Treadmills: Advantages and disadvantages

Is running on the treadmill a good idea or is it better to work up that sweat outdoors? We give you the pros and cons of using a treadmill so you may make an informed choice.

Running is considered one the easiest and most effective forms of exercise. It’s cheap, it requires minimal to no training to get started and the only thing that you really need to worry about is getting yourself a good pair of sneakers. And also the weather, as that can play a major spoilsport to the most dedicated runner’s plans.

That was until the treadmill came into our lives. These indoor machines that allow us to run on the spot for as long as we like, any time of the day or night, are a boon for walkers and runners. It’s time to take a step back and see whether treadmills are actually a healthy replacement for the good old outdoors.

Advantages of using the treadmill

You’re no longer a slave to the elements: If its pouring cats and dogs outside, you are more likely to just stay snuggled in your blanket rather than get up and go for that run. With a treadmill, the only thing standing between you and your run is your will to run. Be it morning or night; a hot, scorching day or a rainy, wet one; those who want to run, can run!

It enables steady running: While running in the great outdoors, some runners, especially beginners, tend to gradually slow down as they start feeling tired. This reduction in pace, unintentional as it may be, tends to reduce the quality of your workout. With a treadmill, you can ensure that you don’t run too fast or too slow.

It allows recovery runs: A recovery run is a run conducted at a slow, conversational pace, after an intense workout. These runs are necessary because they allow muscles to recover. Many beginners underestimate its importance and burn themselves out by trying to run fast and hard all the time. Setting the pace on the treadmill helps your muscles recuperate before you start your workout again.

It gives you an accurate measurement of your workout: Of course there are gadgets which enable you to judge the pace and distance that you have run but a treadmill offers complete control over the distance that you run and the speed that you wish to maintain making it easy to accurately measure the effectiveness of your workout. Many treadmills also come with built in heart rate monitors, allowing you to maintain your desired heart rate.

You can customise your workout: Live in Chennai but feel like running up a mountain? A treadmill will allow you to do that. With a treadmill, you can choose from a variety of workouts and terrains to give yourself a real challenge.

Disadvantages of using the treadmill

Provides an ideological running environment: Experts suggest that your training regimen should be as close to the real deal as ssible. When you run on a treadmill, you run in a protected environments. For example, while running outside, the wind works against you. The faster you run, the more resistance it offers. On a treadmill, you don’t train to face the elements.

Enables incorrect running posture: Studies have been performed which show that the way your body positions itself while running on a treadmill and on free ground is different. On a treadmill, runners tend to lean forward less, causing wastage of energy.

Provides a smooth running surface: While running outdoors, you are bound to encounter obstacles, stones and different surfaces. This variety improves the ability of your mind to pre-empt the effect of the terrain on your muscles. It allows the brain to judge what would be the best way to position the joints to brace for impact. On a treadmill, the consistent smooth surface, acts as a disadvantage in this regard.

More often than not, people get carried away by the fake promise of fitness that a treadmill comes with. The treadmill can merely act as a tool; the driving factor for higher fitness levels lies with you. So be it getting your exercise on the treadmill or on the streets outside, what’s important is putting those shoes on and doing it. Either way, you win!

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