Since I am from California, you might assume that I’d be inherently prejudiced against winter. That’s really not the case (though I may have admittedly been spoiled by Michigan’s relatively mild winters over the last couple of years)! I love the sparkle of fresh snow and the sound it makes crunching under my boots, and what could be better than a crisp winter day accented by a bright blue sky?
My one complaint would be what the season entails for my running regimen: consignment to sweaty gym basements. Now some of the more extreme runners may say, “But you can still run outside in the snow and ice and that slushy grayness that develops eventually!” Sure, maybe you can – but as a winter neophyte I have enough trouble walking through it, let alone running. So, gym basement it is. And while watching muted reruns of Friends isn’t akin to utter torture, compared to Ann Arbor’s plethora of wonderful spots to jog, it’s a pretty pale comparison.
It seems I’m not the only one to favor running outside as opposed to on a treadmill – as my favorite wellness blogger, Gretchen Reynolds, reports for the New York Times:
“… emerging science suggests there are benefits to exercising outdoors that can’t be replicated on a treadmill, a recumbent bicycle or a track.
You stride differently when running outdoors, for one thing. Generally, studies find, people flex their ankles more when they run outside. They also, at least occasionally, run downhill, a movement that isn’t easily done on a treadmill and that stresses muscles differently than running on flat or uphill terrain. Outdoor exercise tends, too, to be more strenuous than the indoor version. In studies comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of running outside,treadmill runners expended less energy to cover the same distance as those striding across the ground outside, primarily because indoor exercisers face no wind resistance or changes in terrain, no matter how subtle.”
Read the full article here, and let’s all hope spring plans on arriving soon enough to give us the luxury of choice when it comes to selecting a location to exercise!