SportsPlus Physio
Unit 25, Quintin's Way, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary Phone: 067 42837   Email:

Get out of the Gym!

Hi folks. I hope you enjoyed last week’s blog on the benefits of running. I want to follow up this week by explaining to you why you should head outdoors to run rather than spend your time on a treadmill.

A)     Biomechanics.

The body responds to running on a treadmill very differently to running overground. These differences occur because the belt is moving on a treadmill and you have to keep up rather than propelling yourself as you would have to do on the ground. When you run on a treadmill your hamstrings and gleuteal muscles do not work as hard. Your quadriceps and hip flexors work harder and you lean forwards more than usual. Your stride is not as long and you heel strike much more. These modifications can have a detrimental effect on your body over time.

B)      Calorie burn

A run outdoors at a certain pace for a certain time will burn more calories than a similar run on a treadmill. This is due to a number of reasons. You use more muscles when running on the ground as explained above. Outdoor running involves moving against air resistance which adds to the work. When you factor in winds this can be a considerably increased effort. The terrain on an outdoor run is undulating requiring your work rate to increase and decrease at intervals depending on the slope when you are running at a steady pace. This introduces heart rate variability and central nervous system changes which place more demand on the body. On a treadmill run your body adapts to utilise some of the energy that the moving belt provides in order to use less energy itself. This makes treadmill running easier and so less demanding in terms of calories required.

C)      Core

Outdoor running surfaces are never flat. This requires your body to make micro adjustments as your foot strikes the ground. These adjustments occur from the foot and ankle right up the leg to the core. They are imperceptible to the conscious mind but result in the muscles, tendons, joints and nervous system becoming more efficient.

D)     Cost

Outdoor running is free. No treadmill costs, no gym fees!! All that is requires is a decent pair of runners when you are beginning and indeed many experienced runners are increasingly going barefoot these days so even that cost is eliminated.

E)      Availability

You can run whenever, wherever you wish. It is not restricted by gym opening hours, or by the queue for the machine.

F)      Psychological

There are massive psychological advantages of outdoor running over treadmill running. You never have to do the same run twice. You always have something different to look at and you are moving from A to B which, in the end of the day, is the whole point to running at all.

G)     Social

Outdoor running is very social. Many running groups and clubs have sprung up around the country and are gaining in popularity. There are 5km and 10 km events run every weekend and are rapidly taking over as the new social outlet for people with barbecues and nights out arranged afterwards.

I rest my case. All I ask is that you give it a go. You will never look back…. unless there is a dog at your heels of course!!!

Tel: 067 42837. Website: E-mail:



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