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Treadmills are among the most popular pieces of home-exercise equipment, and there are plenty of reasons why! They are a great way to get in some exercise for people who can't easily exercise outdoors, in particular. Whether you are a new mom planning to burn some of that postpartum weight while your baby is asleep, someone healing from an injury, an older person who doesn't want to walk long distances outside, or someone who'd loves walking and running so much that you'd like to keep it up even when it's too rainy or cold to fancy the great outdoors, a treadmill can make a very helpful addition to your exercise toolbox.

If you're not limited by any of those factors, is relying on a treadmill as your primary means to running a good idea, though?

Benefits Of Using A Treadmill

Treadmills allow you to get a decent cardio workout in the comfort and safety of your own home. You don't just get to decide the pace, but also have something to hold onto. These facts make treadmills a great choice for people who are recovering from physical limitations of any kind.

For the rest of us, they still get the heart rate up, promote spine health, strengthen certain muscles, contribute to healthy bones, help you feel great, and burn calories.

Other benefits of treadmills include the facts that they're easy to use, give the user a great amount of control, and allow them to fit exercise in around their life, even while still in their PJs and with unwashed hair.

Treadmills Have Their Limitations

There are also downsides to using a treadmill rather than running outdoors if you could be doing that instead, however. Many people ask how many calories are burned by using a treadmill. Since treadmills can be set to many different speeds, we can't tell you how much your treadmill exercise is doing for you. We do know, unfortunately for all treadmill lovers out there, that there is research to suggest that running outdoors burns more calories than using a treadmill.

Depending on your speed, running outside may burn five or even 10 percent more calories than using a treadmill, both because treadmills lack wind resistance and because they move the ground for you.

Jogging outside, besides burning more calories, also offers you a vitamin D boost, contributes to a better mood especially in depressed individuals, allows you a change of scenery, and may allow you to get to know other joggers in your area. 

The Bottom Line

Using a treadmill is great, to be sure, but if you are able and willing to get outdoors for your jogs instead, you get a whole other set of benefits that at-home running on an exercise machine will simply not offer you. In addition, treadmills are expensive as well as large and very visible within the home. If you'd like to get the most out of your running, and you don't fit the already mentioned profile of people who greatly benefit from using a treadmill, we suggest you take your exercise outside instead.

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