Rowing vs Running: Which Is Better For You?

Rowing and running are both very different and distinct disciplines, but they both have excellent cardiovascular benefits as well as bone and muscle building qualities. Which sport you choose, or indeed if you decide to choose both, largely comes down to what you enjoy doing, but cross training is an excellent way in which to improve your overall health. Both running and rowing have advantages and disadvantages and this can be doubly dependent on whether you pursue your activity inside or outside.

What Are The Benefits?

Running obviously targets fat and builds muscle on the legs and this effect can be increased when weights are attached to the ankles. The cardiovascular advantages include an overall increase in lung capacity and a reduction in blood pressure. In addition, choosing to run outdoors may have increased benefits for your overall upper body strength, especially if running up and down inclines. Of course, as a sport, running is one of the most convenient to do. Just pull on your trainers and you are ready to go, whether outdoors or indoors.

On the other hand, rowing is more of a complete body workout, which again contributes to your cardiovascular fitness. It has a lower overall level of stress impact on your body and helps to tone muscle and reduces fat in your arms, back, shoulder area and stomach as it targets the core areas. In addition, rowing is often promoted as a rehabilitative exercise for injuries to the knees or hips as it is thought that the action undertaken in rowing facilitates the production of the body's natural joint lubricant – synovial fluid.

...And The Disadvantages? 

Running does tend to be much harsher on the joints than many other sports, especially if you are carrying extra weight. In some circumstances, it can exacerbate underlying or existing joint issues and injuries relating to excessive running are not uncommon. In addition, running does not target as many muscle groups as rowing tends to.

While rowing may provide a more comprehensive body workout, if you have back problems these can be highlighted if a correct position or posture is not maintained or if your core muscles are not used correctly to support it. If joint or muscle injury in rowing related areas such as the elbows or shoulders occurs, many rowers turn to a gentle running schedule to maintain their level of fitness. Also, if you wish to undertake outdoor rowing, as opposed to indoor rowing on a machine, a hefty amount of expensive equipment is needed. Plus the weather can sometime be just too bad to take to the water which is why many people opt for the indoor version.

Whichever sport you choose has its advantages and disadvantages. For overall body conditioning rowing may just have the edge on running. Running is a sport which is relatively easy to start with lower overall equipment costs, especially if you wish to undertake your sport outside. That said, both are excellent cardiovascular workouts and have first class health benefits whichever one you pick.

Zoe is a Brit blogger who loves to write on a variety of topics, including fitness, fashion and business. She has written this post today on behalf of Reebok Fitness. Click here to discover their huge range of workout equipment to keep your fitness at its peak.


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