Indoor vs. Outdoor Running: Why Treadmill Running Sucks?

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indoor vs outdoor running

By Bekir Karakayalı

As the fitness industry keeps growing, we tend to spend our lives sweating for hours in huge chambers, trying to look like our favorite Instagram celebrity. By the closing time of our fancy gym approaches, we all line up on treadmills like a bunch of hamsters, chasing our “beach body” goals.

The Ultimate Goal: Fat Burn

Except for those who run because they love it or do this as a profession, we all have the same motivation behind going on a treadmill, to lose fat. Different sources have implanted us with different formulas on how to burn fat during a gym session. Some would recommend a 10-min warm up on the treadmill, while others suggest that you should run for at least 30 minutes after your workout and some will tell you that a 40-min inclined walk will burn fat the most.

Mild Pace vs. High Intensity Training

In the past , most researches pointed out that cardio exercises at a mild pace with long durations resulted in maximum fat burn. Heart rates around 110-130 bpm were accepted to be the fat burning zone, while faster heart rates were considered to be cardio benefit/endurance zones.

However, nowadays more intense programs like HIITs (High Intensity Interval Training), spinning classes that max your heart rate or cross-fit sessions are extremely trending. These programs aim to increase your metabolic rate and thus increase calorie burn during and after workouts.

What to Do?

So what can be done if you are not a member of some fancy gym, or do not know enough about these trending programs? The answer is really simple actually. If we pull ourselves away from the infollution (information pollution 🙂 ) all these new era workouts produce, we would see that running outdoors is the key that maintained a human being’s fitness since the beginning of life. So just go out in the open air and run. If you are not in your best shape, start by walking at a fast pace and gradually try to increase your total running time. With time, you will realize that your fatigue limit and aerobic capacity has increased.

The best thing about outdoor running is that you are not fully in control of what is happening around you. Roughness and steepness of the ground, the wind and obstacles you come across during your workouts are just challenges that push you to your limit. And pushing your limits means growth…

One thing you can control while running outdoors is the variety of your movements. You can throw in some side hops, backward runs or run with your feet touching your glutes if just running is too mainstream. This would engage extra muscle fibers during your workout and liven up your run when you are tired or bored.

Another advantage of running outdoors is that the further you get away from your starting point (your home, your car etc.), the more distance you need to cover to get back there. Thus, you can not pause or quit your training whenever you like, as on a treadmill.

So when you are too lazy to go running or prefer to hop on the fitness bike and set the timer to just 15 minutes the next time, just remember that humans needed to run everywhere to survive in ancient times.

My Side of the Story

I have been an eager member of many gyms over the years and I am a big addict of heavy lifting. However, my own experiences show that I have had my most fit looks when my gym membership had expired and I had no option except for running outdoors. Even though I love swollen muscles and a pumped look, I must admit that outdoor running is a must if you want your abs to pop-out. After all, everyone loves a thin waist and a spectacular six-pack.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. These are only my personal suggestions that worked for me so far.

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