Rowing and running are two of the most effective cardio exercises that have been in practice for centuries. When it comes to overall fitness, both are excellent ways to get your heart rate up and burn calories. However, many people are curious to know which one is better than the other. In this blog article, we will address the question of whether rowing is better cardio than running or not.

Comparison of Calories Burned

Both running and rowing burn a significant amount of calories. However, rowing machines are designed in a way that they mimic the motion of rowing a boat, which engages more muscles than running. According to the statistics gathered by Harvard Health, during an hour of running, a person weighing 155 pounds can burn about 372 calories. On the other hand, during an hour of rowing, the same person can burn about 520 calories.

Strength and Endurance Training

Running can be an excellent way to improve your endurance and cardiovascular health. However, it does not provide strength training, and you may have to supplement it with other exercises to get a balanced workout. On the other hand, rowing provides both cardiovascular and strength training. Rowing engages your upper and lower body simultaneously, making it an ideal exercise to gain strength and endurance.

Impact on Joints and Muscles

Running can be tough on your joints and muscles, especially if you are a beginner or have existing joint or muscle problems. The constant impact of your feet on the ground can lead to injuries or pain in the knees, ankles, and hips. On the contrary, rowing is a low-impact exercise that puts less stress on your joints and muscles. Rowing can be an ideal exercise for people who want to get an intense workout without risking injuries.

Improvement in Posture and Coordination

Rowing is a technical exercise that requires good posture and coordination. To row correctly, you need to keep your back straight and core engaged and coordinate your arm and leg movements. Over time, rowing can improve your posture and coordination skills. On the other hand, running does not focus on coordination or posture, and you may not see a significant improvement in these areas if you only run.

Variety in Workouts

Both rowing and running offer various workout options. You can adjust the resistance and incline on a rowing machine to increase or decrease the intensity of your workout. Similarly, with running, you can choose to run on different terrains and adjust your pace to get a different workout experience. However, rowing machines offer a more comprehensive range of workout options than running, making it an ideal exercise for people who want to switch up their workouts more often.


In conclusion, both rowing and running are excellent cardio exercises that can improve your overall fitness. However, rowing provides more significant benefits than running. Rowing burns more calories, provides strength and endurance training, is low-impact, improves posture and coordination, and offers more workout variety. Therefore, if you want to get a full-body cardio workout and achieve your fitness goals, rowing is a better option than running.