Myth: Running on a treadmill is better than running outside

There are many claims like this in the fitness world. The truth is, neither one or the other is better for you. They are different exercises. Some of the benefits of running on a treadmill are: you don't need to go outside in the cold and wet; you can have real-time feedback on your speed, distance, level, and include; you can watch TV whilst running. However, you may prefer to run outside and get fresh air; if you are returning from injury or have achy joints there will be less pressure when running on dirt tracks or grass; if you are trying to burn calories it is likely that you will burn more calories at the same speed when running outside; if you are a runner then some practitioners may advise you not to use a treadmill as it may promote a false running pattern (e.g. the treadmill helps take your leg underneath you after foot strike and propels your body forward) and lead to injury/poorer performance when running outside.

Health and Fitness Testing NZ Tips:

  • If you are training for a specific event you should perform specific training for this event. If it's an outdoor running race, you should perform most of your running outdoors
  • If you are trying to lose weight then find an exercise that you enjoy. If it is running, gradually build up and do whatever running method you enjoy more
  • If you have not run in a long time it is best to begin with walking, hill walking, and eventually begin a walk-run program prior to just going out and running straight away.
  • If you want to burn more calories, run outside.