Running is one of the greatest cardio workouts you can get. When your goal is to burn calories fast, there are few activities that can beat running. Moreover, you barely need any equipment at all to do it. For most people, it’s just a matter of having the right pair of shoes on their feet (and socks, too).
Even better, you can run anywhere. While most of us think of the sport as something we do outside, when the weather isn’t playing nice, it’s possible to run on a treadmill indoors, too. That said, you may wonder if it makes a difference whether you’re running inside or outside. After all, no matter where you run, you’re sweating, using your muscles and getting your heart pumping. Is it all the same or is there somewhere you should go if you really want to get maximum results?
Some of the answers depend on what your overall goal is along with calorie burning. After all, there are a lot of different benefits to running, including reducing stress, boosting your joint strength, lowering your chances of heart disease, and even enhancing your bone strength.
However, if it’s all about the burn, you are going to need to take the running conditions into consideration. For example, if you are running on asphalt under the relentless sun and are dripping pools of sweat, are you burning more calories than you would on a treadmill in an air conditioned gym?
Some say yes. In fact, some research from the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse Clinical Exercise Physiology program showed that outdoor runners average a calorie burn of about 3 to 7 percent more than their treadmill running counterparts. The reason is that the treadmill’s moving belt can actually give you a bit of a forward motion advantage as it propels you ahead with each step. Moreover when you’re inside, you’re not running against unfavorable temperatures or even wind resistance.
Outdoor joggers burn around 3 percent more than indoor ones. Fast outdoor runners burn closer to 7 percent more than their indoor counterparts.
That said, for many runners, it’s not just a matter of burning calories. They need to love it, too. If they’re miserable outside in the heat and can’t find a trail that isn’t too busy to use, a treadmill may provide a wonderful alternative. Some runners also like to be able to watch a show while they run, which is far easier to do on a treadmill. Is it worth the 3 to 7 percent? If it makes the difference between whether or not you’ll actually do it, then absolutely!