A Treadmill Doesn’t Replace Outdoor Exercise

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A Treadmill Doesn’t Replace Exercise Outdoors 

By J. Maki

I am a self-confessed treadmill nerd.

I love them.


There is something about the merging of steel, rubber, and LCDs and the persistent hum of a strong horsepower motor coupled with the rhythmic drum of footfalls that is simply just magical to me. But I digress…

But even though I love all things treadmills, there is one thing I love even more: exercising outside. Despite the benefits and strengths of owning one, a treadmill can and will never replace what you can do outdoors. The benefits of fresh air and sunlight on your wellbeing are well documented, and there is a feeling of oneness with nature that I’ve experienced on more than one occasion when doing a trail run through the woods, or running from darkness to the moment the sun comes up. 

And then, there is the variety that is offered from the outdoors. You can run on a track, through a forest, around a town or a city, up and down a mountain, your list of options is wide open. Walking and running outdoors allows you to explore new terrain and discover things about your area or new locations you may not have known.

By all means, if I have my first choice when it comes to exercise, it is outside, and you should, too. 

However, as much as I love working out outdoors, it is not always possible. 

If I get slammed with meetings at work and things run over in my schedule, running during late hours at night is not always feasible. 

If I need to be close to home because one of my children is ill or is having a rough time, I can schedule to get my run in during the early morning hours, all while being accessible to assist my wife if needed. 

If I am looking for a change of pace from the outdoors, my treadmill can provide this opportunity.

If I don’t have the time to drive to the local trail where I like running, I can opt for convenience and hit the treadmill. 

If the weather is flat-out awful, the treadmill is the answer.

Ultimately, a treadmill gives you options for how, when, and where you will exercise, and this flexibility cannot be overvalued.  

Also, if your primary mode of exercise is walking, with a treadmill, you can read or watch a show, movie, or educational video as you work out, which you cannot do if you exercising outdoors (well, maybe you can, but I would not advise it!). 

The best exercise plans provide you with options and flexibility and eliminate excuses. While outdoors is my primary, I cannot account for what will unexpectedly arise during the week and trip up my schedule. With my treadmill, it’s not a problem, because I can adapt my workout at a moment’s notice. 

Give yourself the flexibility with your workout routine and invest in the treadmill that is right for you. You can still stick to the outdoors, but you will now have the power to adjust or plan for something different at a moment’s notice.

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