A brisk walk in the park or a quick jog on the treadmill – which is a better form of exercise? It seems both have their pros and cons. An expert explains.
- On a treadmill, you can exercise regardless of the weather, time, date, or day
- On a treadmill, one can easily track their fitness goals, the calories burnt, monitor heart rate, and so on
- The main advantage of walking is that you are exercising in nature, it gives you a physical and mental boost
As more and more cases of heart-related ailments come to the forefront, the importance of exercising can’t be emphasized enough. Walking, particularly, is considered a heart-healthy practice, be it a brisk walk in the parks or on the treadmills. Both are supposed to be very good cardiovascular exercises that not only keep our heart and vascular system intact but are also very useful for our stronger bones. However which one is better – a walk in the park/outdoors or a run/walk on the treadmills? Dr Debashish Chanda, Orthopedics, CK Birla Hospital Gurugram, shared with us the pros and cons of the two. Let’s check out.
Working Out On A Treadmill: Pros And Cons
Dr Debashish Chanda lists the advantages of working out on a treadmill:
1. Convenience: The biggest advantage is that it is a convenient thing, you can do it either at your home or at your gym. You can exercise regardless of the weather, time, date, or day. You can use it at your convenient time and you don’t have to think about the outside environment.
2. Customization: You can customize the treadmill, you can increase or decrease the speed, can set up the inclination and can record your fitness, set goals.
3. Track Your Goals: On a treadmill, one can easily track their fitness goals, the calories burnt, monitor heart rate, and so on.
4. A Safe Workout Platform: With their smooth walking surface, adjustable incline, and controlled environment, treadmills provide a safe workout platform. Even if you have a knee issue, you can adjust the incline to make it comfortable for you; treadmills can be joint-friendly.
1. Boring: The major con of a treadmill is that it can become monotonous after a point. Whether it’s your home or gym, the very convenient factor can prove to become monotonous.
2. No Fresh Air: It’s an indoor exercise and therefore it means there’s no fresh air when you are walking or running on a treadmill.
3. Expensive: Especially as a piece of personal equipment, treadmills are expensive – it doesn’t less than Rs 25,000 approx while high-end ones will cost lakhs. There’s also maintenance cost, electricity cost and it will take up a lot of space.
Walking: Pros And Cons
Dr Debashish Chanda now goes on to list the advantages of walking and the cons when it comes to this form of exercise:
1. A Walk Into Nature: The main advantage of walking is that you are exercising in nature. You feel recharged and rejuvenated. While working out can feel like a task, walking for the same amount of time, especially in company, can seem far more enjoyable.
2. Cost-effective: You literally don’t need to spend anything to walk, maybe except for investing in a good pair of shoes. No need to buy expensive equipment or a gym membership. You can just take a walk in your apartment or neighborhood park or the roof of your home.
3. Social Activity: Walking can be a social activity. You can meet friends and neighbours or strike up new friendships and this can become a platform for social interaction. In fact, a good circle of friends can be your biggest motivator.
4. Change Is Constant: You can take a different trail, set out at a different time and the walk will seem new and not monotonous.
1. Weather Issues: Because you are walking outdoors, the weather remains a concern, and poor weather – be it extreme heat, cold, or rain – can affect your walking schedule.
2. Safety Concerns: In a country like India, not everyone has access to proper walking trails. Be it an unsafe environment, uneven roads, or dangerous traffic, walking on the streets is always a safe option here.
Walking Vs Treadmill: The Final Verdict
Dr Debashish Chanda says that in conclusion, it must be admitted that both have their pros and cons. “Thanks to pulse oximeters or pulse meters, smartphones, or fitness watches, now you can track fitness goals even if you are simply walking. However, if you especially take into consideration the elderly group, I would say the treadmill has a slight edge. Many older people have joint problems, back problems, and osteoporosis, and walking can be an issue as safe walking spaces are not available everywhere. So a basic treadmill can be a good investment if a part is not accessible closeby.”