Is running in place as effective as running on a treadmill?

No, while running in place is better than nothing at all and is a good warm up technique it does not replace actual running for effectiveness. The mechanics of running forward are much different than the mechanics of running in place and are much more effective at producing positive benefits in the body such as calories burned, muscles worked, and load bearing benefits to the bones.  Other than being used as a warm up try to perform actual running instead of jogging in place.
While running in place will increase your heart rate to a certain extent, the mechanics of running in place are totally different than running with forward motion. When one runs in place, the force of the movement is absorbed through the toes/ball of the foot, as opposed to the heel or mid-foot in someone running forward. This can affect the knee joints negatively, as well as the hips. When one runs in place his knees will be coming straight up and he will be pushing off less on the toe of the foot that is on the ground. The glutes will not be as involved because the hip is not being placed in an extended position (leg outstretched behind the center of gravity), nor will the hamstrings be activated as much because of the lack of forward motion and hip extension. If one runs with forward momentum, the force of the stride is being absorbed by the heel or mid-foot strike and the knee in a much more "normal" fashion. There will not be as much stress on the hip flexors because the knee is not being lifted straight up, the glutes and hamstrings will be better able to perform the duties they are designed to perform (hip extension and knee flexion). Running in place can be included as part of a warm-up, but will make your legs, especially the quadriceps/hip flexors, very sore if performed for extended periods of time.   

As far as heart rate is concerned, yes it will increase. However, the act of running in place is difficult to do for extended periods of time (fatigue, boredom, numb balls of the feet, etc.). Running with forward momentum, either on a treadmill, track, or road, is much more psychologically enjoying and will result in a greater cardiovascular benefit.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.