Treadmill vs Outdoor Running
That's one heck of a first post!
Nice write up though, and so true. Put simply, if you're not propelling yourself forwards on a treadmill, you fly off the back! If you truly were only raising and lowering your legs, your feet would quickly exit the treadmill belt.
slightly off topic, but what is better:
walking on a treadmill at a speend of 7.2km/hr or running on a tradmill at a speed of 8km/hr
reason I ask, is that I find I sweat much more when walking fast on the treadmill than jogging at 8km/hr on the treadmill
I'm no expert on actual fitness but I just thought id point out the Physics involved in using a treadmill. I would make one suggestion though.
Originally Posted by *Dim*
Did you know that the human leg has developed to act as a spring? There was a study done a while ago (cant remember who) but they looked at the tendons attached to the foot and concluded that we were actually made for jogging long distances, not walking. The reason is that when jogging we tighten our tendons/muscles and literally bounce on our legs. Remember I said that you convert some of your forward motion to upward motion (against gravity) and this is then repaid to you by gravity by pulling you back down thus wasting energy? Well, this bouncing motion has developed in order to take advantage of the fact that we are going up and down anyway and might as well use some of that wasted energy - thus recycling some of it. This also allows you to take huge steps (compared to walking), move your legs forward and backwards less per distance covered, thus reducing energy usage further. In contrast when walking fast you do not bounce at all so your muscles are absorbing the impact, rather than recycling it. So for going slow it is easier to walk because you can easily maintain a level posture (no bouncing), you don't need to take large strides so you don't need to dip down quite as much. For going fast you need to use the bounce method of running because it is much more efficient as higher speeds. And then there is that region in the middle of 6-8 mph which you can feasibly walk but actually it is easier to run in terms of energy spent because if you try to walk you actually begin to work against the kinetic energy that is building up in your leg. i.e. the faster you move your leg backwards the harder it is to stop your leg and get it to go forwards again, and the faster you go the energy required increases exponentially. You can think of a car engine as abiding to the same laws. If you remain in first gear, its not the friction on the wheels that slows you down, its actually the friction on the engine. The very thing that is pushing you along begins to slow you down because it has its own set of forces acting against it. So think of walking fast as trying to drive on the motorway in first gear its a very fuel inefficient way to move.
So thats probably why you sweat more because you are actually using more energy, which creates more heat through calorie burn and friction.
Again i'm not a fitness expert but I would imagine - if you want to train your walking muscles (for hiking or something), and burn as many calories as possible over the shortest distance, walk as fast as you can. If you want to train for a run and train your running muscles while burning as little energy as possible (you want to try to go as far as possible) then run. If you want to sweat less, run with a fan in front of you.
Originally Posted by malkore
Updated Physics Approach - It's All About the Direction of Gravity!
I agree the long post is a great start to the discussion but I believe I have come up with a physics theory on why a treadmill is easier. I wouldn't have gotten here without the great post up top.
Originally Posted by dprice80
The big factor when running is GRAVITY. Without gravity you could leap from the Earth and fly around for a while. Gravity pulls you down and crashes you into the Earth creating friction which slows you down. Next you got to thrust yourself out AND up to continue to fight this endless cycle.
Now, here's where the difference in running on Earth and running on a treadmill happens.
When you are on Earth, you are moving forward and gravity is pushing straight down. Relative to a fixed point on Earth, you are moving UP and FORWARD when you push off while gravity is straight DOWN.
When you are on a treadmill, it is different. Relative to a fixed point on a treadmill (like the Earth before), you are still moving UP and FORWARD when you push off BUT gravity is now moving DOWN and FORWARD (relative to that fixed point on the treadmill). In this case, gravity is helping you slightly!!!
I know it sounds crazy but think about it. Let me know your thoughts as I'd love to iron this out more.
Something that would be different from most outdoor running and treadmills would be running cross country on a windy, hilly course. This would require the most work.
i believe that running outdoors is better for you. not based on the impact it has on your joints, etc...but because when you run outside you get the fresh air. it's better for you!
Running on treadmills and outdoors both have pros and cons for me. On a treadmill, I tend to take shorter, quicker strides, and have a slightly different form, so it doesn't exactly train me for performance. There's also discomfort from the higher amount of sweat, due to the fact that I'm indoors. Treadmills also have an incline feature, but it's a hassle to keep raising and lowering it to simulate hills. However, running in front of a window, being able to see my reflection, I've been able to work on keeping myself from bouncing up and down while moving and pushing myself more forward than up.
Outdoors, on the other hand, is nicer in that your body is able to cool down more easily. Also, where I live is a very mountainous area, so there's much more of a workout when I'm running on more hills than flat terrain. It sucks when I have to run on pavement though, as that's when I start to hurt.
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