Question: I run outdoors during the summer, but when the weather turns dark and cold I generally run on a treadmill in the gym. Am I getting the same workout?
Answer: While you can get a similar cardio workout on the treadmill as you cold outside, you may have to make a few modifications. The first thing you need to pay attention to on the treadmill is you effort level. If you expend the same effort, you will reap the same cardiovascular benefits either indoor or outdoor. But running on a flat, cushioned, moving belt is a whole lot easier than running under your own power along pavement or trails.
To get the same workout on the treadmill, you will need to either run faster or add a bit of an incline to the treadmill. As little as 1% grade can help make up for the moving belt. Check your effort either by maintaining the same heart rate you have outside, or you can use the rating of perceived exertion scale. If, however, you run the same pace on the treadmill as outside on flat pavement, you will expend less energy on the treadmill. And definitely, don't hold on to the hand rails on the treadmill. You would think this is obvious, but I see dozens of 'hand-holders' at the gym every time I visit.
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