Rowing Machine vs Running

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There are many debates about which is the best form of exercise: rowing machines or running. The answer to this debate lies in comparing the advantages and disadvantages of both forms of exercise and coming to a conclusion based on these considerations.

Both rowing machines and running are great ways to exercise – both provide huge benefits to your health, and both allow you to vary the level of intensity as you see fit. But depending on your personal circumstances, one may be better suited to you over the other.

Our experts have weighed up the pros and cons of both exercises and provided recommendations as to which exercise would be best suited to certain people. Let’s get stuck in and see which exercise you should choose – rowing machines or running?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of running?

Running is one of the most common forms of exercise, with an estimated 30% prevalence among adults worldwide. Running has been shown to increase life expectancy by 3 years for men and 2 years for women when done at least three times per week. It also boosts mood, decreases body fat, lowers blood pressure and increases aerobic capacity with regularity (though not intensity). This form of exercise does have some drawbacks, however; it can lead to injuries if not properly trained for (specifically knee and shin injuries) as well as the potential for overtraining, which can lead to severe health complications such as general malaise followed by illness and injury.

The Advantages

Running is a very accessible form of exercise (anyone can do it!) and doesn’t require too much in the way of equipment or cost.

Running can be done anywhere at anytime, meaning it can be a convenient way to exercise (if you have the time, money, and energy). Running also has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Therefore running is one of the best ways for your body to release endorphins and other feel-good hormones.

Running is perfect for those who are just starting out in their exercise journey, as well as those who simply want a quick and easy way to increase their cardiovascular health without too much hassle.

The Disadvantages

Running, as with any form of exercise where you are putting weight through your joints, can lead to injuries if you have poor form. Hard surfaces can also cause pain around the joints in your knees and ankles, which may lead to further complications down the line.

To combat this, make sure that you choose correctly fitting running shoes that are comfortable for you, and be sure to start off slowly if you’re new to running. A couple of times per week is plenty, and work your way up to running 3 to 4 times per week across the next couple of months.

Running can also be restricted by the weather – you’re much less likely to stick to your workout routine if it’s freezing cold and raining outside. An alternative to this would be buying a home treadmill – there are a vast array of great home treadmills available to buy. As an added bonus, home treadmills also provide low-impact cushioned running surfaces, thus reducing the strain on your joints.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of rowing machines?

A rowing machine is a form of low-impact exercise that requires the use of large muscles in the arms, torso, legs and back. This means that it can be used both to reduce weight and increase muscle mass. It is also an excellent cardiovascular workout for the whole body, increasing aerobic capacity and stamina with regularity (but not intensity). Rowing machines have some drawbacks however; they require a much greater amount of space and could be too expensive for some people. This is not something that anyone can use without first having the money to do so as well as access to a place big enough for its use.


Rowing machines can provide a full-body workout in one place, meaning that they are perfect for those who have very little time to exercise and want the most out of their home workout area. This exercise machine provides an excellent aerobic workout, making it easier for your heart and lungs to pump blood around your body. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your fitness level increases if you are using a rowing machine on a regular basis.

Rowing machines also help to boost your stamina and cardiovascular health as well as reducing the amount of fat in your body, making them an excellent choice for many people who want to keep fit but cannot do so regularly due to time or money concerns. This is because they require no extra equipment and only a pull to get you started. You can also adjust the force that is needed to run the machine, making it more or less difficult depending on your fitness level.


As with any exercise, even one as easy as using a rowing machine, there are some disadvantages associated with this form of exercise. For example, some rowing machines are expensive and usually have to be bought rather than borrowed or hired. This means that you will need to consider the cost of buying a home exercise machine carefully before you do so. If your budget does not allow for this expense then you may want to consider other forms of cardiovascular exercise, or looking into joining a gym that has rowing machines available.

Rowing machines also aren’t entirely accessible for certain people; their increased size might make them inaccessible for people living in smaller homes or apartments.

If you are not careful when using a rowing machine, you could find that it can put stress on your joints. If your form is poor this will greatly increase the chances of injury. Always be sure to master proper rowing technique before increasing the speed or weight load on any exercise machine.

So which is better – Rowing Machines or Running?

Well, it depends…

If you don’t want to spend too much money and you’re happy to get outside, then running would be the obvious choice for you.

However, if you have mobility issues or joint problems but you still want to run, you will be better off with a home treadmill.

On the flip side, if you’d like to build some muscle whilst also getting the benefits of a cardio exercise, the rowing machine would be the best choice. The only drawback is you’ll need the space and money to invest in a home rowing machine.

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