Is Running On a Treadmill Bad For You?: What Expert Has to Say

Being a runner, what do you prefer – Running on a Treadmill or Running Outdoors?

Well, I know this is quite a hot topic to debate on.

As we can’t say which is better, it totally depends on the runner.

Some runners love to run while exploring nature and some runners love to do running on hard metallic equipment (i.e., Treadmill).

In which category you lie?

The first category or the second category ?????

From whichever category you are, all in all, you are a runner, and our website My Path To Fitness is completely devoted to all the runners.

In this path leading towards fitness, today we’ll discuss ‘Is running on a treadmill bad for you?’.

So my dear enthusiast runners, what are you waiting for?

Let’s give a deep dive to our today’s topic.


Running On a Treadmill

Running on a Treadmill has always been one of the hottest and most debatable topics among runners.

Treadmill poses a few issues similar to most physical activities, such as a slightly unnatural running method.

Even treadmills are an excellent way to ease into a good aerobic routine without much chance of injury.

Let’s understand the term ‘Running on a Treadmill’ in a few aspects.


Positive Impacts

Let’s have a look at the positive side of running on a treadmill.

Running on a treadmill is a popular type of cardio workout for people of all levels of fitness.

Treadmills provide a fast and relatively stress-free way to burn calories, relieve stress, and treat chronic problems such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

If you are fond of treadmill running, then you do not need to worry about environmental factors such as weather or temperature outside.


Negative Impacts

Now, after talking about the positive impacts, it causes some negative impacts also.

Let’s have a look.

Outdoor enthusiasts might advise you to stay away from treadmills because it’s an unnatural way to run.

Since the rubber belt takes your legs out and beneath you as you’re running, you don’t have to drive too hard to produce forward momentum.

This affects your gait and foot strike style, which can damage your knees if you’re used to running outside with a normal gait.

Overall, the evidence is inconclusive when deciding whether treadmills are safer for the knees than running tracks.


All In All

While running on a treadmill might not be the best way to run with reasonable alignment or style, you may make a few adjustments to replicate a more normal running pattern.

Increase the incline marginally to 1% will improve the commitment and more closely reflect outdoor running.

Also, focusing on proper balance by holding your upper body upright and landing with your feet directly below your center of gravity can help you feel more relaxed on your belt.

No matter where you plan to run, the repetitive impacts of the running surface on your feet, knees, and hips will mount up over time, leading to stress injuries ranging from mild strains to hairline fractures.

You can prevent overuse by actually changing up the cardio routine.

Aerobic activities are not restricted to running on a treadmill; you should swim or ride a bike to reduce the stress on your knees and give your exhausted feet some rest.


Does Running On a Treadmill Work?

Does Running On a Treadmill Work
Running on a treadmill works very well and feels easier than running outside for many reasons. One explanation is that the treadmill belt assists the leg’s turnover, making it possible to run quicker.

So, as we discussed, an unbiased overview of running on a treadmill.

Now, let’s focus on how effective running on a treadmill is?

If still you are confused about, “Do I need to use a treadmill to carry out my running routine?”

Although we are humans, I can understand that we always have a bucket full of questions in our minds before starting any new thing.

But no worries!!

We always try our best to cover all possible questions that a reader might have in mind while reading the article.

So, let’s move ahead.

This section of the blog is truly devoted to the most common question that arises in every runner’s mind, i.e., ‘Does running on a treadmill work?’.

For a better and easy understanding, we’ll answer this question by making a comparison between running on a treadmill vs running outdoors.

Now let’s see whether it works or not!

So, YES running on a treadmill actually works.

I must say that it is quite more effective than running outdoors.

Wanna know how?

So, let’s have a quick discussion on this.



Running on a treadmill feels easier than running outside for many reasons.

One explanation is that the treadmill belt assists the leg’s turnover, making it possible to run quicker.

So most runners feel that their speed on the treadmill doesn’t match their pace on the track.

Sometimes, the soft tissue conditioning or hardening that occurs with road running doesn’t really occur with treadmill exercise because the plate or platform mostly on a treadmill gives more than pavement surface.

And, apparently, there are no atmospheric hazards to cope with while running indoors.


Great Running Equipment

The treadmill is the perfect workout equipment.

Since running on a treadmill is faster, you must use it for pace training.

Using the treadmill to make you run quicker by speeding up for short periods and then slowing down for rest intervals.

This is a very excellent way to do any pace training in a controlled setting.

It’s rarely a bad idea to run outdoors, but you should do it, particularly if you’re practicing for a race.

Poor weather isn’t a good excuse for that.

In fact, nothing will beat running outside when it comes to weather conditions and the environment.

Imagine running in the direction of the wind— as it’ll help you to run faster.

Yet running against the wind is going to be tougher.

There’s just no way to simulate that on a treadmill.

So, now you can understand that how effective running on a treadmill is!!!


Is Running On a Treadmill the Same As Running Outside?

Now, let’s move to the most debatable topic, i.e., ‘Is running on a treadmill the same as running outside?’.

Wanna know the answer to this question? Stay connected with us till the end!! 

So, let’s have a look at if both are the same or not.

So, let me tell you clearly that both of these are not the same.

These are two different approaches to carry out with your running routine.

Now you might be thinking that if these are not the same, then how are they different?

Don’t worry; we always come up with answers to all your questions.

So, now our point of discussion is how treadmill running is different from running outside!!


Benefits of Running On a Treadmill

1. Pace is Controlled

Would you like to enjoy a completely flat run?

Do you need a hill workout?

Do you want to maintain a fast tempo to improve your endurance?

No issue at all.

The treadmill keeps you in full control of your speed and inclines while you run.

Many treadmills do have immersive routines focused on your needs.


2. No Need to Encounter Any Weather Issue

If the weather outside is too hot, cold, rainy, or otherwise imperfect, treadmills allow you to run out of the convenience of a temperature-controlled environment.

This will help you adhere to a daily routine, regardless of outdoor circumstances.


3. Helpful for Joints

The belt on the treadmill is smoother than most outdoor tracks, which means that your knees, ankles, and back will not be impacted that much.

You also seem to have lower stride lengths and higher stride speeds when you run on a treadmill, which means you can take quicker and smoother steps, contributing to less damage.

According to research done by the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, treadmill runners encountered less plantar pressure and force during their running than outdoor runners, suggesting treadmill runners could help the early recovery of the foot or leg injuries. 


Issues With the Treadmill Running

1. Difficult & Boring as well

Running on a treadmill can also feel boring and exhausting.

In fact, the treadmill was first developed as a torture instrument for prisoners in the 1800s.

Perhaps that’s why some people say it’s more challenging.

People assume running on the treadmill is harder even though they run at almost the same pace as outside.


2. Decreases Agility

Running outdoors and hitting challenges such as potholes or uneven sidewalks naturally increases agility in the thighs and legs’ muscles, and you won’t get it on your treadmill.

Even you’re not going to try as hard to make your leg movements on a treadmill, so the belt gives you a lift.


Benefits of Running Outside

1. Burns More Calories

Running outdoors allows your body to work against wind and rough conditions, which naturally require you to use more energy.

Factor in atmospheric conditions, and you’ll lose even more calories to keep your body warm while you’re out.


2. Improves Mental Health

When you take a run outdoors, you enjoy more than just fresh air.

Researches proved that running outdoors is associated with a stronger sense of revitalization and constructive interaction, as well as a decline in tension, frustration, and depression relative to running indoors.


2. Strengthens Bones

You’re likely to find changes in the landscape, including slopes, and even make a few curves on your outer runs.

These changes help strengthen your muscles and bones, particularly in your legs, as your body constantly adjusts to handle the outdoor environment.


Issues With the Running Outside

1. More Chances Of Accidents

If you run outdoors, you are prone to hazards such as cars, motorcycles, and uneven surfaces.

It takes special care and consideration to ensure that you are conscious of your surroundings and are protected.

When you’re running with your headphones, set the volume low enough to hear your surroundings.

Run against traffic so that you’ll always be aware that cars and motorcycles are coming to you.


2. Limit You to Daytime Running

Running in the dark is not necessarily the best choice.

You may be less noticeable to drivers and, in certain cases, your personal safety could be more at risk.

When running outside in the dark, please wear bright colors and reflective apparel so that drivers can see you.

Run in well-lit, heavily populated areas so that you can see the surroundings well and so that people can see you.


Is Running on a treadmill bad?

Is Running on a treadmill bad
Running on a treadmill is good in many ways. Such as, No need to worry about the temperature and weather conditions, Treadmills have greater shock resistance than concrete, which means less stress on the ankles and knees.

Is running on a treadmill bad for you?

Treadmill running isn’t necessarily bad for you, but I would definitely caution against using it as your primary form of running.

The prime reason for this is that treadmill running is repetitive.

Sports or workouts in which you perform the same motion repeatedly without cross-training can cause injuries over time. 

But apart from this, it has its own benefits. Wanna know how?

Let’s see!!


  • No need to worry about the temperature and weather conditions. No matter how’s the weather outside, whether it’s snowfall or its heavy run, even in the scorching heat. Running outdoors under a snowfall or heavy rain can cause you so many health problems or you might slip and hurt yourself. But on a treadmill, there is no need to worry about these things.


  • It becomes so very difficult to maintain a constant running speed while running outdoors. But this problem can be solved by a treadmill. The treadmill makes it easier to keep track of your miles and speed. You can also pause at any moment you want to. But the treadmill is one of the best options for you if you want to do pace training.


  • It’s possible to use a headset on a treadmill to listen to music or podcasts. You can also watch TV or even read a magazine page while running. This makes the treadmill running very convenient.


  • Treadmills have greater shock resistance than concrete, which means less stress on the ankles and knees. And when you’re running on an incline on the treadmill, you’re developing stamina and endurance like you’re running out hills. So you don’t have to run downhill, which can be difficult on your body.

So, this was all about how running on a treadmill can prove to be the best solution for you.


Final Thought

There are benefits and drawbacks of both running outdoors and running on a treadmill.

If you’re only interested in aerobic benefits, a treadmill is a perfect choice.

But if you’re practicing for a marathon, you’re going to gain more from running outdoors.

In the end, now you have to find out which alternative fits well for you and focus as hard as possible on all your routine.

You must understand that both forms of running are so very different from each other.

In treadmill running, the surface moves and you have to run but in running outdoors, the surface is stationary but you have to move.

So, both of the forms impact your body differently.

If your primary purpose is to achieve and sustain your cardio fitness goals, a treadmill can be all you really need.

On the other hand, as you practice for a racing event, you would clearly benefit more from running outside.

Although you can use treadmill running to boost your aerobic fitness, restrict it to no more than 40% of your total exercise.

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