you’re probably going to be happier running in the dry, it’s also safer. Running in wet weather can be dangerous, and it’s easy to slip no matter how careful you are or how grippy your shoes are. If it’s icy outside, you can’t really run at all.

The treadmill can also make your training much more enjoyable if you don’t have any nice trails to run. On the treadmill, you don’t have to stop at roads for cars. Neither do you have to dodge pedestrians (or dog poo!). You can also watch TV or read a book on a treadmill as you don’t have to keep an eye on where you’re going!

A treadmill’s belt is even and constant, which allows you to practice other important factors in your run. If you are training for a marathon, you can practice your fluid intakes. You can practice drinking water without slowing down, as well as your carb gels.

Training for a marathon that will be in an area you don’t usually train can be made easier with a treadmill. If you are planning on doing the Boston marathon, but you live in New York City, you will have no way of preparing yourself for Heartbreak Hill. With a treadmill, you can set the angle of the incline to simulate going uphill. You can even get little blocks to lift the rear of the treadmill to simulate running downhill (which really punishes your quads).

Benefits Of Road And Trail Running

While the treadmill might have some unique benefits, running outdoors can be a lot better for your mental training. Feeling the wind on your face and the scenery fly by breaks up the monotony of the run. You will find that time goes quicker when you’re out in the open, and you know when the finish line is coming up (rather than watching the clock).

Different terrains require a slightly different running technique. Running on the road, and on dirt trail or grass has a different feel, neither of which a treadmill can simulate. The treadmill’s feel is constant, and slightly springy – not something you encounter during a race.

When running cross country, you have to be more alert than on the treadmill, as the little mounds and potholes require extra balance and coordination. Running off the beaten track, on softer surfaces, reduces the impact on your joints and muscles, which can make the route more enjoyable.

Running outside is free! After you have bought yourself a good pair of trainers, and running accessories such as an MP3 player, you don’t have any recurring costs. The treadmill will require an upfront cost, and a maintenance fee (such as electricity costs and lubrication).

Treadmill vs. Road And Outdoor – Which Is Best?

It’s clear that they both have their merits. The main positive for using a treadmill is that you can track your progress with more accuracy in the comfort of your own home. However, the treadmill is not an accurate reflection of running outdoors, and it would be wise to do a mixture of both treadmill running, and outdoor running to get the best benefit from your workouts. The treadmill isn’t a replacement for outdoor running, but it certainly is an important tool in the workout chain.


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