Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Are treadmills bad?

Ever since I started running at all, I had a pretty simple seasonal running plan; If it was spring/summer/fall and not too bad weather, I would train outside. Otherwise, the treadmill was my best friend. I’ve never been shy about this. I don’t enjoy being uncomfortable, and running while wet/cold just never appealed to me. Now theoretically, running on a treadmill versus outdoors is not entirely bad. If you aren’t going to be physically active at all, then using a treadmill is a great option.

The major argument against using treadmills for training is that the muscles used when treadmill running is different than outdoor running, because of the benefit of having the belt move. This affects your form, and can actually cause injury over time because of the difference in biomechanics. This doesn’t mean that there are no benefits to running on treadmills. For example, they can often be much easier on bones and joints, because they tend to have built in impact compression (at least the better models). Obviously the convenience and enjoyment factor is also a bit up, because it easy to keep running while watching a show or movie on TV.

If you do choose to run on a treadmill, it is often advised that you put set the incline grade to at least 1%. This will help in part to minimize the effect of the moving belt, and better simulate real life conditions.

In the end, the choice is yours, but once you get into it, running outside in the winter really isn't that bad at all.
Take care, and keep tr-ing!


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