What are the differences between treadmill and outdoor running?

10 de April de 2021

Due to the current circumstances of the country caused by the Covid-19 crisis, exercising is one of the escape routes that many people have to mitigate the anxiety produced by fear and uncertainty.

Many of you have asked us if the treadmill has the same benefits as running outdoors. In this article, we will tell you the advantages and disadvantages as well as the main differences between running on a treadmill and running outdoors.

Differences between treadmill running and outdoor running

Less activation of the right muscles.

The fact of running outdoors causes a greater activation of the muscles involved in the act, compared to running on an exercise treadmill. This is due to the fact that when running on a treadmill, the hamstring and foot muscles do not perform the same activity as if they were running in the city or in the countryside.
If we only use the treadmill for running, these muscles will be weakened and it will be the antagonist muscles that will bear the workload.

This is why one of the most frequent pathologies in people who only run on an exercise treadmill are tibial periostitis injuries.

Running on a treadmill is easier.

This is due to less muscle involvement and lower caloric expenditure.
Not only that, the frictional forces generated when running outdoors are reduced to practically zero.

What is the solution?
Tilt the belt by 1% according to the latest studies.

Running on a treadmill will make you run faster.

This is because there are fewer frictional forces and the mat covering the treadmill makes it easier.

Manufacturers have realized these small details that make the difference, so today we can find curved treadmills that make the differences between running outdoors and on the treadmill, are minimal.

This is because:
– The mat moves because of your momentum.
– The caloric expenditure is higher when running on a treadmill, as more movement is needed to move the belt compared to other treadmills.
– The musculature involved on the outside is the one that works in this type of treadmill.

The main disadvantage?

Outrageous prices ranging from €3000 upwards.

How does running technique change when running on a treadmill?

The first thing to know is that if you don’t have good technique running outdoors, you won’t have good technique running on a treadmill and vice versa.

There are different variations such as:

– The difference in footprint.
On the treadmill, the foot comes off the mat earlier because the propulsive phase is not as necessary as it is when running outdoors.
In the stance phase, the stride is shorter and therefore, the stride decreases.

– Increased cadence
We can define cadence as the steps taken every minute. Therefore, if the steps are shorter, treadmills will increase the number of steps accordingly.

– Differences in vertical oscillation
The vertical oscillation is the height you reach while running, i.e., how much you “jump” while running.
Normal treadmills have springs that absorb the impact and, in some cases, do not take into account the weight of the person who is going to use it. Rebound will never be the same in a 50 kg person as in a 90 kg person.

Advantages and disadvantages of using a treadmill.

running in the street– Running on a treadmill is ideal for people who want to get into the habit because, as we have pointed out, it is easier than running outdoors.
– It is an ideal solution for those who are recovering from injuries and have not run for a long time.
– It is also useful for normal runners who want to improve their running pace.
– We will never be able to equate running on a treadmill with running outdoors on an emotional level. Enjoy the scenery or do it in a group is a pleasure difficult to match with a treadmill.

It is safe to say that exercising on a treadmill up front will always be better than leading a sedentary life. In any case, it is useful that before starting the habit or if you are already immersed in it, you consult a podiatrist who will advise you and give you recommendations for your particular case.

Contact us, wee will be happy to help you.


trustworthy medical information stamp clinica san romanArticle prepared by Clínica San Román 10/04/2021


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