Question: I love to run but don't enjoy it as much when it is really hot outside. What's the difference between running on the treadmill and running outside?
Great question! The West Coast may appreciate the end of summer, but the folks on the East are hoping for an extension for warm temperatures. Soaring temperatures may send you back inside to escape the heat while you exercise. A medical advisor for Women’s Health magazine says that there is not a set temperature that means that you should stay inside, but you can use a heat index chart to help you decide if you should run outdoors or go to the gym and use the treadmill. Basically, when the heat index reaches 90 degrees, avoid running outdoors. So how is running on a treadmill going to change your workouts?
The treadmill can be a runner's best friend during inclement weather or if your safety and workout quality may be compromised during an outdoor run. Hills are easy to replicate on a treadmill and are great for HIIT training. Impact on the body is reduced on the treadmill and can be useful for someone who is recovering from an injury. Men's Fitness suggests creating a varied terrain by increasing the incline and using the heart rate monitor display to keep track of how your heart rate responds to the changes.
According to an article in the New York Times blog, there are benefits to exercising outside that cannot be replicated in a gym. People that participate in outdoor activities have been shown to enjoy it more and consequently, work out for a longer period of time and more often. There are several differences between running and walking outside that are challenging to replicate on the treadmill. For example, a person who takes their walk or run outside is going to expend more energy because they have to adapt to the changes in temperature, terrain and wind. Your ankles flex more when you run outside, which changes your stride, and your hamstrings are more active when running outdoors. When you run outdoors, you are more aware of your pace and tempo.
The winner is…..
This week’s winner depends on the heat index. If it is safe to run outside, go for it! Running out in the sun helps the body create Vitamin D in the body which can help support the immune system and promote good bone health. When the heat and humidity are high, work on your hills and speed indoors on the treadmill. Don’t forget your hipS-sister band to hold your ID and phone while you work out!
This week's fitness tip was written by our Social Media and Affiliate Coordinator Robin M. Gillespie. Robin is NASM certified and teaches everything except yoga and boxing! Have a question you want her to answer? Email her: firstname.lastname@example.org