Which Burns More Calories: Running Outside vs. on a Treadmill?

There is some scientific evidence that proves that you can burn more calories when running outside versus running indoors. However, there is some controversy on the issue. You can burn just as many calories running on a treadmill as running outdoors, but you will put more time into doing it. Running on a treadmill allows you to easily monitor and adjust your speed as well as the resistance. These functions will allow you to burn calories as if you were running outside in the natural elements.

Indoors vs. Outdoors

When you run outdoors, it is said that your exercise is more intense. This means that you burn more calories. Running on a treadmill does not seem to be as intense, but some say it is safer because you reduce your chances of having an injury. For this reason, you may be able to run faster and for a longer period of time. Running outside in cooler weather burns even more calories. You layer up on your clothes and this makes your body work even harder, therefore you burn more calories. You will burn more calories outdoors running than inside on a treadmill if you run for the same amount of time.

Added Benefits?

Running outdoors can cause you to burn five percent more calories than running on a treadmill. Outdoors causes wind resistance which, in turn, causes the runner to work a bit harder. Treadmills are usually set to a pace and incline so you have to adjust a treadmill to change results. Running outdoors, you just have to run and you usually run on different types of terrain. So, because your element is consistently changing when running outside, you typically burn more calories.

Pavement vs. Treadmill

Running on the pavement causes your body to work harder than if you run on a treadmill. This type of resistance causes your body to burn more calories and at a faster rate. It is important that when running out on the pavement, you have the appropriate running shoes on that can absorb the shock associated with your feet hitting the hard pavement. Having on the wrong kind of footwear can cause pain to your feet and legs.

So, Why Run on a Treadmill?

Running on a treadmill is still great exercise. It reduces your risk of stress fractures and other injuries by as much as 50 percent compared to running outdoors. The weather does not always allow you to run outdoors, so a treadmill is a great way to still get in your running. If you run on a treadmill, just be sure to run longer than you normally would outdoors to be sure that you are burning the same amount of calories. If you normally run outdoors for an hour, then you should run on the treadmill for about an hour and a half to make up for the calories. Ultimately, exercise is important no matter how you do it, whether it is indoors or outdoors.


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