October 13, 2022

The Benefits of Treadmill Running

Running is an incredible form of movement which benefits both your mind and body in so many ways.

Below, with the help of Jaclyn Murphy, Head of Exercise Physiology at Upwell Health Collective, we’ve broken down the benefits of treadmill running to help you better understand exactly why you should lace up your shoes and get moving!

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or totally new to running, you will reap the benefits in no time.

Improve your cardiovascular fitness

Treadmill running is a great way to get your heart rate up and improve your fitness. Why is this? Well, when we’re moving more intensely and demanding more from our body, our hearts are working hard to pump more oxygen carrying blood to our working muscles. Over time, treadmill running (like all other aerobic exercises) will help you to improve your heart muscle which in turn means your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to get the oxygenated blood to your muscles. This is why, as you become fitter, running becomes easier – because your heart isn’t having to work as hard!

Jaclyn also noted that taking on high intensity workouts (which allow our bodies to become more efficient at transporting oxygen to our working muscles, organs and brain) leads to feelings of clarity, reduced brain fog, improved concentration and elevated mood – win!

The one thing to remember when it comes to improving cardiovascular fitness is that you need to keep at it – it won’t happen overnight, but remember, you can do anything you put your mind to!

Improve your mental health

It is widely reported and commonly known that exercise in general can improve our mental health and sense of wellbeing, however it has also been extensively reported that high intensity workouts like treadmill running helps to increase the release of endorphins – our feel good hormones!

Jaclyn explained that endorphins help to increase feelings of wellness, happiness and wellbeing and decrease or dampen pain signals within the body.

Treadmill running also supports your mental health as it helps to reduce stress. This is because after a run our body produces natural chemicals (aka endorphins and endocannabinoids) which flow through our blood stream to our brain which promote feelings of calm and reduced stress.

Increase the performance of your prefrontal cortex

Another perhaps lesser known benefit of treadmill running (which involves high intensity efforts) is on the prefrontal cortex. Jaclyn explained that our prefrontal cortex is responsible for cognition, that is how well our brains take in information, process and understand information, store information and retrieve information).

She said that when we take on high intensity exercise like treadmill running, we arouse more changes in that area of the brain which in turn helps to increase our concentration and focus and our feeling of being in control of our emotions and reactions.

Have a safer run

Treadmill running boasts so many benefits when it comes to safety!

When you run on the treadmill you’re in a controlled running environment which means there’s no risk of uneven surfaces which might cause an injury. There’s also less of a need to be hyper aware of your surroundings as you’re not having to worry about crossing roads or running around people or objects.

Treadmill running is an indoor activity which means the weather can’t get in the way. Treadmill running reduces the risk of skin damage, removes the risk of slipping when it’s wet and we don’t have to battle headwind!

Running on a treadmill also removes the risks that come from running in the dark, from both a visibility perspective and a danger perspective. You’re in a well-lit, enclosed space where there is no need to keep and eye and ear out for pedestrians or vehicles and you’re likely in a safe space and around other people. You can simply focus on the run and blast some tunes.

Complete different run types with ease

Ever wanted to smash a hills session but never been able to locate one that’s of a good gradient and length? Or want to complete some intervals but don’t know how far 500m is? Well, with treadmill running these problems evaporate – there are no barriers to completing any types runs when you’ve got a treadmill!

With treadmills able to have both their speed and incline adjusted while also tracking your time and distance, it makes completing a sprint, hill, fartlek or speed interval session SO easy.

More gentle on your joints

Jaclyn shared with us a 2017 study which identified that treadmills have been designed with belts to absorb the force of our footstrike and increased cushioning which can decrease the overall load on our joints, reducing the risk of injury and improving running biomechanics.

Moreover, a 2014 review found that when running on a treadmill, runners have a shorter stride and faster cadence compared to running outside. This translated to less impact on the hips, knees and ankles.

So, if you’ve ever had a lower limb injury or are nervous about beginning running, treadmill running is a great way to get moving. You might find it more comfortable and it will also better mitigate the risk of an injury.

If you’re keen to get running on a treadmill, you’ll find our Treadmill masterclasses lead by our co-founder and qualified trainer Laura Henshaw in the KIC app from Monday 17 October 2022!

Laura has classes for all fitness levels. Choose to take on a beginner classes to help you learn the basics or an advanced classes to test your speed and endurance.