There’s been a long-term debate on which one is better between walking outside and walking on a treadmill. An expert finally addressed the issue this week.

According to Dr. Keith Roach, a physician at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian, walking on a treadmill and walking outdoors yield different outcomes since the latter makes use of more muscles than the former.

“Walking outdoors uses additional muscles compared to walking on a treadmill. This is especially true on a trail or in open country, since you need to watch where you put your feet and use muscles to support movements that are different from foot placements you do without thinking (like on a treadmill or a paved road),” he explained via Oregon Live’s Dear Doctor on Monday.

Keith further explained that different types of people use the two. Preference is rooted in who they are and what they like to do while exercising. Most people who use treadmills do so because they don’t want to worry about watching their feet while exercising.

“Exercising out in the world is a very different experience from being on a treadmill. Elite level athletes often do treadmill training, but will also do other exercises, since treadmill walking really only helps a limited set of muscles,” he added.

Harvard Health said treadmills are among the most effective types of exercise equipment for people who may have limitations that prevent them from doing traditional workouts, such as walking, running, or swimming.

The health and wellness platform noted that older adults benefit from using the machine because treadmills can help strengthen and improve balance and endurance. They are also helpful for people recovering from an injury or surgery since the exercise environment they provide is easy to control and does not require going outdoors.

A study published in the journal Neuroscience Nursing found that stroke survivors at high risk for cardiovascular mortality benefited from increased physical activity using treadmills. Regular physical activity and exercise are known to counter and reduce cardiovascular disease risk. But most adult stroke patients have limitations in the exercise they can do. Researchers found that treadmills help address this issue.

However, for healthy sports and exercise enthusiasts, walking outside is the best way to go. Most physicians and experts would agree that walking outdoors results in better outcomes overall if the goal is to lose weight and strength training. The activity involves the use of more muscle groups than stationary walking, and the outdoor environment also reduces stress and anxiety. Elderly people capable of walking outside are highly encouraged to do so to enjoy the benefits of the activity.

Walking is a simple activity that could help improve heart and lung conditions and reduce the risk of having a heart disease or a stroke. Pixabay