Walking on Treadmill Everyday Benefits Your Health. True or False?
While the treadmill manufacturers throw out flashy pitches like “super-soft cushioning,” “natural incline,” and “safe start-stop system” – how good is it REALLY to be using a treadmill every day?
Will the benefits of walking every day outshine the potential risks?
Let’s find out!
What Do You Really Know About Treadmills?
Maybe you have one in your home, or perhaps you’ve seen the extensive rows in your local gym. After all, they are one of the most popular pieces of fitness equipment out there.
But what do you really know about treadmills?
Is Running on a Treadmill Different from Running Outside?
While most people agree that there are certainly differences, there are proponents on both sides that argue which is better.
With pros and cons to running on and off the machine, treadmill-haters and enthusiasts alike generally agree that running on a treadmill is easier, for better or worse.
And while the convenience of a treadmill is a definite pro, this is balanced out by the con that they are expensive. The machines you see at the gym could cost you around $3,000 to have in your home.
That is a lot of money!
Although there are also more home-friendly models out there. I have recently had a look at some of them and listed the top models in my best treadmill for home use reviews.
Here’s something you’ve probably never thought about. Did you know that treadmills cause people to shorten their natural stride, keep a faster pace on average, and have an unnatural gait? The treadmill could be described as quintessentially unnatural, but that’s not the worst part…
It’s So Boring!
Have you ever found yourself wondering why running on the treadmill is so boring?
Unlike running outside, which requires a high level of attention and awareness, running on the treadmill doesn’t take much brainpower. You could watch TV or listen to a podcast without needing to shift your focus to what you’re doing with your body. Just move along like a walking dead… Hey, there are even some treadmills with built-in TV’s to make the workout as mindless as possible!
This partially explains why running on the treadmill is boring… but there’s more to the story.
You might not know that the treadmill was originally invented as a form of prison labor.
I’m not joking!
A group of prisoners would walk on top of the tread together, turning a large mill to grind grain or pump water. See where the name comes from?
But the treadmill wasn’t just for work, though. It was specifically designed as a form of punishment. What made the treadmill torturous was not the severity of the punishment—instead, the monotonous tedium of the task itself made walking the mill so terrible.
It’s no wonder why so many runners despise this machine. And this begs the question: why is it so popular?
It’s Great Cardio
The plain and simple truth is that running on the treadmill is good cardio. Some nay-sayers might argue that running outside is a better cardio workout. Still, in this field, the treadmill is just as effective.
The only cardio catch is that you’ll need at least a one percent incline on the treadmill. This added effort will raise your heart rate to a level that mirrors outdoor running.
But a great cardio workout isn’t the only pro to running on a machine…
So, you can get an equitable cardio workout inside—but there’s one key feature that sets the treadmill apart from doing a lap around the neighborhood. You’ve probably experienced this for yourself already—running on the treadmill feels a lot easier than running on the track.
Have you ever wondered why?
The Belt: Kind on Your Bones
The key difference between these different forms of running is determined by the moving belt of the treadmill and the subsequent bounce underneath. Like a tool, the moving and bouncing belt does some of the hard work for you.
Did you know that the treadmill is easier on your joints than the pavement?
This is because it automatically decreases the force your feet land on the belt with. This is good news for anyone who experiences weakness in the bones or joints. It’s also great for heavyweight runners who naturally put more pressure on their knees. Relieving pressure is a great pro to running on the treadmill.
But don’t think that less pressure means you won’t get any pressure. Runners are notorious for sustaining overuse and impact injuries—this happens when they pound the ground with their legs without gradually working up their leg strength first.
You might experience similar injuries using a treadmill. No matter where you do it, running puts pressure on your legs. If you experience pain in your ankles or knees, then you should take it easy and consult a physician before exercising.
Even if you’re an experienced runner, going easy on the joints now and then is a helpful habit to practice.
The Cost of Ease
Taking the pressure off the legs can be a great aspect for some, but others might disagree.
In catering to weak bones, you avoid gaining strength in your legs. But wait until you hear this: the ease of the treadmill is allowing you to neglect more than you think. And this selective exercising lets certain muscle groups grow weak, making you more prone to injuries.
When you run from one location to another, you activate your muscles by pushing the weight of your entire body forward. This works your hamstrings and glutes, specifically. On a treadmill, you miss out on strengthening these muscles. You only have to lift your feet, as opposed to propelling your whole body forward. As the belt moves underneath you, it does all the hard work.
When you run outside, you often change the direction you run in. Think about it. You have to go around people or objects, maneuver different terrains, or even just follow a winding path. These actions all target different muscle groups, but you can never replicate this on a treadmill—because if you run in any direction other than forward, you’ll be severely out of luck.
Sometimes running outside isn’t practical, and sometimes it’s downright dangerous.
Running in inclement weather can be a bad idea. Extreme heat, below-freezing temperatures, and thunderstorms can make running on a treadmill an excellent alternative to facing the elements.
You also might consider that running alone in the dark or down a secluded trail could jeopardize your safety. Sometimes we need to worry about wild animals or even other humans. And if you live in a busy area with narrow roads or streets without sidewalks, running during the day could still turn out to be a dangerous activity.
Fear of Missing Out?
While running on a treadmill is better for some, you’re robbing yourself of more than just strength conditioning. Your coordination and balance won’t improve—but it would if you ran outside. We also know that spending time outside is good for your health. It promotes healing, concentration, and happiness.
You’ll miss out on all this if you stay inside.
The fact is, treadmills just can’t replicate all the forces of outdoor running. Another example is the wind, which can create resistance or help push you along. Treadmills also can’t simulate realistic downhill running or extremely fast running, making it a mediocre option for marathon runners.
Training as a Runner
If you’re training for a race, your best choice is to train in the same conditions that you’ll be competing in. In this case, you would usually pass on the treadmill. But if you want to train for a specific terrain that you don’t have access to, the treadmill might be the closest replica you can get. As mentioned, it’s not the best for everything, but beggars can’t be choosers.
Treadmills can help you teach yourself how to keep a steady pace, and they’re good for runners who are transitioning from injury back to competition. And you know what? A treadmill to use for running doesn’t need to be that expensive. I have recently added the best affordable treadmill for runners reviews to my review collection. Feel free to take a look.
Variety is the Spice of Life
For serious runners who want to build strength and endurance, a combination of strength exercises, low-pressure treadmill running, and high-pressure pavement running is a good choice.
And even those who are at the beginning of their fitness journey will find that the best thing you can do for your body is to have some variety.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How Long Should I Walk on a Treadmill to See Results?
Either you are looking to lose weight or body fat – or build better cardiovascular stamina, to see results you should at least walk for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity to see results. Using a treadmill at the end of your exercise routine is a great way to burn calories, as well as build stamina.
Can You Lose Weight by Walking on a Treadmill Everyday?
Yes. By having a daily treadmill workout – either by walking or running, you will burn calories and eventually lose weight. Just be sure your heart rate is within the correct bpm according to your age and weight – and weight loss will surely be within reach!
Will Walking or Running on a Treadmill Better My Heart Health?
If you are suffering from high blood pressure, every kind of workout or physical activity will do you good. Although you should consult your doctor if you are worried about your heart health, one of the benefits of walking is a more healthy blood pressure and burnt calories which again equals weight loss.
Final Words: Will Walking On a Treadmill Every Day Benefit Your Health?
- Burnt calories
- Lower body fat
- Weight loss
- Better cardio
- More healthy blood pressure
The walking benefits are many!
Will walking on a treadmill every day benefit your health?
Is walking on a treadmill every day better than walking outdoors?
Absolutely not! But it is a good alternative, though.
My best advice is to walk outside when the elements allow it and use the treadmill if not. The benefits of walking every day are, when added together, better physical AND mental health. So if you aim to live long and well – w a l k i n g should definitely be a part of your equation.
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See you there!