Aa
A
A
A
Close
Exercise & Fitness Community
5.8k Members
18524847 tn?1465599501

Do you think a treadmill is as good as walking outside?

Treadmills are so static . . . even with the fancy ones with programs.  Do you think the work out is as good on a treadmill as it is hitting the streets/sidewalks?  
6 Responses
Avatar universal
For exercise, they can be better -- if you have a high tech one or go to the gym you can build in hills.  You can alternate jogging with walking with hills if you want to do interval training.  The surface is supposedly easier on the feet than pavement.  You can watch TV while you do it, if that's your thing.  You can vary the speed.  For pleasure while you're exercising, there's no beating getting outdoors, though, especially if you can find good long walks that have hills and dirt trails.  If you exercise in the early daytime, you'll get your Vitamin D.  Can't get that in the gym.  Then there's the weather -- if you're not tough, you'll skip it a lot, whereas you won't have that excuse to skip a treadmill indoors.  I've had to stop walking due to injuries all over, and I would have preferred to keep running or bicycling if injuries hadn't stopped me, but I always prefer getting outdoors and no weather ever stopped me.  Ran or walked in rain, snow, and even ice.  If you're near woods, you can see animals if you go at night and in the winter you'll have the animal life and the whole area to yourself if you go at night.  Just depends on what you're going for, pleasure or the best workout, because the best workout might be the treadmill.  One other advantage to walking outdoors -- you can walk as long as you like.  If you're using a gym, they frown on someone hogging a machine for a couple of hours or more.  So also depends on how long you go for.
Avatar universal
I always walked/run outside. I find it more relaxing. I did buy a treadmill for winter and when days were crappy, but honestly I hate using it. For me, 5 minutes on the treadmill feels like an hour and I'm constantly checking to see when my run will be over. I also don't like how it feels to run on the treadmill. Now, I don't have a fancy treadmill that does inclines, but it just feels unnatural to run on.
134578 tn?1546634665
I have a friend who lost a lot of weight on her treadmill. She was very devout, and would walk first thing in the morning and say her prayers and think over her day. She even wore out the belt and had to have it replaced! And she lost a LOT. She also lived in a forested area with curvy roads that were 'basic rule' (country roads with no long views, and people can drive 55 mph on them) so there wasn't much safety from inattentive drivers if she went out running. (The issue of her being a woman alone running on country roads probably also had an impact on her decision to use a treadmill instead.) If you think you'll use a treadmill, especially if you don't think you are as likely to run outdoors than you would be on a treadmill, go for it.
Avatar universal
I don't think so that treadmill is as good as walking outside because when I go for a walk out, I don't count the time that how much I walked. I think that is best for you, and I don't get tired quickly with this, and this is a perfect thing for everyone to stay fit and healthy.
649848 tn?1534637300
Even though there's nothing better than fresh air and a change of scenery to make exercise more fun, moving is moving, wherever you're doing it; it's much better than sitting in front to the computer for hours like I'm doing now...   :-)

I have a treadmill and although I don't use it like I should, neither do I go outside and walk like I should either.   I do have my treadmill in front of a window so I can watch the birds and whatever else might be lurking outside my window and can easily spend half an hour or more on the treadmill, with my earbuds in, listening to my tunes.  The problem is the motivation to get in the room and get started; that's the same problem I have getting outside (along with the almost 100° temps we have).  Once I get started on my treadmill, I'm fine, but I can't walk very long/far in the heat.
9 Comments
The way I dealt with that before I was sidelined completely by pain recently is to walk at night -- I know Florida is probably a bit worse in humidity and heat than Virginia where I am, but not by much.  My wife does walk in the prime heat of day, but she only walks an hour while I walked for two or two and a half hours when before I messed up my hips, the last part of me that still worked!  I still go out sometimes, and still at night.  Also, for those who need motivation, I don't listen to music, but instead listen to the NPR station on FM radio.  It's all talk and you learn a lot listening.  Used to listen to that at the gym as well for the two hours I used to be there.  Just a thought for those who need something a bit more.  What I loved most is running into deer or foxes, as I walked far enough to get into the woods.  For me, though, motivation was never the problem, I've always loved playing, but as I got older, it was less play and more workout and then it caught up to me with injuries all over the place.  Which is why I say, don't make it an obsession, make it fun, and keep it within reason.  But it just depends on who you are -- I had no problem lifting weights or doing an elliptical indoors, but a treadmill would bore me to tears.  
You're right - Florida is a lot different from Virginia, or many other parts of the country... many areas aren't what I'd consider "safe" to walk in at night - heck, some of them aren't even safe to walk in, in broad daylight... Most of our wooded areas have too many "creepy crawlies" (snakes and other critters) that can make it unsafe to walk unless one walks with head down watching the ground to make sure you can see what you're stepping on.  Heavy leaf cover, downed branches, etc that you're likely to find in woods make it quite dangerous, especially at night when you can't see, to begin with; not to mention that it's hard to get a good workout when you're stumbling along watching every step... Other areas (such as where I live) have no sidewalks, and walking by the side of a busy road is akin to a death wish, either due to traffic hazard or "not nice" people.  Once winter gets here and my neighbors return from Oregon, the field between me and the nearest sidewalks will be mowed and I'll be able to take my golf cart to sidewalks that make walking easier and safer.  Of course, if I was totally motivated to walk outside, I could drive 10-15 miles to areas that are better for walking, complete with either paved or wooden paths, which I do, occasionally.

And yes, you're right - one does learn by listening and music isn't the only thing I ever listen to; however, it does give me the chance to relax and forget the worries for a while.  There are really a lot of reasons for one not exercising... Oddly enough, though I *call* it "lack of motivation" that's probably not the right term for it - there is a reason I don't get more exercise than I do; I just don't discuss it openly for personal reasons.

A treadmill can be very boring, which is why I have mine facing a window, so I can watch what's going on outside.  I'd prefer to have it on my porch, which has windows on 3 sides, but there's no air conditioning and the electronics wouldn't last very long with the humidity...

What spam are you referring to on the forum... just this community or the site as a whole?  
I do live in a pretty safe place, given the US is not a generally safe place and never has been, for whatever reason.  Never thought about the creepy deadlies, we really don't have them here but I had them growing up in California and they never bothered me any but I'm a guy and we're nuts anyway.  What I really wish I could do again is run or bike, but alas, the body is gone.  I've somehow managed to injure myself doing everything you can do, including walking.  It's obviously not the exercise, it's just what happened to me with the drug.  But if you like a treadmill, it is capable of a better workout.  Can't discuss the spam, post was deleted and it's apparently not allowed for discussion.  So, the big question:  Why is Florida so often so unique?  I'm guessing because it was originally attached to Africa, but maybe it's the water.
I think every part of the country (the world) is unique, but maybe I see it more than others do. Some people will tell you there's nothing unique about Florida, but that's just because they live in a city and aren't exposed to anything except the groomed streets and manicured yards.  As far as the dangers go, that could be, partially, attributed to the work I did, which made it necessary to be very aware of my surroundings at all times - not only, always, for my own safety but for others as well.  Old habits die hard... lol  

Traffic-wise, if you came to my area, I think you'd be surprised at what it's like.  People are crazy and that's putting it mildly... A friend and I were almost hit a few years ago by an inattentive driver, while we were walking along the road with no sidewalk and I've refused to walk along that road since then.  It was only good luck that we saw the driver veering our direction and dived out of the way.  We even see tire tracks on the sidewalks, which indicates that sidewalks aren't even safe... We've lived here for 25 yrs and traffic has probably quadrupled, if not more, in that time, because the area is growing so fast.  I won't even talk about the perverts and crooks that make it unsafe in other ways...   :-)

We lived in Iowa years ago and I always considered it about as safe as anyplace could be, but after recent events, I'm not even sure about that anymore.  

You're always welcome to send me a private message if you want to ask a question about something...
I hate to say it lest I sound like someone who reads one bad story in the papers and gets all paranoid, but I'm frankly afraid to be a woman alone out walking or running where a driver can see me and get to me. I wouldn't even be happy alone on footpaths, especially if it was dusk. There have been three deaths in our circle, two hit by cars and one an actual rape and murder, and they were women who were alone on the street, one on a bike, and one who had merely dashed to the corner store on foot to get eggs for something she was baking. I know this is not a constant in the USA, but I wouldn't run outside (let alone at night) for that reason. So, for me, if I had the motivation, a machine (treadmill or eliptical) in my house would be better than not running or walking at all. My husband runs, and it's great for him. (Alas, I'm way too slow to keep up and it would drive him nuts to try to take me on his hill climbs. The last time we even walked up the hill he regularly runs up, I wanted to take a break, though I was too embarrassed to say so.) I need to do something and have been considering buying a machine, but am thinking of this gym that does (I think) bike things, that my son's old teacher is enthusiastic about. At least that way there would be company.
I hesitated to mention that part, but since you did, much as I hate to agree with you, Annie, I sometimes wonder how safe it is to go walking alone for that reason, also.  As I noted above, my friend and I almost got hit by a car while walking along the road - in the ditch, mind you - not even on the shoulder of the road, simply because someone wasn't paying attention.  Then, of course, there are those that will do anything if they think they might get a few dollars or something to sell for a few bucks, etc.  I'm an old lady, so I don't worry that much about rape, but those things aren't really out of the question for anyone.   My husband refuses to get out and walk so I have only my neighbor who is here in the winter.  In the summer, I'm either on my own or relegated to my treadmill.  We have a lot of gated communities here where it's pretty safe to get out and walk alone and if I lived in one of those, I wouldn't hesitate, but I don't.  The little road I live on is okay, but it's only 1/4 mile long so I have to walk/run it several times to get much of a workout.  That's good for one day, but like a treadmill, doing the same thing day in and day out, it becomes boring after a while.  I think it's time for me to look seriously at the yoga studio... lol
It's so sad to have so much fear, and worse that there is some reason for the fear.  It's odd, my life is dominated by an anxiety disorder but I have never had any fear at all about being out in the woods in the middle of the night by myself.  Again, I'm a guy, and I've had martial arts training, which really only taught me that there's always someone meaner and better than you are.  But again, for me, no fear.  My wife is quite short but she's pretty tough and has never driven, so she's been walking everyone alone her whole life.  But she won't go out alone at night, either.  We also have a very hard time walking together and could never have run together because I'm so much taller than she is and much more athletic.  She was more of a gym rat, but as we've aged into our sixties we've both had injuries, so she walks now outside but in the daytime and around the neighborhood, not in the woods like I do.  So here's my take.  My wife bought two machines that are in the basement, an elliptical and a stationary bike.  When I was able I used the elliptical, and she used both machines a lot but then we just stopped.  Frankly, if you have a good gym nearby and you're going to be indoors anyway, I highly recommend using the machines there.  When they break down, it's not your problem -- and you really really don't want to go through the repair process with a home machine, it's awful.  You can vary your routine, using the bike one day, the treadmill another, the elliptical another, lift weights on other days.  The treadmills  can be programmed for hills or interval training or whatever.  Even if you go alone, as I always have, there are other people there and if you go the same time every day you get to recognize one another.  It's fun to watch what others are doing.  As a guy, I especially enjoy watching how women work out, because it's quite different from how guys grew up working out.  I've learned a lot watching.  But definitely take your headphones and listen to what you like, because you do not want to have to listen to what they're playing at the gym.  As for outdoors exercise, nothing beats bicycling.  Nobody's going to attack you on a bike.  The trails in the daytime are quite busy.  Now, it's harder if you live in a place that didn't invest in bike trails -- I'm lucky in that you can ride on trails here for days without stopping (Washington DC metropolitan area).  In low tax areas, you probably don't have this kind of thing, and in low population areas the gyms can be pretty poorly equipped, so that's a problem.  But when we get old, we get hurt, so whatever you do, do it correctly and within your limits so you can keep doing it.  Before I just stopped a few months ago because I hurt so badly, as I aged I tried to mix my exercise -- weights one day, aerobics the next, elliptical one day, running the next, etc.  Repetitive exercise will cause injury.  As for yoga, if you can afford it, great idea, especially for us older folks, but be careful with that, too -- a lot of bending can ruin the back.  Make sure your teacher isn't an idiot.  But good gyms also include free classes and that includes yoga, so again, a good gym is a great asset.  One other tip -- when I had a dog, I'd drive to the big parks where the woods are -- it was just easier that way because I could let her off leash in the park at night and not have to worry about her or her about me.  We each did our thing.  I ran, she roved.  So if you do have bike trails nearby, drive to them and again, in the daytime they are heavily used so no fear about getting attacked -- too public, too well-used, and no cars to run you down.  Happy trails, everyone.
I don't think the fear (at least mine) has anything to do with being a guy or a girl/woman... A guy can get hit by an inattentive driver just as easily as a woman can and no amount of martial arts can prevent it.  Likewise, if someone comes up behind you with a gun or other weapon intent on doing bodily harm, there's not going to be a lot you can do about it.  I think it has more to do with the area and the people around you than anything else.  There are places that I wouldn't hesitate to go out by myself in the middle of the night because I know I wouldn't come across deadly creepy crawlies and the chances of a person attacking me are very slim, though that's a possibility any place in the country at this time in our history...

IMO - the bottom line is, as I said in my first post - moving is moving and any type of movement is better than no movement.  Whether one is at the gym, using a treadmill in the basement, the spare bedroom, living room, doing yoga to a DVD or in a yoga class, even doing housework or mowing the lawn... Anything is better than lying on the sofa watching TV or sitting at the computer, saying: "Gee, I really need to get up from here and do something..."  Studies show that even just standing at the stove cooking a meal, at the sink washing dishes, or at the counter working on your computer is better than sitting all day.  

Just try to have fun with whatever you choose to do - that's important as well because if you're not having fun, you won't stay with it...
I wanted to come back and say that no one should not let the latest comments deter them from their outdoor activities.  If you have a bike or walking trail that you use on a regular basis, that's well used and/or you feel safe there, by all means, follow your own judgment and do as your conscience dictates.  Just because some of us don't feel that we have safe places to do our outside activities solo, doesn't mean that everyone should feel that way.  

As always, follow the laws/rules in your area, be aware of your surroundings, use common sense, and as I said above, enjoy what you're doing, because life is short and we only get to go around once...  ☺☺☺☺
Avatar universal
i always preferred actually going outside to exercise rather than using a treadmill. makes the workout go by faster
Have an Answer?
Top Healthy Living Answerers
Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
14 super-healthy foods that are worth the hype
Small changes make a big impact with these easy ways to cut hundreds of calories a day.
Forget the fountain of youth – try flossing instead! Here are 11 surprising ways to live longer.
From STD tests to mammograms, find out which screening tests you need - and when to get them.
Tips and moves to ease backaches
Here are 12 simple – and fun! – ways to boost your brainpower.