Today is a very important day. Today is the day that the weather is finally warm enough that you can run outside without too much weather-induced turmoil. Now that spring has officially sprung, and temperatures are rising (…hopefully...eventually), go ahead, lace up, and enjoy life off of the dread mill. You deserve it.
1. Pavement? What is this?
There are actually benefits to running on a trail/pavement versus drudging along the treadmill’s rubbery conveyor belt. According to exercise physiologist Elizabeth Quinn, you burn more calories when running at the same pace on flat pavement. Subtle variations in terrain, wind resistance, and lack of additional momentum from the treadmill make outdoor running a bit more difficult, causing you to expend more energy.
2. I think I’m running faster. I could probably beat Usain Bolt in no time (wait, who am I kidding?)
Maybe you jog at a slow, constant pace. Maybe you sprint the entire way through. Regardless of how you run outside or inside, one study’s participants ran at a significantly faster pace at the same perceived effort level during their outdoor run in comparison to their indoor treadmill run.
3. *Runs up that hill*; *Deals with God*
You probably didn’t miss hauling your body up unanticipated hills during your run. Everything was fine and dandy then all of a sudden: Mount Everest. When you’re running uphill, don’t lean too far forward; this decreases the efficiency of your stride and throws your body off balance. Think about ‘standing tall’ and use the muscles in your hips to power your way up the hill.
4. At least there’s a breeze! And sun!
Instead of suffocating from the smell everybody else’s sweat at the gym, you’re being caressed by a nice breeze. Instead of overheating from the body heat of the two treadmill runners adjacent to you, you’re being warmed by the sun. It’s important to maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D. A 2010 study by the University of Wyoming indicated that college athletes with sufficient levels of vitamin D were less likely to fall ill.
5. Wait, how long have I been running again?
If you’ve ever been on a treadmill, you’ll be able to sympathize with us. One minute takes forever. Each second seems abnormally long. But outdoor exercise is, according to one review, associated with greater physical activity and lower levels of perceived exertion. In other words: you won’t be giving up as quickly when you finally take your run outside.
6. THAT WAS AMAZING
Outdoor running may be better for your physical and mental wellbeing. It may even make you want to go for another darn run the next day. In one review, participants who ran outdoors were reported to have greater decreases in tension, more satisfaction, higher energy, and a greater intention to run again.