A treadmill is an exercise device that allows you to walk or run in place. People use it often to work out at home or at the gym. Comparing the treadmill to regular or outdoor walking and running is one of the best ways you can assess its pros and cons and find out if a treadmill is something that will work for you.
Pro: Running on Demand
How many times have you planned to walk or run outdoors, but the weather turns wet? A treadmill allows you to do your workout on demand. The weather and time of day do not have any influence on your ability to use your treadmill. Use your treadmill day or night, rain or shine. Any time you feel like working out, all you have to do is use it.
Con: Less Wind Resistance
One disadvantage of using treadmills–as opposed to walking or running outdoors–is that you cannot take advantage of the wind resistance. When you use the treadmill at home, your atmosphere never changes and you are running in place. However, when you are walking or running outdoors you are running with or against the wind. The faster you run, the more of an effect the wind resistance has on you. You burn more calories. According to “Contemporary Sport, Leisure and Ergonomics,” written by Thomas Reilly, air resistance when running outdoors increases the energy cost of running, which means you will expend more energy when you run outdoors than when you run on a treadmill.
Pro: Special Features
A water bottle holder, calorie counter, heart rate monitor, timer and speed or incline adjusters are common features you will find on treadmills; however, newer and more expensive models may come with an MP3 dock and plasma TV. The added features will allow you to enjoy some entertainment while working out. It’s true that you can also listen to music while walking or running outdoors, but you cannot watch TV without risking getting into an accident.
Con: Space Requirements
Treadmills are bulky and require adequate space. According to the Treadmill website, an average treadmill measures approximately 3 feet wide and 7 feet long. Folding it after every use may free up some floor space; however, it can also be a bit of an eyesore. You need ample storage space if you want to stow it away. Unless you have a separate exercise or bonus room, a treadmill can eat up valuable space, which becomes a problem when you live in tight quarters.
Pro: Shock Absorption
According to the Health Guidance website, the shock absorber present in the treadmill can help protect your body from impact caused by running, making the treadmill safer than running outdoors. The rough road or sudden shift of terrain outdoors can cause injury to a walker or runner and requiring healing time.
Purchasing a treadmill can be costly, ranging from a couple to several hundreds of dollars, depending on the style and features. Furthermore, a treadmill uses electricity, which can add to your utility bill.