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Beginner Workouts

Which Burns More Calories? Running on a Treadmill or Outdoors?

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By Rick Morris

Technology is a wonderful thing. It helps us complete many of our tasks with greater ease and efficiency. Modern technology has had an impact on nearly every phase of our lives, including fitness and exercise. It wasn’t that long ago that if you wanted to get in a running workout, you had to lace up your shoes and head out the door. It didn’t matter if it was raining, snowing, or 110 degrees in the shade. If you were going to get your run in, you had to dress appropriately and brave the elements. Today we have high-quality, technically advanced treadmills that allow us to complete any running workout in the comfort of our home or gym. We no longer need to run in bitter cold or scorching-hot temperatures. There is no longer a need to endure a run in a driving rainstorm or raging blizzard.

Treadmills have definitely made staying fit and healthy safer and more convenient. The convenience and safety factors of treadmill running have made these machines among the most popular pieces of cardiovascular exercise equipment in both the home and gym. A major goal of many of those treadmill users is calorie burning. A common question and concern among treadmill runners is whether or not treadmill running burns as many calories as outside running. Many say it does not, but I disagree. It’s true that there are differences between road running and treadmill running. Some of those differences result in less calorie burning, while others burn more calories. Of course, the positive differences are good news, but how about the negative differences? There is also good news there, because the negative differences can be overcome. The primary differences between treadmill and outdoor running are related to wind resistance, running surface and pace consistency.

Wind Resistance

Lack of wind resistance has the most effect on an important part of running: calorie burning. When exercising on a treadmill, you are, in effect, running in place. You are not moving your body against the air. When you run outside, the air creates resistance. Studies have estimated that outside air resistance creates an increase in your workload of between 2 percent and 10 percent, depending upon your running speed. The faster you run, the more of an effect the air resistance has on you. A study conducted some years ago determined that the energy cost of overcoming wind resistance was 7.8 percent when sprinting, 4 percent when running at fast, middle-distance paces and 2 percent when running at easy paces. Higher energy costs means you are burning more calories, so the lower energy costs associated with a lack of wind resistance will result in fewer calories burned.

Luckily, there is a very easy solution to this problem. Simply elevate your treadmill slightly to increase your energy costs. Your obvious question is how much should you elevate your treadmill to compensate for the lack of wind resistance? AM Jones and JH Doust at the Chelsea School Research Centre in Eastborne, United Kingdom answered that question. The researchers investigated the effect of various treadmill inclines and found that elevating your treadmill 1 percent will make the energy cost of treadmill running equal to running outside on a level surface. Running at zero percent elevation burns less calories and running at 2 percent or more elevation burns more calories than level, free-range running.

Running Surface

I’ve been coaching runners for more years than I’d care to admit. During all those years of coaching, I have seen many different types of running injuries from strains and sprains, to tendinitis and fractures. Among all those injuries, there is one type of injury that I see more than any other: medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) and stress fractures of the tibia. MTSS is the more accurate term to describe shin splints, which are an overuse injury to the muscles in your shin that stabilize your foot. A stress fracture is a micro fracture of your tibia that is usually caused by ignoring the symptoms of MTSS.

You may wonder what this has to do with calorie burning. It actually has a great effect on calorie burning, because recovery from MTSS can take from one to four weeks. Recovery from a stress fracture can take up to three months. You can’t run when you are recovering from these injuries. If you can’t run, you aren’t burning any calories. So, you obviously need to try to avoid these very common running injuries. How do you avoid them? Studies have shown that substituting treadmill running for outdoor running can help you avoid MTSS and stress fractures. You’ll be able to spend more of your time running and less time recovering from injuries.

A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine measured the amount of tibial strain on volunteers during both treadmill running and outdoor running. The researchers found that tension and strain rates were between 48 percent and 285 percent higher during outside running than treadmill running. They concluded that outside runners are at a much higher risk of MTSS and tibial stress fractures than treadmill runners.

This is great news for runners who want to ensure a consistent, injury-free running program that will maximize long-term calorie burn, but it isn’t without its drawbacks. I’m sure you’ve heard the axiom, “use it or lose it.” I believe that to be true more often than not, and I think it’s at least partially true in this case. While the lessened stress of treadmill running protects you from injuries, it also decreases the amount of tibial bone strengthening. That same stress that can cause injuries also helps build up the strength in your bones. So it is like a double-edged sword. The stress caused by outside running can hurt you, but it can also help you. The answer to this dilemma is to do some running both on the treadmill and outdoors. The treadmill running will reduce stress and protect you from injury, while the outdoor running builds up the strength and resilience in your tibial bones.

Pace Consistency

Running is like a battle between your will to keep going and the effect of fatigue insisting that you stop or slow down. When you’re running outside, you may lose that battle without even knowing it. When fatigue rears its ugly head, your brain and body begin to gang up against you and your will to continue. You physically feel the fatigue through minor pain and burning. That is your body signaling you that it would like to slow down. You’ve probably experienced that feeling many times, but your will is strong enough to keep your body going. The problem is that your brain and body begin to force you to slow down whether you want to or not. Your brain begins to decrease the signals to your muscles that allow them to contract. As a result, your pace begins to slow. You may not even know you’re slowing down because your effort level feels the same. Slower pace translates to fewer calories burned.

When you’re running outside, there’s very little you can do about that. Treadmill running is a different story. The treadmill belt moves at an unrelenting pace. Your body has only two choices. Keep on running at your planned pace, or jump off the treadmill. This speed consistency of treadmill running is a powerful tool for keeping your calorie-burning level high.

The Bottom Line

At first glance, it may appear that treadmill running burns fewer calories than outdoor running. If you compare a treadmill at zero percent elevation and running outdoors on a level surface, treadmill running does burn between 2 percent and 4 percent fewer calories. However, that difference is very easily overcome by simply elevating your treadmill 1 percent. When you take into account the increased calorie burning of pace consistency and injury prevention, the treadmill is equal or even superior to outdoor running in calorie-burning potential.

References:

Effects of wind assistance and resistance on the forward motion of a runner, Davies CT, J Appl Physiol. 1980 Apr;48(4):702:9

A 1% treadmill grade most accurately reflects the energetic cost of outdoor running, Jones AM, Doust JH, J Sports Sci. 1996 Aug;14(4):321-7

Are overground or treadmill runners more likely to sustain tibial stress fracture? C Milgrom, A Finestone, S Segev, C Olin, T Arndt, I Ekenman, Br J Sports Med 2003;37:160-163

The post Which Burns More Calories? Running on a Treadmill or Outdoors? first appeared on FitnessRX for Women.

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Beginner Workouts

BREAK IT DOWN: The Gorilla Row

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It’s no secret: If you want a strong back, rowing is a must. Like other bent-over row variations, the gorilla row builds strength through the middle and upper back, lats, and shoulders while also enhancing scapular mobility, plus thoracic and abdominal stability.

What sets the gorilla row apart is the stance: You maintain a hip-hinge position, like the setup position of a deadlift, while simultaneously performing a single-arm row. Holding this isometric position builds tension, control, and stamina through the hips and legs. The lower body does a surprising amount of work, even though this is technically an upper-body exercise.

In addition to holding the hip hinge, it’s important not to overlook the nonworking arm: While one arm pulls the weight up, the opposite side presses down. This alternating push-pull pattern helps maintain stability and creates a slight rotation through the midsection.

The gorilla row is typically performed by alternating sides with two kettlebells. If you need to use dumbbells, elevate them to midshin height when beginning the move. If you have only one kettlebell, or a set of mismatched weights, perform all reps on one side at a time, making sure you have something to brace the nonworking hand against.

Gorilla row

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart or slightly wider, with two kettlebells between your feet.

Tip: Assume a wider sumo stance, depending on your comfort.

  1. Hinge your hips back and bend your knees until you can reach the handles of both kettlebells.
  2. Grasp the kettlebells, then row them one at a time, alternating sides. As you row up with one side, push down into the opposite kettlebell on the floor. Don’t allow your hips or upper body to rise up.

Tip: Keep your hips back and down throughout the movement; don’t let them rise or sway.

Tip: Allow your upper body to rotate and open slightly as you row the weight up.

  1. Complete three sets of 16 to 20 reps (8 to 10 reps per side).

This originally appeared as “The Gorilla Row” in the January/February 2021 print issue of Experience Life.

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Beginner Workouts

A Great Guide To Help You Get Physically Fit

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Are you a beginner when it comes to fitness? If you feel lost in regards of where to start to learn how to do it, then you are not alone by any means. That is a completely rational feeling to have, but the solution is below. Read those tips to learn how to get into fitness.

If you're an athlete who plays a variety of the usual sports, try your hand at something entirely new. Rock climbing, rowing, hiking, and sailing are all activities that most people have never tried but provide for a fun, new experience. Learning to like a new activity can keep fitness fresh and fun.

One of the best drinks, in order to keep a physically fit body, is low fat milk, which is a good source of calcium. Scientists have found out that people who consume at least 600 milligrams of calcium a day, had lower body fat, than people who did not consume as much calcium.

It is still possible to keep up with your fitness when you are on vacation or a business trip. By not exercising while away, you can mess your whole workout routine. While in your hotel room, do a few sets of crunches, do some push ups and walk to your destination when possible.

A great fitness tip is to search online for new exercises. There are a lot of great sites that have tons of resources including new workout routines and different exercises. If you find your current workout routine getting stale, go online to find and try out some new exercises.

Unless you're working with heavy overhead weights, you shouldn't wear a weight belt in your regular exercise. A weight belt will provide you with a lot of excess support, but in return it detracts from body's natural balancing muscles. If you constantly wear a weight belt your body's abdominal and core muscles will actually weaken due to a lack of strain caused by all the support.

If you are a high school or college student, tryout for your basketball or baseball team for the next season. Joining sports teams will help to increase your overall level of discipline, which you can implement in your fitness regimen. Also, the constant practices and workouts will enhance the way that you look.

Make yourself a motivational mixed tape to use during your walks, runs or workouts. Working out to your favorite music is more fun than having to listen to something that someone else has pre-selected for you, and you are more likely to stay motivated when listening to something you like.

If you are trying to work on how fast you can swim, develop the flexibility in your ankle. Your ankles will act as propeller or flippers to propel you forward. If you can build up the strength in your ankles, you will be able to move your feet faster and in a better motion.

Fitness is not as complicated as it is made out to be. Sure it can be completely competitive, but it doesn't have to be. It can indeed be a personal activity. Now that you understand a bit more of how to do it and what to do, go give it a try.

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Beginner Workouts

Home Exercise Programs Designed For Weight Loss

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Home Exercise Programs Designed For Weight Loss


Home exercise programs are a great way to keep fit and lose weight.
Along with proper diet and nutrition, an exercise program can help speed your metabolism and burn calories faster. There are a number of home exercise videos that will give you the direction and motivation you need to burn fat and lose weight quickly. But, why are exercise videos a great option in your home exercise program?

The Convenience Factor:

Exercise at your convenience. By performing regular exercises you will place a greater demand on your body's stores of fat and you will cause your metabolism to increase dramatically. Your body will burn fat as a source of energy at an accelerated rate and the end result will be a slimmer, more toned you. Your level of fitness will improve with each workout routine you perform. Exercise videos are a great way to learn the best exercises to burn fat and build lean muscle and you will be able to exercise in your very own home at your convenience.

Inexpensive:

There is no need for expensive gym memberships or extravagant exercise equipment. Fun, fast-paced exercise videos featuring well-know fitness experts and celebrities will give you the inspiration and direction you need to create your very own, highly effective home workout routine. How much would you have to pay to have Denise Austin as your personal trainer? With home exercise videos, she'll be available to you 24 hours a day for pennies a day.

All levels:

Home exercise videos are available for any fitness level from beginner to advanced. As your level of fitness increases you can move on to more advanced exercise routines to keep your body healthy and make weight loss much easier than with dieting alone.

Variety:

It is a good idea to change your exercise routine on a regular basis to keep your body challenged and make continued weight loss possible. After performing the same exercises over and over your body will require more advanced workouts to continue to burn excess fat and calories. Exercise videos will allow you to make progress at your own pace and give your metabolism the boost it needs to burn fat for energy. From Ballet to Hip Hop, there are exercise videos for every interest. Different types of exercises will cause your body to respond in different ways. You will be able to find a variety of exercise videos that will give you the types of workouts you need to gain muscle tone and lose weight fast.

Regular exercise is critical to your health and well being. Find the exercise videos that suit your lifestyle and your goals and you can begin exercising in your very own home immediately. Your body will thank you for your efforts and you will look and feel better than you have in years. Weight loss is drastically easier when dieting is combined with exercise. Home exercise programs and fun videos you can do in your home are a great way to get in shape and experience fast weight loss.

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