Rowing vs Running: This Will Help You Decide Which Is Better

rowing vs running: people running

You must have often wondered if which is better with rowing vs running. Can rowing help in losing weight? Which is safer? Likewise, several questions bother many fitness enthusiasts before they begin their fitness regime. It is natural and right to have these questions and doubts. That will help you evaluate and determine which is most suitable for you.

So, this article describes various aspects of rowing vs running and compares their benefits to help arrive at a decision.

Rowing vs Running: The Basics Of Running

Technically, running is moving the body forward with the help of legs to cover some distance. The fact that at the periodical interval, during running, both the feet are off the ground, makes it different from walking. However, during the walk, one of the two feet is always touching the ground.

The Human body ideally designed for running, since that is what our early predecessors did, to find, and hunt for food. The long legs, hips, the largest muscle quadriceps, ability to balance the body all indicate the adaptability of the human body for running. No one needs to learn how to run, it is already there in the genes.

It is a great full-body cardio exercise and probably the most popular workout done the world over. It is a very natural exercise and does not require training or special equipment. Perhaps the only investment needed to start running is a pair of good running shoes.

Men/women of any age and kids can jog and run. It does not matter if you are obese or fit. All can equally enjoy jogging and running.

With the invention and popularity of treadmills, indoor jogging and running have become the most prevalent cardiovascular exercise. Vagaries of weather, shortage of jogging tracks, pollution, and traffic, can no longer stop us from enjoying the most loved and popular activity.

The most exciting thing about running is that anyone can adapt it to suit his style and objective. Also, one can do sprints, long-distance running, resistance running, uphill running, cross country running, triathlons.  Probably no individual exercise has so much variation as the running has.

Ways Running Can Improve Your Health

Running is a very beneficial exercise that benefits the mind and body. It is also one of those rare exercises, which is aerobic and anaerobic. Running offers lots of health benefits as the Runners World says.

  • It burns a good number of calories and hence helps in reducing weight. A 150 lbs person loses 12.2 calories/min even running at a very moderate speed of covering a distance of one mile in ten minutes. It translates to burning about 700 calories in 60 minutes.
  • Running increases, the heart rate, which helps in exercising the heart muscles. The breathing rate also goes up, which is a good exercise for the lungs. Regular running improves cardiovascular health and reduces the chances of cardiac problems.
  • Running is a full-body workout that strengthens the muscles of the body. It dramatically improves the endurance of the body.
  • Contrary to popular belief running is very good for knee joints and the bone in general. Besides, the overall strength of the skeletal systems improves because of running.
  • Age-related cognitive problems get delayed and reduced because of running.
  • Running not only reduces stress and tension but increases the ability of the body to resist getting stressed.
  • It escalates the ability to concentrate and focus considerably.
  • One can owe much-improved digestion and sound sleep to regular running.
  • The ability of the body to resist disease and fight against them improves considerably.
  • The poise and posture of the body improve. Along with the spine regains its form and shape and hence, holds the body well.

Some more benefits

  • It reduces the risk of cancer.
  • Blood circulation increase substantially. Since the supply of nutrients and oxygen to various parts of the body enhances, which makes the body perform much better.
  • Because of better glucose regulation, the chances of diabetes reduce considerably.
  • It lowers the blood pressure.
  • As a consequence of so many physical and mental benefits, life expectancy goes up.

Rowing vs Running: The Basics Of Rowing

Rowing is an outdoor activity that involves propelling a boat with the help of oars. The oars handled manually, requires high strength and skill. This activity has its origin in ancient Egypt and Rome, where huge boats and ships propelled, using oars and sheer muscle power.

Rowing has developed into a popular group sport in recent times. Also, rowing has two types of watercraft, the Shell and the Scull. Each rower handles one row with both the hands in the Shell. And each rower drives two oars in the case of the Scull.

Like running, rowing also started as an outdoor sports activity with rowing in rivers and seas. But subsequently, sophisticated rowing machines were developed, that mimicked the rowing in all its essential features.

This rowing machine, like the treadmill, offers the thrill of rowing inside the gymnasium. Because of the rowing machine, the joy and fun of rowing can be experienced by many of us. Not all can afford to row in the river and sea. Rowing is an excellent exercise for the whole body.

Many get intimidated by seeing the big rowing machine in a gymnasium and do not use it. However, one should not be scared to use it. It is straightforward to operate and can be fun.

a man exercising in a gym

Ways Rowing Can Improve Your Health

Rowing is a robust full-body exercise that not only exercises the upper body but is also a good workout for the lower body. This unique outdoor sport-based exercise has a lot of exclusive benefits and advantages to offer according to Elite Daily.

  • It is an excellent cardiovascular workout, which significantly improves cardiac health. It increases your heart rate and oxygen intake.
  • Hence, it improves the stamina of the body. The ability of the body to a strenuous task overstretched period to time increases substantially.
  • The immune system of the body also increases.
  • Rowing improves the overall fitness and flexibility of the body.
  • Rowing increases muscle strength and endurance.
  • One-hour rowing will help you lose around 600 calories. This reduction is indeed better when compared to other methods of losing calories.
  • Rowing is a fantastic exercise for the shoulder, back, and core muscles. It also involves the muscles of the abdomen.
  • In the lower body, it works the quadriceps, glutes, and calves.
  • Since rowing is a low impact exercise, it reduces the chances of injury substantially—also, it an ideal activity for e obese persons or those leading a sedentary lifestyle. Weight-bearing exercises like jogging, hiking, and yoga are challenging for such people.
  • It offers excellent convenience and flexibility of doing the exercise at a convenient time. Apart from access to the rowing machine, there is no need for anything unusual or extra to begin this sport.

Some more benefits

  • With the advent of the indoor rowing machine, rowing has become affordable to almost anyone who wishes to try it.
  • Rowing does not feel like an exercise. It is a fun activity, which makes one happy and fit.
  • Many rowing machines have a mechanism that makes water splashing sound. Hence, the experience of rowing becomes exciting and meditative.
  • It is an excellent alternative to treadmills and cross-trainer. Many fitness enthusiasts prefer the rowing machine to the treadmill.

Rowing vs Running: The Differences 

Rowing, as well as running, are excellent full-body exercises that work the heart and muscles too. But there are some perceptible differences between the two activities. They are different in the process and the benefits they offer.

1. Impact

Rowing is a low impact exercise. It does not impact or stress any joint or muscle of the body suddenly. There is no jolt as such.

But while running, every time the foot hits the ground, there a measurable impact felt by the knee joints, hip joints, and associated muscles. This impact may not go well with many people not used to the strenuous lifestyle.

2. Muscle Engagement

In the case of rowing, both the lower body and upper body are actively engaged in the exercise. The leg push works on the glutes, quads and the calves. The core involves when you tilt your back from the hips to stabilize your position just before rowing. In the act of rowing, the shoulders, back, biceps, neck, and forearms engage. Effectively, every repetition of rowing involves all major muscle groups of the body.

3. Joint Strain

Rowing does not impact the knee joint severely. Besides, it is soft on it since it is a low impact exercise.

Running impacts, the knee joint severely. Hence this may not be suitable for people with joint problems or weak bones.

4. Calorie Burn

Rowing burns calories, but the burn rate is comparatively lower than running.

A 150 lbs person will lose 158 calories rowing for 30 minutes. At the same time, if he runs at a moderate speed, he might lose 180 calories. Putting it in simpler terms on an average 500 (light mode) to 1100 calories (intensive mode) will burn per hour on a treadmill.

On the other hand, rowing burns 400 (light mode) to 600 calories (intensive mode) per hour.

So calorie burn is better in case of running vis-à-vis rowing.

5. VO2 Max

The rowing machines have the facility to load resistance during the exercise. It makes it possible to increase VO2 max (Maximise the intake and utilization of oxygen during the activities)

Though some treadmill offers this option, the standard treadmills lack this feature in general.

6. Metabolism

As compared to running, the metabolism rate remains high for quite sometime after rowing. That is because of more muscle engagement (85% of the body muscles are engaged in rowing). It facilitates calorie burn even after the exercise.

Which Is A Better Exercise?

Well, that is the question that intrigues most of the fitness enthusiasts. Both exercises tend to get compared. That is because both belong to the genre of cardio workout. Running as well as rowing have their genesis in enjoyable outdoor sports. And the truth is both are quite interesting and engaging.

The verdict, however, depends on the objectives and expectations the person has from the exercise.

If someone is young and can take to the stress of running and wants to lose calories fast, running would be better in that case as compared to rowing.

But in the case when the objective is to increase the overall strength, engagement of the body along with calorie burn, then rowing should be preferred to running.

For people leading a sedentary lifestyle and not used to exercise, rowing can be better, to begin with, than running.

Rowing generally, suits people looking out for the gentle, injury-free, and peaceful type of workout. Running is for boisterous people who do not mind going a little rough.

In short, running will help lose calories and get fitter faster, but is a bit rough and does not focus on strength gain.

Rowing is good to lose calories (fewer than running) but is an excellent full-body workout and relatively injury-free.

Some fitness experts suggest a mix of both in the workout schedule. One can alternatively run and row on consecutive cardio schedules.

Conclusion

Cardio workout is essential to lose weight, calories, and be fit. It is equally beneficial for internal organs. The internal organs lose their fat and become healthier and more efficient.

Having understood the difference and benefits between the rowing vs running, you can make your choice. Both are excellent exercises. But it is essential to judge what would suit you and help achieve your goal.

It would be best to consult your trainer or doctor. He can help to determine which exercise would suit your body constitution. Whichever activity you wish to perform, do it sincerely and regularly to reap maximum benefits.

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