Running on the treadmill? It's smarter to do this outside.

Running on the treadmill? It's smarter to do this outside.


Scientists at the University of Milan have been investigating the physiological differences between running outdoors or on the treadmill.

Do you regularly hit the treadmill at the gym? Nothing wrong with that as a warm up, but if you really want to benefit from the running effort, you should do this in the open air. Italian research  has shown that this is much smarter, because you burn 15% more calories. Here are 3 reasons they found:

  1. You use less oxygen on the treadmill
  2. Running outside is more intensive
  3. The treadmill lacks natural resistance

Scientists at the University of Milan have been investigating the physiological differences between running outdoors or on the treadmill. The study included 15 healthy active men with an average age of 22 years. They had to sprint for 30 seconds for 15 minutes, followed by a 30 second rest. The test was performed both outdoors and on the treadmill with a 1% incline. They were also asked to do the same treadmill exercise, but at a 15% faster speed.

3 reasons why you burn more outside

By comparing the results between the three exercises, it was found that the treadmill exercise at a 15% faster speed represented the same physiological responses as walking outdoors. So on the treadmill you have to walk 15% faster to burn the same amount of calories than when you walk outside.

1 – You use less oxygen on the treadmill

The researchers found that significantly less oxygen is consumed on the treadmill, demonstrating that less effort is required.

2 – Running outside is more intensive

While the research doesn't show why running on the treadmill is less strenuous, in the past, the forward motion of the belt has been shown to help runners roll their feet. The result is that you automatically run faster. You also miss the sales phase. Running outside is therefore more intensive.

3 – Natural Resistance

While running on the treadmill, you have no steep inclines or resistance from the wind. When you run outdoors, you constantly have to deal with changes in the running surface, and you have to run against the resistance of the wind, forcing you to constantly adjust your effort. Because of these differences you burn more calories.

Running on the treadmill is always better than not running

While outdoor runners may be happy with this news, it doesn't mean you have to give up the treadmill. The important thing is that you keep walking and that you like it. Do you hate walking outside? This is how you burn more calories on the treadmill:

  • Many treadmill athletes always run with a flat belt. If you keep changing the incline, you'll burn more calories.
  • If you train with the same intensity for a long time, your body adjusts to it, so that you burn less. When the speed changes every time, you burn more calories.
  • Sprinting burns relatively fewer calories than when you keep running at a moderate pace. Your heart rate indicates when you are burning fat. When you maintain a moderate pace, you burn more fat. You also last longer and you have less chance of injuries. The ideal heart rate for fat burning is about 60-70% of your maximum heart rate.
  • You need to make at least 20 minutes of effort before the fat burning really gets going. For more endurance, you can drink a sports drink with L-carnitine and electrolytes. Also green tea you get extra energy.
  • Regular exercise calls for faster recovery. Proteins help you with this.

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