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Walking Outside vs the Treadmill

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at South Carolina chapter.

*Disclaimer! All exercise is good exercise and however you choose to move your body is up to you. Don’t let my or anyone else’s opinions prevent you from living a healthy and active lifestyle in the way you choose!*

I love to walk. It may seem super cheesy and simple but walking really gives me so much serotonin in my days. It allows me to release so much pent-up stress that comes from being a busy college student or just from family or friend troubles. 

Walking is also great for me being I can easily multitask. I can 1. Get my steps in, 2. Release stress, 3. Call someone on the phone, 4. Study, or whatever else I may need! Personally, I love to call my family when I’m walking to catch up or use the Quizlet app to study for any upcoming exams. 

Where you walk is something I don’t often think about, just because I generally do what is convenient for me at that particular time. But keeping in mind a more sustainable and greener lifestyle, I’ve recently been trying to stray away from the trusty treadmill to walking outside. 

A few reasons why this might be a better option if available:

  1. Vitamin D: The boost from the sun instantly gives you more serotonin than the walk itself, which for me is reason enough right here. There is nothing I love more than the sun on my face when walking outside. :D
    • It has been researched that “green exercise” or exercising in nature has led to less stress, anxiety, and a better emotional state. 
  2. Not as boring: I’m not sure about y’all, but when I’m walking inside on the treadmill, I get tired really quick of looking at the same thing. When walking outside, the views are constantly changing, providing pretty scenery, challenging you to not look at your phone and talk in your surroundings. It also could possibly lead you to walk further because your less focused on your milage throughout. 
  3. Muscles and Calories: Another great perk could be that you have the opportunity to work different muscles that wouldn’t be required on a treadmill, as well as possibly burn more calories. Because of natural elements like wind, steep slopes, potholes, etc., walking outdoors may pose a more diverse terrain for walking, which can be very beneficial to your health. 
    • On a treadmill, I don’t usually have the option to walk downhill, so utilizing the outdoors to strengthen my calves and move my body in different ways is a great strategy!
  4. More sustainable practice: If you walk outside vs. using the treadmill, you are using less electricity, energy, and resources it takes to power the treadmill, therefore making a small but significant impact in creating a greener Earth. Go you!

I hope some of these reasons help persuade you to take the jump and try and make your walking “greener.” Of course, I still and will always use the treadmill for different purposes (For example if the weather is not ideal or I’m not in a safe location for outdoor walking). However, whenever I can, I try to find walking time and space in nature, and I will never regret it! 

(The Earth will thank you!) :)

Go Green and Go Gamecocks!

Zoe Smith

South Carolina '25

CT | University of South Carolina '25 | Editorial Team Contributor