From weather conditions to personal preference, there are a variety of factors that determine whether you choose to exercise outside or in. When it comes to running, the choice is usually between hopping on the treadmill and pounding pavement. Both forms of exercise are high-impact, and both have excellent cardio benefits. But when it comes to health and fitness, is one better than the other? Read on to learn about the pros and cons of running on pavement versus a treadmill. Safety First The first thing to consider when choosing between a treadmill workout and running outside is which will be safer. Running outside can be dangerous for a number of reasons: slippery road conditions, limited visibility at night, or simply being out and about by yourself in an unsafe area. In these situations, a treadmill run will certainly be better. But running on a treadmill is not without its dangers. Treadmill deaths are rare, but falls and injuries are entirely possible. Overall, though, treadmill workouts tend to be safer as they present few external dangers. Risk Of Injury Any type of physical exercise carries a risk of injury, but some have a bigger risk than others. While both treadmill and pavement running are high-impact cardio activities that can be hard on joints, treadmills tend to leave you worse for the wear. There tends to be less variety in both speed and incline on a treadmill, and repeatedly pounding down on your joints at a steady rate can be quite damaging. It can even lull you into a kind of trance that makes you less likely to pay attention to your body. The effects of this can be somewhat mitigated by varying your treadmill routine, but the unpredictability of outside terrain is generally better for your joints and ligaments. Better, Faster, Stronger Once you’ve considered the dangers and risk of injury, the next biggest factor to consider is which type of exercise is going to make you a better, faster runner. Hitting the pavement is typically going to help you to become an overall better runner. Running outside teaches you to pace yourself in a way that running on a treadmill simply can’t. On a treadmill, the speed is predetermined (whether by you or the program you’ve input), so you don’t have to consciously think about how fast you’re going and the energy you’re expending. Running outside requires more mental focus, which tends to make you a more intuitive runner. Additionally, studies have shown that people who run outside tend to run at a faster pace than those who run on treadmills. Which Is Better? Running outside has a slight edge over running on a treadmill, especially if you’re training for a race or are seeking to improve your instincts as a runner. But if you’re simply looking to enjoy cardio benefits, either one is fine. Choose the routine that you’re going to enjoy the most, and stick to the treadmill on days when outside conditions are too treacherous.