Walking outside or on the treadmill: find out which is better

Although walking on a treadmill and walking outdoors involve the same basic motion, there are some key differences that can affect the results you get.

treadmill vs outdoor walkingWhich should you choose – walking on a treadmill or going for a walk? (Image source: Pixabay)

One of the simplest exercises, walking has various health benefits. It not only helps reduce the risk of (or prevent) but also helps in the management of various conditions, like heart disease, stroke, hypertension arterial pressurecancer, and type 2 diabetes, as well as improving mood and improving memory and cognition, among others. The best thing about walking is that it can be easily incorporated into your routine – either going for a run or jogging on a treadmill. But, it should be known that if these two practices provide health benefits, they are not of identical nature.

Nutrition and wellness consultant Neha Sahaya took to Instagram to share how walking outdoors is different from walking on a treadmill. “Walking on a conveyor belt and walking outdoors both involve the same basic movement, there are key differences that can affect the results you get,” she wrote.

According to Sahaya, here are some reasons why a treadmill might not give you the same results as walking outdoors:

Lack of wind resistance: When you walk outdoors, you have to push against the wind, which can make your workout harder and burn more calories. On a treadmill, there’s no wind resistance, so your workout might not be as intense.

Terrain differences: Walking outdoors usually involves more varied terrain than a treadmill, which is a flat, even surface. Walking on different terrains like hills or rough trails engages different muscles and can provide a more complete workout.

Natural vs artificial movement: Walking outdoors involves more natural movement patterns, including slight variations in stride length, cadence, and foot placement. The flat, consistent surface of a treadmill can lead to a more artificial motion pattern that doesn’t engage as many muscles.

Psychological factors: Many people find that walking outside is more enjoyable and motivating than using a conveyor belt. Being in nature and experiencing different landscapes can also provide a mental boost that a treadmill cannot replicate.

Calibration issues: Treadmills can vary in their calibration, which can affect the accuracy of distance and calorie readings. This can make it difficult to compare your workouts on different machines or with outdoor walking.

Walking on a treadmill vs walking outside

Walking on a treadmill is a form of indoor exercise where you walk on a stationary machine that simulates walking or running. Walking outdoors involves walking on different terrains outdoors, such as sidewalks, paths, and parks. Speaking to indianexpress.com, Deepti Sharma, Director of MultiFit – multinational chain of gyms, said: “Walking on a treadmill provides a more controlled environment and can be more convenient, while walking outdoors exposes to fresh air and different terrain challenges.”

What’s better – walking outside or on a treadmill?

Walking outside and walking on a treadmill have their benefits. “Walking outdoors allows you to experience nature and fresh air, which can provide a sense of calm and reduce stress. On the other hand, walking on a treadmill provides a more controlled and safer environment and is a great option when certain other factors may make outdoor walking impossible,” said Sharma.

Who should choose to walk outdoors?

People who love outdoor activities and want to experience nature while exercising should opt for walking outdoors. “Additionally, those looking for a greater physical challenge and want to work on their balance and coordination should also consider walking outdoors,” according to Sharma.

Who should opt for walking on a treadmill?

Sharma says people who have joint or balance issues, live in urban areas with limited access to safe walking paths, or want to exercise in a more controlled environment should opt for walking. on a treadmill. “Treadmill walking is also great for those who want to track their progress because it provides a consistent and measurable workout,” she concluded.

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First published on: 2023-08-05 12:30 PM IST

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