In the world of fitness, the debate between the treadmill and the rowing machine is a hot topic. Both machines offer excellent cardiovascular workouts, but which one is superior? Today, we’re going to delve into the statistics and logic behind why the treadmill trumps the rower.
Here is a quick comparison for Treadmills Vs. Rowers, and why we claim that Treadmills are better:
|Workout Intensity||Versatile, accommodates various fitness levels||Engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously|
|Calorie Burn||Moderate speed: 8.5 to 12.5 cal/min (160 lbs)||Moderate workout: 210 to 311 cal/30min (155 lbs)|
|Impact on Bones||Weight-bearing exercise, improves bone density||Low-impact exercise, no impact on bone density|
|Psychological Benefits||Releases endorphins, boosts mood and reduces stress||Can also provide psychological benefits|
|Training for Running Events||Mimics race conditions with adjustable speed and incline||Doesn’t provide specific training for runners|
|Popularity & Availability||Common in gyms and homes; abundant resources available||Less common; fewer resources available|
|Cardiovascular Health||Strengthens heart, reduces risk of heart disease||Provides good cardiovascular workout|
|Weather Conditions Resistance||Can be used indoors regardless of weather||Not affected by weather conditions|
|Weight Loss||Burns more calories than rowing||Effective choice for weight loss|
|Learning Curve||Lower learning curve than rower||Requires more technical skill|
The Treadmill: A Fitness Staple
The treadmill is a staple in almost every gym and many homes. It’s a versatile machine that can cater to a variety of fitness levels, from beginners to advanced athletes.
Versatility and Accessibility
One of the key advantages of the treadmill is its versatility. Whether you want to walk, jog, run, or sprint, the treadmill can accommodate your needs. This makes it accessible to a wide range of people, regardless of their fitness level or goals.
High Calorie Burn
According to the American Council on Exercise, running on a treadmill at a moderate speed can burn approximately 8.5 to 12.5 calories per minute for a person weighing 160 pounds. This means that a 30-minute run could burn between 255 to 375 calories.
Impact on Bone Density
Running is a weight-bearing exercise, which means it can help improve bone density. This is particularly important for older adults and post-menopausal women who are at a higher risk of osteoporosis.
The Rower: A Full-Body Workout
The rowing machine, or rower, is known for providing a full-body workout. It engages both your upper and lower body, and is low-impact, making it a good option for those with joint issues.
While the rower does engage more muscle groups simultaneously than the treadmill, this doesn’t necessarily translate to a more effective workout. The effectiveness of a workout largely depends on the intensity and duration, not just the number of muscles engaged.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, a moderate workout on a rowing machine burns about 210 to 311 calories in 30 minutes for a person weighing 155 pounds. While this is a decent calorie burn, it’s lower than what you’d achieve running on a treadmill.
While the low-impact nature of rowing is a plus for those with joint issues, it doesn’t provide the weight-bearing exercise needed for improving bone density.
The Psychological Factor: The Joy of Running
Running, whether it’s done outdoors or on a treadmill, has been linked to numerous mental health benefits.
The release of endorphins during a run can create a sense of euphoria often referred to as the “runner’s high.” This can lead to improved mood and reduced stress levels.
While rowing can also provide these benefits, the unique sensation of running and the ability to easily adjust pace and incline on a treadmill can offer a more varied and enjoyable workout for many people.
The Popularity and Availability of Treadmills
Treadmills are one of the most popular pieces of fitness equipment. You’ll find them in almost every gym and many homes.
This popularity also means there’s a wealth of resources available, from workout plans to online communities, to help you get the most out of your treadmill workouts.
On the other hand, rowers are less common and can be more intimidating for beginners.
The Treadmill and Heart Health
Cardiovascular exercise, such as running on a treadmill, is crucial for maintaining a healthy heart. Regular cardio exercise strengthens the heart and reduces the risk of heart disease.
While rowing also provides a good cardiovascular workout, the ability to easily adjust the intensity on a treadmill—from a leisurely walk to an all-out sprint—makes it an excellent tool for heart-rate-based training.
Treadmill for All Weather Conditions
One of the significant advantages of a treadmill is that it’s not subject to weather conditions. Whether it’s raining, snowing, or scorching hot outside, you can always get a good run indoors on a treadmill.
This is not a direct comparison with a rower, but it’s a practical advantage that makes the treadmill a more reliable choice for consistent training.
The Treadmill and Weight Loss
If your primary goal is weight loss, the treadmill might be your best bet. As we’ve mentioned earlier, running on a treadmill can burn more calories than a rowing machine, making it a more effective choice for weight loss.
Plus, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is easy to implement on a treadmill, and this type of workout has been shown to be particularly effective for burning fat.
Treadmill: Easier Learning Curve
While proper form is important on any exercise machine, the treadmill has a lower learning curve than the rower. Most people already know how to walk and run, so it’s easy to hop on a treadmill and get started. On the other hand, rowing requires more technical skill to ensure effectiveness and prevent injury.
The Verdict: Why Treadmill Trumps Rower
While both the treadmill and the rower have their merits, the treadmill comes out on top for several reasons.
- Higher Calorie Burn: As mentioned earlier, running on a treadmill burns more calories per minute than rowing. This makes it a more effective choice for weight loss.
- Bone Health: The weight-bearing nature of running can help improve bone density, an advantage that rowing doesn’t offer.
- Versatility: The treadmill is more versatile and accessible. It can cater to a wide range of fitness levels and goals, from walking for beginners to high-intensity sprinting for advanced athletes.
- Real-World Training: Running on a treadmill more closely mimics real-world movements. This makes it a more practical choice for those training for running events.
In conclusion, while the rower is a fantastic machine that offers a full-body workout, the treadmill’s higher calorie burn, impact on bone health, versatility, and real-world training make it the superior choice.
As always, the best exercise is the one you enjoy and will stick with, so choose the machine that best fits your personal fitness goals and preferences.