Are you interested in adding some extra cardio into your exercise routine? Not sure which cardio option is best for you when it comes to rowing vs running? In this article, we’re covering everything you need to know about these two types of cardio, including their benefits and when and how to do them.

Everything You Need to Know About Rowing

Rowing is a great full-body exercise. Not only does it help you burn calories, but it improves your overall cardiovascular fitness, and can help you tone up your major muscles. It’s also a low-impact exercise, which means it’s great for people who may have knee pain or joint issues that make running difficult.

To use the rowing machine, you simply secure your feet on the foot pads with the straps, bend your knees, and slide to the top of the machine. You then grab the handle using an overhand grip. Keeping good posture, drive backwards using the legs and keeping the core engaged. As you do this, straighten your legs, hinge slightly backwards at the hips using the core and pull your hands to your upper ribs with your elbows slightly flared out to maintain flat wrists.

When rowing, it’s important to avoid only rowing with your arms. It undercuts all of the added value of rowing, which includes a great leg exercise. You should also make sure to do all the motions in order as bad form can reduce the positive impact of the exercise or even result in injury.

Lastly, make sure to go at a slow and steady speed so you can get the full range of motion with every stroke.

Not sure how to use a rowing machine? Check out this guide to avoid common mistakes people make when using a rowing machine.

Benefits of Rowing

Now that you know how rowing works, you’re probably wondering what the benefits are. Here are some of the biggest health benefits of rowing:

It’s a Great Aerobic Exercise

Rowing is an amazing aerobic exercise, which means it can help you with weight loss, increase your stamina, and even boost your immune system. Rowing also requires you to use a lot of major muscle groups, so it’s also an effective cardio workout. And because it helps you release endorphins, rowing regularly can even improve your mood and sleep quality.

It’s Low Impact

If you’re overweight or have joint problems, you run the risk of injuring yourself by doing high-impact, weight-bearing exercises like running or hiking. Rowing is low-impact, which means it puts minimal stress on your joints and greatly reduces the risk of injury. This also makes it a great exercise for people who need to strengthen and condition their knees after injury.

It’s a Great Upper & Lower Body Workout

Rowing is a fantastic way to strengthen both your upper and lower body. It’s a great upper-body workout because it provides a nice workout for your pecs, abs, and bicep, which help you to develop a stronger core. Strengthening these muscles also helps you improve your posture and reduce any back pain you may have.

Additionally, rowing is a wonderful lower-body workout. It strengthens your quads, calves, and glutes. This helps you improve your muscle strength and tone and improve your overall flexibility and balance.

Everything You Need to Know About Running

Running, whether it be outdoors or on a treadmill, is an incredibly popular form of cardio. And with good reason! Running offers many benefits.

For starters, running is one of the most effective ways to lose or maintain weight. It’s also a great stress reliever and can actually reduce a lot of health and mood-related issues. That’s because when you run you simultaneously create endorphins, which improve your mood, and force your body to exert excess energy and hormones.

Here are some of the other major benefits of running:

It’s Versatile

What’s great about running is that it exists in many forms. And each type has its own purpose and benefits it offers. 

Jogging is great for people who are getting used to running and want to work their way up to more serious running. Distance running is a great mental exercise that helps build up your cardiovascular health. And sprinting is an amazing form of high-intensity interval training that helps you increase speed, fatigue resistance, and overall endurance.

It Can Strengthen Your Bones

Because running is a weight-bearing exercise, it actually helps you build bone density. And it’s actually believed to have a greater effect on bone density than other activities like resistance training and cycling. And despite popular belief that running creates joint problems, running can actually benefit your joints because of the cycle of compression and expansion that occurs.

Rowing vs Running: What’s Better?

Running and rowing are both great cardiovascular activities, but if you have access to a rowing machine rowing is preferable. Not sure why? Here are some ways rowing can benefit you more than running:

Rowing Involves More Muscles

Running is a great form of exercise, but it really only involves lower body muscles like your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Rowing, however, targets both upper-body and lower-body muscles. Not only does it strengthen your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, but it also strengths your abs, biceps and back.

Rowing is Low Impact

As mentioned above, running is a highly impactful exercise. That means it’s not a suitable activity for people who have a history of injury or struggle with weight-bearing exercises. Rowing is low-impact, so it’s a great exercise for people who need a high-intensity activity but can’t risk getting injured.

Rowing is Convenient

If you’re an outdoor runner, you know how much things like weather and traffic can impact your ability to run effectively. But chances are you’d rather take that risk than deal with the monotony of the treadmill.

Rowing is a great activity because you can do it indoors. And what’s better is that rowing machines require a lot less maintenance than other exercise machines. And they’re relatively cheap as well, so it’s not too difficult to get one!

To Run or Row?

When it comes to rowing vs running, both activities have their benefits. But if you’re looking for a low impact, high reward cardiovascular exercise, go with rowing. It can help you develop your upper-body and lower-body muscles and achieve any fitness goal you set your mind on.

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