9 Amazing Benefits of Running on a Treadmill
The benefits of running on a treadmill are endless for your health. Here are 9 of the best reasons running inside will help your overall fitness.
If you’re still on the fence about adding a treadmill to your fitness routine, I will show you the many benefits of running on a treadmill.
In fact, I suspect you’ll be lacing up your sneakers before you even finish this article, inspired by the many benefits that treadmills offer.
But don’t just take my word for it. Fitness enthusiasts are eagerly adding this equipment to their workouts, as the fastest-growing fitness trend in 2019 was the treadmill class. It's been growing ever since!
It’s time to jump on the bandwagon if you haven’t already. The treadmill is here to stay, and if you’re not already using it, you will want to include it in your workout rotation.
We all know running helps to lose weight and burn calories, but what are some other major benefits of running on a treadmill?
1. Improve Your Heart Health
Aerobic exercise, in general, and running on the treadmill are outstanding for your cardiovascular system.
This is primarily because it strengthens your heart, leading to better blood circulation in the body.
There’s no shortage of pros regarding benefits for your heart.
Of course, I'm not a doctor, so make sure you're fit to run and exert your heart and lungs.
Some of the cardio benefits of running are:
- Running lowers your body mass index (BMI).
- Running decreases levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL).
- Running increases levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL).
- Running increases your oxygen uptake (VO2).
- Running reduces the risk of arteriosclerosis and thrombosis.
- Running increases the volume of blood in your body.
- Running lowers the production of adrenaline and cortisol.
That's quite a list of fantastic heart benefits to running. Using a treadmill can even help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and help you control your blood glucose (sugar).
The heart benefits alone should be enough to get you motivated to run.
2. Strengthen Your Muscle Tone
Running on the treadmill does much more than just boost your cardiovascular health.
It lets you target a range of muscle groups in your legs, from your quadriceps and calves to your glutes and hamstrings, especially if you adjust the incline.
It also allows you to strengthen your hip flexors, which help you flex your leg and knee towards your body and, of course, your abs.
Using your arms and legs will engage your core, including your abs, to help you keep your spine aligned and push you forward.
As a result, running will allow you to tone your midsection. And, if you want to strengthen your abs while on the treadmill, ensure you contract your stomach muscles during your workout.
3. You Can Multi-Task
Did you know the treadmill was originally designed as a torture device in Victorian prisons? Crazy, right? At the time, convicts were forced to use it, without stopping, to “crush their will.”
Plenty of people would probably still describe running on the treadmill as painfully dull or even torture. But it doesn’t have to be.
When you run outside, you might crank up your music, listen to a podcast, or just choose to be left alone with your thoughts.
But, when you run inside, the possibilities are endless: you can turn on the TV, watch a movie, catch an episode of your favorite series on Netflix, use your iPad, or even read a book on your Kindle. You can prepare for a meeting, study for an exam, or watch the news.
Not only does the treadmill offer the opportunity to multitask, but it also helps you banish boredom. With the right entertainment, time will just fly by.
That said, you should always be careful and never too distracted to put yourself in danger.
4. Easier on Your Body
Running indoors on a treadmill puts less stress on the body than if you were running outdoors.
The cement or pavement can be especially unforgiving compared to the cushioned, shock-absorbent treadmill belt.
The result? A more gentle impact on weight-bearing joints such as your hips, knees, ankles, bones, and connective tissue.
This is all great news, especially for anyone who has suffered an injury but still wants to get in a solid workout.
5. The Treadmill is Versatile
Once you get on the treadmill, you decide what kind of exercise you want to have.
Are you going to take it easy and go for a light jog? Are you going to crank it up a bit and add an incline? Will you go full throttle and choose a butt-kicking programmed plan from your treadmill console?
Or maybe you want to do some marathon or interval training. With some of the latest treadmills, there’s a button for that!
Did you want to mix it up and do challenging squats and lunges while the belt moves? Excellent idea. Are you looking for a serious challenge? Try a ladder or a sled workout.
The treadmill offers much more than only running. There’s no shortage of interesting workouts you can do if you think outside the box.
6. Indifferent to the Weather
One of the many advantages of using the treadmill is that you’re not a slave to the weather conditions. So, you can get in a great workout, rain or shine, hail or snow.
There are no temperature or weather constraints, so even if it’s hot, muggy, sub-zero, and windy, you can still throw on your workout gear, hop on the machine, and you’re good to go.
My gear includes a pair of running shoes I only use on the treadmill, socks, and shorts.
Nobody wants to run on icy streets, and when it’s hot outside, you have to take several precautions: make sure you don’t suffer from heat exhaustion or dehydration, run early in the morning or late at night, wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn, use Chapstick, and be careful of overheating, etc.
Using a treadmill eliminates every one of these issues.
7. Allow You to Track Your Workout and Statistics
For data-driven runners out there, treadmills let you control your speed entirely.
Think about it: when you’re running outside, how do you know how fast you’re going? How can you tell if your sprints have the same speed and intensity if you're sprinting? One way is wearing a fitness tracker, but you don't need it on the treadmill.
The treadmill allows you to monitor and adjust your speed and time. You can also keep track of your progress, such as calories burned, which is very important if you’re working towards specific goals such as increasing your time or losing weight.
The ability to track your stats is an especially exciting feature for people suffering from any illness who need to monitor their blood pressure and heart rate carefully. This data allows them to determine when they need to end their workout.
8. Safer than Running Outside
Getting on the treadmill is safer than running outside for several reasons.
You don’t have to worry about unpredictable terrain, uneven sidewalks, ditches, potholes, curbs, or rocky trail surfaces. Also, your risk of tripping is lower.
You can maintain your focus elsewhere when you’re running on the treadmill. This is not to say that you can’t get hurt. There are reportedly over 4,000 treadmill-related injuries yearly, from sprains to head injuries. Be careful!
When you’re running outside, however, you have to keep your eye on traffic and make sure that bikes and cars can see you. Running outside means wearing bright clothing or reflective gear. It only takes one distracted driver to have a terrible accident.
Running on a treadmill is also safer than running by yourself outside, at night, for example.
9. Easy to Use!
Have you ever been to the gym and thought, “I’d love to try that machine… If I only knew how it worked.” And then you just walk past it so you don’t make a complete fool of yourself.
This pretty much never happens with the treadmill because it’s incredibly straightforward and easy to master.
Once you turn it on, you can control every aspect of your workout from the console and play around with the speed and incline.
And, if you’re feeling especially uninspired, you can pick from a series of pre-set workout programs, depending on your exercise goals and if your current machine allows it. Just hit a few buttons and start running!
These are just a few of the many benefits of running on a treadmill.
Maybe you’re ready to take the plunge and buy a treadmill for your home gym, or perhaps you’re just prepared to commit to running on it when you go to your local fitness center.
Whatever you decide, do it! Your body, health, and mind will thank you for it.
It looks like it’s time to jump on that treadmill!
Tony Lee, MS, RD
Tony Lee, RD, MS, is a highly qualified and accomplished Registered Dietitian with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Sciences from Arizona State University. Tony brings over two decades of experience in dietetics, specializing in sports nutrition. Interests include studying all aspects of wellness, fitness, genetics, and peak health performance.