Training For Tests? Outdoors Better Than Treadmill: Study | Ahmedabad News

Ahmedabad: Is it better to run on a treadmill or outdoors? The question vexes thousands of those preparing for competitive physical examinations for the police, paramilitary or armed forces, among others. Even for individuals looking for cardio-vascular exercise or building endurance, running is considered the go-to option. A recent study at Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU) found that outdoor running edges past treadmill running on several parameters.
These findings were published in PeerJ in a paper ‘Effects of six weeks outdoor versus treadmill running on physical fitness and body composition in recreationally active young males: a pilot study’ by a team including Gaurav Kushwah, Gaurav Singh, Rohit Thapa and Tanvi Singh from RRU and Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo from Chile-based Universidad Andres Bello.
The paper indicated that there was improved performance in 50m sprint, 1,600m run, standing long jump (SLJ), and in preserving segmental muscle mass (SMM) for persons in the outdoor training control group.
Rohit Thapa, assistant professor (physical education and sports) at RRU, said there were two control groups with almost identical body mass indexes (BMI), weight, age and lifestyle parameters. “Each group was assigned outdoor or treadmill training for six weeks. Their training vitals and timings were recorded before, and the results after six weeks were compared to the earlier records,” he said. “Greater magnitude of body fat reduction was also recorded in outdoor running.”
According to the findings, against 7.71 minutes for the 1,600m run, those on the treadmill clocked 7.19 minutes, whereas those in the outdoor group clocked 7.07 minutes. In terms of flexibility, from 22.36cm, those in the treadmill group reached 23.79cm, whereas for those in the outdoor group it was 24.57 cm.
Gaurav Singh Kushwah, in-charge director of the School of Physical Education and Sports at RRU, said they are not ruling out treadmill running completely.
“The improvement is seen in both methods, but outdoors was found to have better results. But the benefit of the treadmill is the controlled environment including speed, gradient and temperature, among others. We also want to tell aspirants and general enthusiasts that time spent running doesn’t have much meaning if it’s not done properly. There are many free videos and tutorials available for scientific methods,” he said.
The findings state, ‘If the goal of a young male is to improve physical fitness and body composition, outdoor training (OT) seems a safe and effective exercise training strategy, with the added benefit of not requiring access to special equipment (e.g., treadmill) … Nonetheless, practitioners may opt for either OT or treadmill training based on outdoor environmental conditions, availability of treadmills, individual preferences, need analysis and goals.’

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