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Running on a Machine versus Hitting the Road: What’s Best?

Written by Fiona

July 26 2018

Running is one of the easiest forms of cardio exercise.  All you need is a decent pair of running shoes and you’re good to go. Whether it’s running on a machine or running in the hills, endorphins are released in our brain, giving us the feeling of happiness and reduced anxiety, which leads to a runner’s high.

Running keeps us physically fit and the more we do it, the better we become. Nothing feels better than beating last week’s distance and/or time. We not only feel good about how we look, we also develop a sense of accomplishment as we work towards our goals.

There are other benefits of running although often the question arises: Which is better, running on a machine or running outdoors?

Pros and cons of a running machine

Many people say that running on a machine is a boring experience. There’s a reason why most gyms place them near large windows. Not to mention the horrendous fluorescent lights. However, it’s a convenient piece of equipment to do your cardio when the weather just isn’t right.

Depending on where you live, and/or your health condition, i.e. asthma, running alongside the road in a bustling city can be hazardous to your health, not to mention the risks of traffic accidents.

Treadmills also come with a range of inclinations you can set where sometimes, going out for a run won’t provide you the same challenges.

Research has shown that due to air resistance outside, your body exerts more energy when running. All you need to do to match this is to increase the inclination to 1%.

For some people, having a treadmill at home is very convenient. For example, you can fit in a run session before breakfast, at lunchtime if you work from home or while looking after the kids at home. These days, you can buy or even hire a running machine for an affordable price with installation.

Pros and cons of running outside

Vitamin D from the sun is  good for the health of your bones and teeth, as well as supporting immune system health. See more details on the benefits of vitamin D. Studies find that those who run outside, flex their feet differently as the terrain changes.

They also run downhill more, which can’t be replicated by standard running machines, thus working on different muscles and reducing the risks of injury that machine runners are susceptible to.

Running outside also allows you to socialise more with the people around you. You may find new friends to run with and there are stories of people who have met and married through running.

It is said that being outdoors can help with restoring your focus and attention span. The Attention Restoration Theory (ART) suggests that by looking at nature, concentration and mental fatigue can be restored.

At the end of the day, it is difficult to say which method works best because each of us have different lifestyles. What matters most is doing what keeps you motivated and sticking to your training regime and goals in the long run, whether it’s running on a machine or going out. You could actually choose the best of both worlds and run on a treadmill and outdoors.

If you prefer to workout at home, and you’d rather not buy the equipment, you can hire treadmills and other fitness equipment in the UK and Ireland (for example in Cork) online.

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