Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Indoors or Outdoors? Which Is The Better Way To Run?

Let’s start off by saying that there is no bad way to run. Running is an excellent exercise. It burns fat, improves sleep, and reduces stress. The list could go on and on. Inside or outside, it’s all good. However, there are definite pros and cons to running indoors or outdoors. One location may better suit your needs and preferences.

The Benefits of Running Outdoors

#1 Variety – Even if you run the same route every single time, you’ll encounter different experiences outdoors. Animals, people, vehicles and route conditions all change day after day.

#2 Sunshine – Our bodies need sunshine. It helps you produce vitamin D which elevates your mood and makes you less susceptible to disease.

#3 Realistic Conditions – When you run outside your body has to deal with changing terrain. Not only do you have to watch out for obstacles in your path, you also experience hills. Indoors that isn’t always possible. If you’re training for a race it’s likely going to be outside. And real running terrain also helps you build core strength and stability.

The Downside to Running Outside

Houses in Washington Park, East Chicago
Snowy weather. (Photo credit: UIC Digital Collections)
#1 Bad weather – While some people do enjoy running in the rain, wind and snow, many do not. You can’t always count on perfect weather.

#2 People, animals, and vehicles – When you run outside you definitely have to keep an eye out for the things around you. It’s not unheard of to be chased by animals, bothered by people or to have to dodge a car or a bike when you run outside.

#3 Lighting – Many runners have to run before or after work and that means running in the dark. Running in the dark brings its own risks to the program.

The Benefits of Running Inside

#1 The biggest benefit to running inside is convenience. This is particularly the case if you run on a treadmill in your home. You can watch television, make phone calls and check your email while you run.

#2 Safety. In general, running indoors is safer. You don’t have to deal with animals, other people, or vehicles.

#3 Privacy. If you run on a treadmill in your home you can run in whatever suits you, including nothing at all. It’s private. If you run in a gym, that’s not the case of course. However, you don’t have to dress for the weather when you run in a gym which may save on fitness attire.

English: Nordic walking on a treadmill in a he...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Downside to Running Inside

#1 Boring. Running inside can get downright boring. You’re either running in circles on a track or you’re running in place on a treadmill.

#2 Lacks social element. There’s just no way to go on a group run on a treadmill. It’s you and you alone on your runs. You can’t even take your dog with you.

#3 No race training. Some runners do supplement their outdoor running program with a treadmill run when the weather gets bad. However, it is difficult to train for a race when you run on a treadmill. An indoor track might be okay however when most people run on a treadmill their running form changes. It’s difficult to replicate an outdoor run.

You don’t have to choose one or the other. Many runners run outside when they can and they run inside when they have to. The important thing to remember is to make time for running, wherever you can.

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