Running Outdoors or at The Gym? Which Should You Choose?

Running is perhaps the easiest exercise to practice, since you don't need fancy equipment, and above all, you can practice running outdoors or at the gym.
Running Outdoors or at The Gym? Which Should You Choose?

Last update: 20 September, 2018

It’s true that there are fans and naysayers of both running outdoors, and at the gym. Some say that you can get better results from running outdoors, as there’s more resistance. On the other hand, if the weather is bad, running outdoors isn’t so appealing. Either way, whether you choose running outdoors or at the gym, both offer advantages and disadvantages.

Go for a run outdoors or at the gym? Which one should you choose?

Your decision will depend on your habits and how much time you want to invest. Therefore, there are many factors to consider, such as, if you’re a nature enthusiast, you’ll feel inclined to be in contact with your environment and want to run in natural settings.

Alternatively, if your time is limited, your best option might be to go to the gym. However, in both cases, you’ll be able to get great results from your efforts and enjoy a positive attitude.

Running outdoors or at the gym

One of the advantages of running outside is that the fresh air can boost your performance. The air and its quality will also help your mentality and attitude, which will motivate you to continue. The fatigue that you may experience from a repetitive activity will decrease, since the journey will open up different sights and landscapes.

man's legs on a treadmill running outdoors or at the gym

That’s not to say that running on a treadmill at the gym is boring! What’s more, running outdoors can be challenging, if you don’t choose your route carefully. For example, irregular terrain can increase the risk of injury and affect your coordination. In addition, if the terrain is too hard, your joints can pay the price for repeating the same movements.

On the other hand, you can run on a treadmill at the gym no matter what the weather is like outside. You can use the machine’s technology to track your distance and the calories that you burned. Furthermore, there won’t be any sudden changes to the terrain, and you’ll run at a more constant pace. However, this can become monotonous for some.

What to consider when running outdoors or at the gym

As we’ve mentioned previously, there are many factors to consider, such as the weather and technology. Still, neither of these are hugely significant, as the difference in calories burned between running outdoors and at the gym is only around 5 percent. Also, the weather isn’t crucial; it could suddenly change while you’re outside.

However, what you should remember is that if you run outside, you’ll have to pay closer attention to staying hydrated. This isn’t just because of your exertion, but also due to your exposure to the wind and sun. Moreover, if you carry extra items or clothing to protect yourself to limit that exposure, this could slow you down.

Conversely, on the treadmill, you may want to enhance your environment with the help of music, or perhaps ensure that the treadmill is in front of a window, so that you can enjoy the view and prevent or reduce fatigue.

Advantages and disadvantages

Running outside requires greater effort. Still, the same effect can be created on the treadmill by adjusting the incline just one to three percent.

When you run outdoors, you can usually run faster. This is something that can’t be reproduced naturally on the treadmill because the visual aspect plays a key role when you make your body work harder.

Finally, there’s security. At the gym, you lower your risks of sprains, blows, and other injuries. However, you still risk losing pace and experiencing falls, which could also lead to serious injuries. Despite this risk, the treadmill still offers the advantage of running on an even surface.

people running outside on path running outdoors or at the gym

It’s up to you

In conclusion, it does seem that running outdoors provides bigger benefits. It’s up to you where you run, but what’s more important is that you actually do run! Also, it’s helpful to exercise in an environment that you’re comfortable with, so that you’ll enjoy the entire experience.

If your goal is to take care of your health and your appearance, both options will help you to achieve this. Moreover, maybe you can try alternating between running outdoors and at the gym, so that you can decide which option will ultimately motivate you the most.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.