Outdoor running and walking doesn't have to be hard, especially because you have so much control over how fast you choose to go. Flat, paved paths will be easiest for beginners and people with balance issues, but they're not always easy to find. Overall, outdoor running is more functional, uses more muscle fibers and burns more calories for the same amount of work when compared with a treadmill.
Tips: By selecting the proper terrain, incline and speed, you can cater an indoor or outdoor workout to your fitness and ability levels.
SafetyIn general, your chances of slipping, falling, encountering extreme weather conditions or being attacked are probably a lot lower when you're indoors on a treadmill. For people who exercise alone, in the early or late hours, or in an unsafe area of town, the treadmill can provide a lot of peace of mind. Although there are many things to consider when picking your workout mode, you should never skimp on safety. That said, a treadmill is no guarantee that you won't injure yourself. Plenty of people can lose their footing, trip or overheat when exercising indoors.
Because of the changes in weather and terrain, mixed with traffic and other parameters, outdoor running is riskier for most people. While you can take a lot of precautions to stay as safe as possible, there is no guarantee that they'll work out in your favor.
Tips: Use your best judgment and always be aware of your form, footing and surroundings, whether you're indoors or out. Many accidents and injuries can be prevented just by paying attention and keeping safety at the forefront of your mind.
As you can see, both types of running have their pros and cons. At the end of the day, running—on whatever surface you and your body enjoys the most—is the best pick for you because that means you're going to stick with it. And don't forget, variety is the spice of life, so don't be afraid to run outside some days and inside on others. Life is too short to suffer through boring workouts, so enjoy yourself and make every stride count!
This article has been reviewed and approved by Jen Mueller, Certified Personal Trainer.