If you’re interested in taking up running, you may be wondering which is better exercise, running on a track or running on a treadmill. Which is better for you will depend on a number of factors, including your access to a running track or treadmill, your fitness goals, your lifestyle and your own preferences. If there are no running tracks in your neighborhood, then running on a treadmill might be better for you so you don’t have to drive a long way just to reach a running tack. If you’re on a tight budget, though, then buying a treadmill or joining a gym that has treadmills may not be feasible for you.
In terms of calories burned, you can expect to burn a similar number regardless of where you run. The Medical College of Wisconsin and VA Medical Center in Milwaukee conducted a study and found that people burn between 705 and 865 calories when running on a treadmill for an hour, similar to the calories burned when running on a track.
Reasons You Might Prefer Running on a Treadmill:
- You can use a treadmill indoors even when weather is bad outside.
- Both the speed and the incline of a treadmill can be adjusted according to your level of fitness and your fitness goals.
- Most treadmills also have a setting on which the speed and incline will vary, which gives variety to your workout session and allows you to burn more calories than you would just running on a flat, unchanging surface.
- If you tend to get bored while running, you can position your treadmill so that you can watch television while running or you can purchase a treadmill with a shelf on which to position your laptop so that you can surf the internet while running. Many gyms have televisions mounted in front of treadmills and some have treadmills that are set up with internet access, as well.
- Most treadmills will calculate how many miles you’ve run and how many calories you’ve burned on your run. Some also have a device that can measure your heart rate as you run.
Reasons You Might Prefer Running on an Outdoor Track:
- When you run outdoors, you get to experience sunshine and fresh fair, which benefits both physical and mental health.
- Some people find running outdoors to be more interesting than running on a treadmill or an indoor track.
- While a treadmill or a gym membership can be quite costly, you can probably find an outdoor track on which you can run for free. High schools and junior high schools often have outdoor tracks where you can run in the evenings or on weekend (when school is not in session).
- Some people burn more calories running on a track because they tend to hold on to the handrails on a treadmill, which makes running on the treadmill easier but reduces the number of calories burned.
Reasons You Might Prefer Running on an Indoor Track:
- If you run on an indoor track, you can run even when the weather outdoors is bad.
- Running indoors on hot days can allow you to stay cool and reduce the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
- An indoor track is more likely to be well-maintained and you’re less likely to find debris on the track, like leaves, rocks, sticks or even trash, which can cause you to slip or trip on an outdoor track.
Of course, you aren’t limited to just one way to run. You can alternate between an indoor track and an outdoor track, based on the weather or other factors. You can have a treadmill to use at home and join a friend on occasion for a run at a local track. Variety might just be the thing to keep you motivating in running on a regular basis.
The bottom line is that both running on a treadmill and running on a track are good forms of exercise. You just have to decide which works better for you.
Health Status: Why a Treadmill?
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