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While running outside and running on a treadmill give you the same basic workout, each option has advantages over the other. It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of each option and decide which is best for you.

Running Outside

You wouldn’t think that being outdoors would make a big difference in your daily run, but it turns out that running outside is physically more difficult than running on a treadmill. Running outside mostly places you on asphalt and other hard surfaces, which can reinforce the bones in your feet and legs a little more than running on a tread would. You also have to propel yourself forward when you run outdoors, which provides more muscle activation. At least some of this work is done for you when you run on a treadmill, which is why running outdoors feels like harder work.

Running outdoors is also more mentally stimulating than running on a treadmill. Simply being out in nature and experiencing weather changes can make running outdoors much more enjoyable and exciting than being on a treadmill. Then again, you are at the mercy of the weather when you run outside since cold temperatures or heavy rain can ruin your running plans pretty quickly.

Running on a Treadmill

The biggest advantage of running on a treadmill is that it places you in a controlled environment. You can run on a treadmill for as long as you want whenever you want. You don’t have to worry about some nasty weather ruining your jogging plans, nor do you have to worry about being in the way of other runners, walkers, and bikers who are using the same path as you. You can just adjust your treadmill to your preferred setting and start running.

On the other hand, running on a treadmill does rob you of being outdoors and seeing a beautiful nature trail on a sunny day. That kind of environment can make any run more fun and exciting. When you are simply running on a treadmill in a basement or an apartment, it’s easy to get bored very quickly. Running on a treadmill might be physically easier, but it can be mentally tougher if you have nothing to distract you from your physical exhaustion.

In the end, there is no one “right” way to go for a run. Running outside may technically be better since it lets you enjoy being outdoors while forcing you to work harder, but running outside isn’t always an option. There will be times when it’s raining or too cold to run outside, and that will be when having a treadmill will come in handy.