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Treadmills vs real walking
Old 08-19-2007, 08:54 AM   #1
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Treadmills vs real walking

Anyone else share my experience, that real walking gives a much better workout than a power treadmill, even with the same time, distance, and hill program? I don't know if it's psychological or if there is a real difference between the two, but my body reacts differently.
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Old 08-19-2007, 08:59 AM   #2
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Anyone else share my experience, that real walking gives a much better workout than a power treadmill, even with the same time, distance, and hill program? I don't know if it's psychological or if there is a real difference between the two, but my body reacts differently.
Soon, I'm n ot sure it really is different in terms of calorie burn, etc. but certainly can see how the small unevenness of "real" terrain, changes in speed, climate and other factors can make the real thing feel more strenuous.

I know that jogging in the real world in one of my favorite things, but jogging on the treadmill is to me akin to having a root canal.
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:49 AM   #3
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I have started running laps around my pool (inside the pool, not around the outside). After one lap my legs are on fire, but it is easy on my knees and back.
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Old 08-19-2007, 10:02 AM   #4
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I also do laps in my pool plus I have found that swimming tones me better than any amount of gym work .Sorry if I'm off the subject .
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Old 08-19-2007, 01:03 PM   #5
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We had a treadmill at one time, and it was OK but actually walking outdoors at least seemed to be more productive. The only definable benefits of our treadmill were (IMHO): #1 - I could use it regardless of the weather, and not have to deal with the heat, cold, rain, snow, etc. And #2 - there was ALWAYS a restroom nearby!

Plus I like being outside in the fresh air, and not couped up inside....unless of course the weather is really awful!
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Old 08-19-2007, 01:14 PM   #6
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I vaguely recall reading an article that explained why outdoor running was superior to a treadmill. I believe it was because the treadmill track moves, so you don't use as much muscle power to propel yourself forward as you do on a non-moving track.

Edit: and you don't need to overcome wind resistance on a treadmill.
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Old 08-19-2007, 01:36 PM   #7
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I much prefer real walking. Today it is raining, so I'll use an umbrella but my legs will get wet anyway. Might as well get ready for winter!

I have no idea whether this is better than a treadmill- I doubt I have walked 5 miles on a treadmill in my life. My favorite thing is hill walking, and my neighborhood has some prodigious hills.

It does seem hard to get a real high HR without running, even up steep hills. Sure does a job on your legs though. There are weight vests that you can use, some up to 75#- a bit too much for me at this point. Sometimes I put 20 or 25# in my pack and except for it swinging around it does increase the load on my legs, though not sure about any effect it might have on wind.

Ha
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Old 08-19-2007, 02:15 PM   #8
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I vaguely recall reading an article that explained why outdoor running was superior to a treadmill. I believe it was because the treadmill track moves, so you don't use as much muscle power to propel yourself forward as you do on a non-moving track.

Edit: and you don't need to overcome wind resistance on a treadmill.
That's pretty much the difference, at least that's what a trainer told me. I have a treadmill but only use it in the winter or bad weather. I love being out doors but it's not always possible so if I have to use the "dreadmill" I make sure I vary the incline and speed as much as possible.
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Old 08-19-2007, 03:41 PM   #9
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never used a treadmill but here in south florida especially in summer it makes sense how popular they are in the nicely air conditioned gym. just got back from there & taking a glance upstairs it looked like all the machines were being used.

don't know but maybe the only excess weight you're losing on your power walks is just water?

meanwhile, lots of people like using the stationary bikes at the gym too but i way prefer a real bike ride, even in this south florida summer heat.
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Old 08-19-2007, 04:15 PM   #10
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I vaguely recall reading an article that explained why outdoor running was superior to a treadmill. I believe it was because the treadmill track moves, so you don't use as much muscle power to propel yourself forward as you do on a non-moving track.

Edit: and you don't need to overcome wind resistance on a treadmill.
I've read that you should put the treadmill on a 1% or 1 degree uphill grade to compensate for these things.

I personally don't like running or walking on a treadmill. I get too bored and wind up increasing the speed and running less miles, faster. What kills me is that I've got a one mile, mostly crushed rock/dirt trail near my house, and there is a health club right next to it, and even on beautiful days I see people on the treadmills. I don't understand it. But whatever gets people exercising is good.
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Old 08-19-2007, 04:44 PM   #11
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We had a bit of cleansing rain this morning, and when it stopped I went for a 3 mile run. Half of it through a forest of cedars and firs, and the other half along the coast. Waving to my Mayberry-esque neighbors along the way.

Hard to replicate that on a treadmill.
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Old 08-19-2007, 08:20 PM   #12
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Went for a long walk outside today and concentrated on how it was different. The main thing, besides what everyone has pointed out, is that my arms are swinging whereas on the treadmill I'm holding on to the bars on the side. That makes a big difference because it gets other muscle groups into the action.
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Old 08-19-2007, 08:55 PM   #13
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At the gym, I usually do half my walking on the indoor track, while I am feeling enthusiastic and swinging my arms cheerfully. Then as I begin to "wilt", I switch to the treadmill. That keeps me moving at a brisk pace during the last part of my walking. I like both the indoor track and the treadmill, and I like the variety of switching from one to the other better than I like either individually.

Walking in the French Quarter is a LOT better exercise than either the indoor track or the treadmill. This is because of the historic ( = uneven) pavement in the Quarter. Keeping my balance as I navigate tilted and uneven pavement can be quite a workout, in comparison. Also, the Quarter is an intriguing place even for those of us who live in the area, so I always feel like walking farther there than I do in the gym.

I don't always have time to go down there to walk, though. Usually I walk in the gym.
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:18 PM   #14
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Running Bun is correct. The standard wisdom is that running on a treadmill at a 1% grade is equivalent to running at the same pace on a stationary surface.

I greatly prefer running outdoors however I sometimes do intervals on a treadmill because:

- You can set the speed at a given setting and it forces you to run at that speed. No faster, no slower.

- Since it is easier running on a treadmill you can set it to a faster speed than what you could maintain at a given exertion level on the track. This trains your legs to run at a faster turnover.

The other time that I use a treadmill is when I'm recovering from an injury because if the injury starts to bother me in the middle of the run I don't have to walk home.

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Old 08-19-2007, 09:34 PM   #15
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No dicipline to maintain pace in real life, so treadmill seems like work. I set it for the variety of inclines so it just adjusts automatically and I just go along. No stopping to check things out on a treadmill. Seems like work to me!
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Old 08-19-2007, 10:04 PM   #16
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I walk at an indoor track. I've tried a treadmill and found it numbingly boring. At the facility with the indoor track they have plenty of treadmills and 4 channels of TV to watch, but my walking time is to get away from things like tv!

The track is 1/8 mile long, which may be rare for an indoor track. The surface is cushioned, the place is air conditioned and there are large windows and views all around. It's an upstairs track, so you can look down to the pool or at all the muscular guys lifting weights or kids on the basketball court. It's just a lovely place to go.

I've tried walking outside in the neighborhood. But I don't like the hard sidewalks, I don't want to stop at corners and wait for cars. I listen to music on an iPod and I'm in my own little world when I'm walking and out in the neighborhood, alone in my musical solitude, I just felt like bait for a mugger.

Here's where I walk at the indoor track -
City of Cuyahoga Falls :: Official Website

And a picture of the track. I love the color scheme -
http://cfo.cityofcf.com/web2/parksan...ges/track1.jpg
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Old 08-20-2007, 05:29 AM   #17
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In a perfect world, I'd prefer to run outside. But even at my relatively young age of 43, I can tell you me knees and ankles much prefer the padded surface of a treadmill rather than asphalt. Even when I am in top-notch form, I weigh in at 195 or so at 6'2", so that is a lot of pounding on the joints.

If the purpose of the run is a cardio workout, I don't think it much matters where you run, as long as you maintain your heart rate in the range where it is doing some good.
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:00 AM   #18
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I run quite a bit and prefer running on the treadmill.. I run 4 - 5 days a week and usally do 1 day outside. Last time I ran outside I had a horsefly chasing me for about 2 miles of an 8 mile run...that was very annoying.. Normaly I run for about 1 hour and watch the business news of the day. I do believe that if you are outside the varied terrain is probably going to give you a better workout.. Kind of like the same idea of free weights vs. weight machines where you are bringing more muscles into play. But... I also find the treadmill easier on my knees and ankles too.
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In Defense of Treadmills...
Old 08-20-2007, 07:02 AM   #19
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In Defense of Treadmills...

I have an arthritic hip, and the treadmill seems to be less stressful. I am trying to change my workouts, swimming is much better. I have located a Ballys with a nice pool, so I'll be starting the process.
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:23 AM   #20
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I have an arthritic hip, and the treadmill seems to be less stressful. I am trying to change my workouts, swimming is much better. I have located a Ballys with a nice pool, so I'll be starting the process.
Been having some hip issues myself (as in pain, not as in "cool.") Have you tried an elliptical? Is that better?
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