Pros and Cons of Running on a Treadmill

Equipment

A treadmill is one of the most common pieces of exercise equipment used today. It provides an efficient and straightforward aerobic workout at home and the gym. For many, treadmills offer a good starting point to build an exercise routine since walking is well-tolerated by most, irrespective of their health conditions and fitness level. For runners, treadmills can be used to develop endurance and strength and for exercises like interval training or jogging. While running on a treadmill has a lot to offer, certain drawbacks come with this exercise. This article discusses the main pluses and minuses of running on a treadmill.

Pluses of Using a Treadmill

Treadmills give an environment for you to exercise in the comfort of your home, along with other benefits.

Adjustable Difficulty Level

Depending on your exercise needs, you can adjust the difficulty level of the treadmill by increasing or decreasing the incline and speed. As a novice, keeping the difficulty to a minimum level is recommended, and slowly building it as you improve. Runners who practice strength or endurance training can keep the difficulty level to a maximum to make the most out of their workout sessions.

If you are training for a run with a specific speed in mind, exercising on a treadmill will allow you to set and maintain a predictable and consistent pace. This is not always possible when running outside. This will help your body familiarize itself with running at a specific pace, which may translate to enhanced performance on race day.

Better for the Joints

Compared to hitting the hard pavement, running on a treadmill is relatively easier on your joints thanks to the cushioned belt. This is especially helpful if you have a condition that impacts the health of your joints or if you are recovering from an injury. Runners usually follow an intense exercise regime that can tax the joints, but adding a treadmill can help alleviate some of the physical stress. Moreover, you are less likely to fall in a controlled environment than on a road or sidewalk, reducing the probability of joint injuries.

Helps Simulate a Racing Environment

A lot of modern treadmills allow users to create unique profiles. You can use this feature to simulate your desired course by picking a certain terrain or trail from around the world. This can help you get in the mood and prepare you better for your runs.

It allows you to Multitask

If you find exercising boring, you can create a stimulating environment around you. Not only do treadmills allow you to wear headphones without compromising your safety, but you can also blast music at full volume in your exercise room. You can also watch your favorite TV show or informative YouTube videos while you train.

Exercising on a treadmill allows you to simultaneously tend to your commitments, such as taking care of your pet or answering work calls.

Minuses of Using a Treadmill

Loss of Agility

Even though treadmills offer to cushion your joints, you may not get the extra benefit of running on uneven pavement or terrain. Even if the outdoors ground might seem flat, it never wholly is. Thus, if your leg and foot muscles are used to running on perfectly even surfaces, you might have a difficult time adjusting to running on a fluctuating surface outside. These minor adjustments that your body constantly makes to uneven surfaces are essential for balance and coordination and thus enhance your ability to perform everyday tasks. Although running on a treadmill can promote your general fitness, it might affect your agility.

It doesn’t engage all the Muscles

A group of women running on treadmills in a gym.Exercising outside generally forces you to rely on your hamstrings to complete the pacing cycle and lift your legs behind you. At times practically touching your rear. On the other hand, running on a treadmill fails to engage many of the muscles. You essentially use your quads to take off, but your hamstrings are not as engaged as if you were running outside. As a runner or non-runner, incorporate cross-training in your workout routine to engage the muscles on the back of your leg, such as your glutes and hamstrings.

Could Get Boring

Even if you have the best music or are binging on Netflix while using the treadmill, running indoors can still be boring. When running outside, time moves much faster, and you can get an actual sense of distance as you approach closer and closer to your finish line. If you are a runner who participates in competitions, running outside allows you to train in the most optimum environment that closely mimics your final race.

Plus, stepping outside and running in the real world has its benefits, especially if you are running in the cold. Running outdoors in the morning will help you get your dose of vitamin D, allow you to socialize, and fight feelings of loneliness and depression.

Treadmills are Expensive

Even if you are not investing in a high-tech treadmill, running outside is still a lot cheaper than running on a treadmill. Depending on the model, you can expect to spend around $200 to $3000. Additionally, these machines require regular maintenance, which can add to the cost. On the other hand, running outside is free and offers plenty of health benefits.

How to Avoid Potential Risks While Running on a Treadmill?

Running on a treadmill doesn’t always guarantee safety and a risk-free workout. A slight miscalculation in your footing or an incorrect incline can cause injuries to your legs. To avoid potential risks, it is essential to regulate your pace, be cautious of the speed, and try not to push your body beyond its limit. Start slowly and build your endurance over time rather than in one go.

Conclusion

Running on a treadmill offers a lot but isn’t free of risks and potential drawbacks. Before deciding to use the machine, creating the right environment and being aware of your body’s needs are essential. It is also crucial to allow your body enough time to get used to the machine before increasing the intensity of the workouts.

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Sources:

https://www.health.com/fitness/the-pros-and-cons-of-running-on-the-treadmill

https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/advantages-and-disadvantages-treadmill-use-exercise-and-pain-relief

https://www.thejoint.com/texas/houston/meyerland-28030/treadmill-running-the-pros-and-cons

 

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