The benefits of outdoor running are countless. While treadmills are a great tool, particularly during cold winter months, running outdoor can actually give you additional benefits that can improve your runs long-term. From training different muscles to providing some much-needed vitamin D, outdoor running is a great way to get your daily dose of cardio.

Check out these 7 reasons why outdoor running rocks!

1. You can target different muscles with downhill running.

Most modern treadmills allow you to run on a flat surface or at an incline. Nevertheless, you can’t set most treadmills to a decline. These three modes of running target different muscle groups. Running outdoors gives you the chance to run at a decline and therefore strengthen different areas of your legs.

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2. Some studies suggest outdoor running leads to a more natural stride.

Science has recently taken to comparing indoor and outdoor running. Generally, studies have found minor differences in runners’ gaits when running on a treadmill as opposed to a track. This could mean that outdoor running leads to a more natural stride. If you’ve been getting some aches from indoor running, test whether outdoor running helps improve the condition. Just always remember not to push yourself to injury and check in with your doctor regarding any persistent pains.

3. It’s easier to stick to your goals.

Most people report a preference for running outdoors. Whether it helps break the monotony or whether it’s just more satisfying to know that you’re actually moving, there’s an overall increase in enthusiasm when running outside. It leads to a greater feeling of accomplishment, which makes it easier to stick to your goals.

4. You can sneak in your daily dose of vitamin D.

It’s estimated that around 42% of Americans have a vitamin D deficiency. This is largely due to the fact that we lead indoor lifestyles. Nevertheless, running outside could help you get your daily dose of sunshine and vitamin D. Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen!

5. No need for a gym membership.

Monthly gym memberships add up throughout the year. If you’re not sure you need all the fancy equipment provided by a gym, you might be better off running outside. Both your wallet and your body will thank you. Additionally, not having a gym membership frees you from working around specific hours. You can work out early in the morning, late at night, on Sundays, or on Holidays without worrying that your gym will be closed.

6. Even if running isn’t your thing, you can still benefit from it.

Even if you’re a heavyweight lifter or a committed yogi, you can still benefit from running. Running improves your endurance. It develops lower-body muscle, strengthens bones, boosts your immune system, relieves stress, and more. If you’ve already found your ideal style of training, running on the side could actually help you improve and reach your goals faster.

7. You compete against yourself.

A little competition is good, but constantly tallying yourself against your peers can lead to unhealthy levels of self-esteem and poor confidence. When you run, you’re constantly trying to improve your time, which means you’re not competing against anyone, but against the person you were yesterday. You can track as you progress, becoming stronger, faster, and more powerful.

Whether you choose to run outdoor or indoor, running is still a great form of exercise. If you’re interested starting your running journey, check out our 4-Week Walk/Run Program for beginners. Wherever you start, running is sure to help you get into the best shape of your life!

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