Treadmill Running vs. Road Running

The pros and cons of running indoors and outdoors

Fitness Facts

Treadmill Running vs. Road Running

The pros and cons of each

-The Betty Editors

The summer sun is scorching and if your only time to run is during the middle of the day, you may find yourself putting more miles on the treadmill these days than out on the road. So what’s the difference? Is one better than the other? Are you getting as good of a workout when you’re confined the human hamster wheel?

We caught up with Dr. Jeannette Anderson, a chiropractor for U.S. Track & Field and a private practitioner in New York, to find out the facts.

Is running on a treadmill as good a workout as running outdoors?

Dr. Anderson: Running on a treadmill doesn’t have to be like the hamster wheel from hell. You can vary the experience because you have inclines, speed changes and different workouts that are already programmed in. It’s a controlled environment, and you can work on your form. The treadmill keeps you honest too. If you set it for 9-minute miles, you have to keep up.

What are the benefits of running outside?

Dr. Anderson: There’s a reason why it’s called fresh air, which can be good or bad. Scenery of any kind sure beats the gym wall and may be more motivating. But running in heavily trafficked areas isn’t good either with all of the pollution and safety concerns

Which one burns more calories?

Dr. Anderson: Since a treadmill keeps you honest on your speed, you could potentially burn more calories that way. However, if it’s hot and humid outside, you’ll burn more running a shorter distance there.

Do I need different pairs of shoes for the treadmill and outdoor running?

Dr. Anderson: You’ve got umpteen pairs of black heels, but so many women have just one pair of running shoes! You should always have two pair of the same shoe. It doesn’t matter if you use them inside or outside. Rotate them every other run or a couple of times per week.

How can I make the treadmill more bearable?

Dr. Anderson: Let’s face it, the treadmill can be boring as hell, but you shouldn’t shun it. It’s often a safer and easier option in bad weather or if the only time you can find to run is before the sun rises or after it sets. Try listening to music or watching TV while you run to make up for the lack of scenery. Vary your workouts and try to work on your form and gait. And if all else fails, you can always check out the hot guy on the treadmill next to yours.

Dr. Jeannette Anderson. Dr. Anderson is a chiropractor for U.S. Track & Field as well as being in private practice in NYC–Anderson Peak Performance. She was team chiropractor for the 2004 US Track & Field team in Athens, Greece. Dr. Anderson is a runner in her own right, completing 9 NYC marathons and 4 more in Chicago and Boston, logging a personal best of 3:25:51. Dr. Anderson is also an avid skier, cyclist and triathlete. She treats patients of all kinds from couch potato to elite athlete.

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