Saturday, 22 August 2015

Treadmill or Road Running?

Gym Or Outdoors? 

Where do you do your exercise? Inside a gym, or out in nature?

There are definite benefits to exercise, no one doubts that statement. BUT, is there a benefit to being outside or is there a benefit to being in the gym?

I know, if  you're like me, running (or walking) on the treadmill is just not the same!  I'm very thankful that my treadmill allows me to be in nature at the same time as being on the treadmill, a truly integrated gym I believe!

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However, that's not always the case for everyone. So, here are some reasons why it's good to get outside into the outdoors:

  1. Treadmills can alter your running form
  2. Treadmills don't properly activate your posterior muscle groups
  3. Running outside is more enjoyable
  4. Running on treadmills burns less energy

Treadmills alter your running form
When you run on a treadmill, you take longer strides. Also, your method of speeding up is different on the treadmill, your ground speeds up as well as you!  So, running on ground that is variable is better for your technique.  I agree, I seem to be able to 'run further' on a treadmill than I actually do on the road.

Treadmills don't properly activate your posterior muscle groups
Running on a treadmill reduces your hip extension, this, combined with sitting more in your workplace, can lead to less bottom workouts, and possibly more injuries!  When I trained for my half marathon, I found that I transistioned poorly from the treadmill to the road, it created some sore gluteal muscles, and that affected my training, now I know why! The change of extension!!

Running outside is more enjoyable
It can feel like a chore, or that you're trapped when you are running on a treadmill in the gym.  By being in nature, you feel like you're running further, faster and having fun!  I definitely agree, as much as I love my backyard gym, being out walking and seeing things like the waterfall, always makes me feel better about my exercise!

Running on treadmills burns less energy
It has been shown that running at the same speed on a treadmill burns less calories than the same speed outside.  I know where I'm heading for then!  The more energy you burn, with a perceived less effort, the better in my book!!

So, if you can't train outside, and your only option is a treadmill in the gym, how can you attempt to overcome these issues?  Here are some tips I recently found:

  • set the treadmill on a slight incline (I use 4%) to replicate ground running
  • cross train, use other equipment, such as a cross trainer, a bike etc. When I was in the gym, I used a stairclimber, a bike and a treadmill, the variety suited me well
  • use sprint intervals on the treadmill, tapping into high intensity interval training. I usually sprint hard for 1 minute, then walk for 2 minutes, repeating this 5 times, it's certainly keeping my fitness levels!

Enjoy your treadmill and cardio training, get out into nature as often as you can, and realise that the tightness in your gluteals or hamstrings is because of your work on the treadmill!!

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