Good Morning People:
No, it’s not Sunday yet. But with everything going on this weekend, I thought it best to get out an early edition for this week.
Cardiovascular training comes in many forms. Any one of the following can give you great results; jumping rope, stair-stepping, biking, “ellipping” (Bill’s word for using the elliptical) and, of course, running.
In today’s installment I will be identifying the benefits of running outside versus running inside on a treadmill. Wait! Before you stop reading because you think you know which might be best (for you), I think you’ll be interested in some of the latest research findings.
Let’s start with running outside. Studies have shown that the invigorating feeling fresh air provides when exercising outdoors lessens ones anxiety, hostility, fatigue and depression levels.
Also, given the same workout, due to environmental elements (headwinds, unbalanced terrain and “Global Warming” – just kidding) it has been measure that one burns about five percent more calories when running outside. Also, when running outside, the body primarily uses its hamstrings (one of the body’s biggest muscle groups; and therefore, one of its biggest calorie burners). However, on a treadmill, the body is aided forward by the belt and requires less use of the hamstrings and more use of the hip flexors (the muscles at the top-front of each leg. They are small and basically function as stabilizers which enable the body to plant its feet on the moving belt – preventing it from stumbling. Not much caloric burn there.
In fact, due to this difference in the body’s muscle usage, the energy expenditure of the leg muscles is 3 percent greater for outdoor running over treadmill running.
So why do people who want great results still choose the treadmill? There are obviously many. One reason is that the soft “deck” located underneath the belt reduces the incidence of overuse injuries by up to 50 percent. The deck cushions the impact of the body’s repeated pouncing and pounding mile after mile. Also, for most, distractions make long bouts of exercise more tolerable. It is easier to listen to music when “treadmilling”, because you don’t have to worry about external variables like other people, dogs, bikes and cars. Also, many people obviously like to pass the time exercising while watching TV. However, I never approve of this type of “exercise”. Why? It has actually been proven that when one is distracted either by others exercising at the same time (let’s say side-by-side on a treadmill conversing) or while watching a TV program, slightly less energy is actually expelled than if their full attention was on their workout.
So, if you’re looking to really get in shape and doing so in the shortest amount of time, take advantage of the upcoming great weather (we hope) and take your workout outside!
However, if the choice is to exercise indoors, on a treadmill or not exercise at all, obviously choose the former. But this will help. If you set your treadmill at a 1 percent incline you will match the same energy output (and therefore, caloric expenditure) as running outdoors in the elements. Additionally, you’ll better protect your joints and still be able to stay current on what Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan are up to.