Walking outdoors vs on a treadmill: What is better for your health?

Are you searching for a simple yet powerful way to enhance your well-being? Look no further than walking! But are you confused if you should take a stroll in the park or do it on a treadmill? Well, we are here with an expert to finally put the debate of walking outdoors vs treadmill to rest.
Walking 10000 steps a day
Effective tips to walk 10,000 steps a day. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Manasvi Jain Published: 22 May 2023, 17:00 pm IST
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An activity as simple as walking holds the power to transform your well-being and ignite your fitness journey. But where do you walk? Outdoors, in a park or in your gym, on a treadmill? Let’s dive into the intriguing debate between walking outdoors vs on a treadmill and know about the unique perks each option brings to the table.

Benefits of walking whether it be outdoors or on a treadmill

Health Shots spoke to fitness professional Vikas Sharma, he told us the benefits that walking can have for our health.

1. Cardiovascular health and endurance

“Both outdoor walking and treadmill walking can improve cardiovascular health and endurance,” says Sharma. Regular walking, regardless of the setting, helps strengthen the heart, reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. By maintaining a consistent walking routine, whether outdoors or on a treadmill, you can improve your cardiovascular fitness and overall endurance.

Walking is great for your cardiovascular health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Lung health and respiratory benefits

Walking, especially in fresh outdoor air, helps improve lung capacity and function. Sharma explains that outdoor walking exposes you to a variety of air quality and natural elements, which can promote deeper breathing and enhanced oxygen intake. However, treadmill walking can also offer respiratory benefits, as indoor environments are often well-ventilated and equipped with air circulation systems.

3. Hormonal balance and overall well-being

Walking, regardless of the setting, helps regulate hormonal balance in the body. “It stimulates the release of endorphins, known as “feel-good” hormones, which can uplift your mood, reduce anxiety and alleviate symptoms of depression,” says the fitness expert. Whether you choose to walk outdoors or on a treadmill, this physical activity can contribute to a healthier and more balanced lifestyle.

Also read: Enjoy walking? Try retro walking for better body and mind health

What burns more calories – walking outdoors or on a treadmill?

The primary difference between the two is the external factors that can affect your workout. When walking outside, you may come across uneven terrain, wind resistance and changes in elevation, which can increase the intensity of your workout and potentially burn more calories compared to walking on a flat treadmill surface. On the other hand, on a treadmill you can adjust the speed, incline, and monitor your heart rate, making it easier to maintain a certain intensity level for an extended period. Some treadmills also offer preset workout programs that can help increase calorie burn.

Ultimately, if you walk at the same speed and intensity both on a treadmill and outside, the difference in calorie burn may not be significant. However, if you encounter challenging outdoor conditions or choose to walk at varying speeds and inclines, outdoor walking may result in slightly higher calorie expenditure.

walking outdoor vs treadmill
Guess what? Walking outdoors might help burn more calories than walking on treadmill! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Walking outdoors vs on a treadmill: Which is better?

In the debate between walking outdoors and using a treadmill, the answer ultimately depends on your personal preferences, circumstances and goals. “Outdoor walking offers the advantages of fresh air, natural surroundings, and a sense of freedom, while treadmill walking provides convenience, controlled environments, and year-round accessibility,” says Sharma.

Walking outdoors provides a refreshing change of scenery and allows you to connect with nature, which is rejuvenating for the mind and body. Outdoor walking offers a sense of freedom, reducing stress levels and boosting your mood.


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Treadmills offer convenience and flexibility, especially for those with time constraints or unfavourable weather conditions. With a treadmill, you can walk regardless of the time of day or the season. It provides a controlled environment where you can easily monitor your speed, distance, and other workout metrics. Treadmills also allow you to adjust incline and intensity, providing options for interval training and challenging workouts.

Treadmill walking vs outdoors
Consistency is important. So, whether you walk outdoors or on a treadmill there is only a little difference.

Also read: Why choosing the right walking shoes is crucial for your health

So, whether you decide to lace up your shoes for an invigorating outdoor walk or hop on a treadmill in the comfort of your home or gym, the key is to keep moving and let your body smile with the many benefits that walking brings to your health and well-being!


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About the Author

Manasvi Jain is a professional writer with a keen interest in spreading awareness about various health and wellness issues through her articles. She writes well researched articles by connecting with various doctors and health experts. ...Read More

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