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Is it better to train outside or indoors on equipment?

There are pros and cons when training outside versus training inside. One of the benefits of training outside is motivation. It is hard to continue to be motivated for long durations looking at a TV! Motivation is a very important factor when doing cardiovascular training because of the time that is required, so any changes in your environment will help. Also important is using the muscle groups that are required for your activity. An example of this is running. When using a treadmill indoors, your legs are being aided in the run by the belt. The belt is helping with the leg turnover so you are not using your hamstring in the full range of motion. If you only train on a treadmill and then go outside to run, the first thing that will fatigue will be the hamstrings because they have not been training as hard.  Running outside, you need the hamstrings to push off more in order to drive your leg around because you don’t have the belt to help you. Overall, in any activity outside you are using more muscle groups which will aid in caloric expenditure. However, training outside all the time can also cause some over use injuries. A benefit of training inside is that you have a controlled surface to reduce the impact on the joints as well as controlled temperature. Training in the cold may cause injury if the muscles are not properly warmed up and training in the heat can increase your chances of dehydration. Another benefit of training on equipment is the control of the workout and feedback. When you are able to see the workload (speed, incline, level, watts) you can make adjustments to continue to progress. Outside it is harder to control pace, but it is not impossible.

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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.