Now that spring is here walking can be a great fitness activity but is there a benefit to walking outdoors instead of on your treadmill? Read on for the differences between walking outdoors and walking on your treadmill.
Walking outside can often burn more calories as you have some elements such as wind and varying inclines that require your body to work harder and expend more energy. Sloping sidewalks, steps and the variations in outdoor terrain require you to use a variety of muscles and therefore lead to a great overall workout. And, don’t forget to swing those arms to give you extra speed!
Many studies have shown the benefits of exercising outdoors. Being in nature can have positive effects on mood and overall health and can reduce stress and anxiety. If you’re planning a long walk (more than 60 minutes) then outdoors is your best choice as you’ll be more likely to use more muscles for balance and stability and therefore get more of a balanced workout.
If you do decide to walk outside rather than indoors on the treadmill, be sure to have proper shoes. Pavement can put a lot of stress on your knees and ankles. Be sure to get flexible running shoes that bend at the ball of the foot.
Unfortunately, the varied spring weather can also be a downside of choosing to walk outside. If you decide to brave the elements, be sure to dress appropriately so you can get the most out of your walk. (no cotton shirts as they hold water and sweat close to the skin)
If you prefer a walk with better control then walking on a treadmill might be a better option for you. Not only will the weather not play a factor in your decision to exercise but you also can tailor your workouts to how you’re feeling that day. Most treadmills have pre-programmed workouts with interval training and hills and also a digital screen that displays information such as calories burned, speed and heart rate.
For those people who get bored easily, walking on a treadmill can allow you to watch tv, read a book or listen to your favourite podcast at any time of day or night.
Oftentimes outdoor walking does burn more calories than treadmill walking but if you increase the incline and try to keep a good pace with your arms moving rather than holding the rails then you can get a great workout in. If you don’t have a treadmill but still prefer to walk indoors, many recreation centres allow free access to their tracks or you could go to the local mall for some laps.
Whether you choose to go outside for your walk or to hit the treadmill your body will be benefiting. Opt for whatever gives you the most satisfaction and makes your body feel good.