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Rowing is the best workout you can do if you’re looking to lose weight. A good rowing machine will work out your upper and lower body in a way that running on a treadmill or walking just can’t accomplish.
You must have heard what all the weight loss gurus and health experts have to say. If you type ‘weight loss’ or ‘lose weight’ on the browser, you’ll immediately be swamped with every possible solution – from a technique using only a single rolled towel to hundreds of weightloss fad diets ( learn more: is Concept 2 rower good for weight loss ).
So what do you do with this info overload?
Here’s the best way to approach weight loss. Always remember that’s there’s no magic, no-sweat formula to it. You should focus on getting in a good cardio workout, which should not only get your heart pumping but also help you torch your calories away. And the best way to do that is by doing workouts on a rowing machine! I’ll show you why.
What Makes Rowing Machine Perfect for Weightloss?
There are many reasons why more and more people prefer doing workouts on rowing machines over other fitness regimens.
Total Calories Burned Rowing
It engages all your major muscle groups, such as your back, shoulder, core, quads, hamstrings, glutes, legs, and arms, accomplishing this while burning up to 900 calories per hour in a high intensity but low impact regimen (FYI: learn more on how will rowing change my body shape). That’s why it’s better than other gym machines, like a treadmill or an elliptical bike.
No Risk to Joints
Using a rowing machine is low impact, so there’s no risk of injuries, such as those associated with running, walking, using a treadmill or similar machines, and other high impact workouts.
Shed Fat Faster
As you increase the number of minutes you spend on a rowing machine, you will start shedding a few pounds at first and attain your target a few months into your program.
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Build Strength and Endurance
The beauty of it is that you don’t only say goodbye to those extra pounds in your lower and upper body. You will also gain more strength and stamina the more you do your workouts.
Tone Up Muscles
Remember all those muscles you work out on a rowing machine? You’ll tone them up! Giving your body a more sculpted shape and look.
If you’re still on the fence about rowing, I’d be more than happy to answer your questions and hesitations. Like perhaps – how rowing compares with other forms of exercise. We’ll talk about that next.
Is Rowing or Walking Better?
Many have asked is rowing better than walking? First, let’s put rowing and walking side by side. Perhaps you find walking more suitable for your lifestyle and rowing something of the unexplored territory. Whatever is the case, you’ll find your answers here. I’ve also included an infographic for you to appreciate the facts and figures more.
Which One Burns More Calories?
It all boils down to the calories burned. An hour of rowing torches 400-900 calories (even more for some people). On the other hand, brisk walking burns 200-350 calories per hour. You will cover some 3 or 5 miles doing this, depending on your pace. As you can see, there’s no contest – rowing is miles ahead when it comes to burning calories.
What’s the Better Cardio?
There’s no question how rowing pumps your heart faster and drives oxygen more efficiently to your lungs, making it the perfect cardio and aerobic exercise for you. Walking can also be considered an effective cardio workout but only if you walk briskly (moderately or vigorously).
Moderate intensity means walking at a pace that still allows you to talk but a bit breathless; vigorous intensity means that it’s difficult to talk out loud while you’re walking. So not just any type of walking can give you the cardiovascular workout you need.
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How Many Pounds Will You Lose?
Let’s see how rowing and walking fare in this department.
The key is to burn more calories than you take in, meaning a weightloss diet should complement all your efforts. You can’t exhaust yourself rowing half of the day and binge on food for the rest of it!
The other key is to be consistent in your workout, whether it’s rowing or walking.
With those points out of the way, we may now start comparing the two. Rowing moderately (you can still talk comfortably) for 30 minutes 5 times a week can already help you lose 1-2 pounds a week. Walking an hour 5 days a week can help you shed off 1/3 -1/2 pound a week. Still, it’s a yawning gap!
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What about Impact on Joints?
The impact factor is important, especially if you’re on the heavy side. As you walk faster and longer, the joints in your lower body suffer more. This causes weight bearing damage to your joints in the long run. Balancing may also be an issue and losing it during an exercise can be a cause of accident or injury.
Working out on a rowing machine, on the other hand, poses none of these risks since your full weight is well supported by a seat, keeping your joints safe.
So, you, be the juror. Which is a better exercise – rowing or walking?
Rowing Vs Running
Let’s see how a running workout measures up for losing weight.
For one, it’ll get you catching your breath and increasing your heart rate in no time, so no doubt it’s a good aerobic and cardio exercise that requires no machines. For most people, running at 5 miles per hour will burn 200-300 calories. Doing it 6-7 times a week for 2 weeks will shed off 1 pound. And you thought huffing and puffing would burn more calories and trim your fats fast, huh? It doesn’t turn out that way after all.
Risk to Joints
If you’re particularly heavy, running would be damaging to your joints for the same reason that walking is, except that running is worse. Both walking and running are high-impact activities that pose a great chance of muscle or joint injury, which can put you on the shelf for a month or more.
Unlike running, rowing gives you a slow burn and, thus, is not likely to injure you in any way. Sometimes slow and steady wins the race and has a better effect on your health and well-being. So what advantage does a running or walking workout have over rowing? I must say, none that matters.
Upper and Lower Body Muscles Used
If you go for a run or walk, you wouldn’t engage the same amount of muscles that you do when doing a workout on a rower. Walking and running focus on the legs and barely engages the upper body.
Unlike with other gym machines, such as a treadmill, you get to use 80% of the muscles in your body rowing. Thus, you build strength and stamina the longer you stay on your regimen and increase the level of your workouts. You may also want to read our other article if you’re interested in the details of what muscles are used when rowing.
One important thing to consider when you make the shift to rowing as your new fitness workout is the machine itself. Fortunately, the choices abound for you to find the perfect rower. They’re available in various price ranges. It’ll take a little work to research the right one, but you’ll find it in no time.
There’s no need to worry because this initial investment in time and money will be all worth it as you reap the benefits of working out on a rowing machine.
You should think of this as investing in yourself because that’s what this fitness workout is all about.
So What’s The Verdict: Walking or Rowing?
As we have seen, running will get your lower body working out, while a rowing machine works out both your upper and lower body, making it the best choice for losing weight and overall fitness.
Running and walking put so much stress on your joints that you shouldn’t even consider them as your go-to exercise. Using treadmills involves the same movements and weight bearing dynamics, so it’s safer to rule it out, as well.
On the other hand, rowing machines are not only safe; they also offer the best workout there is by any standard. They’re low impact, the perfect machines to use for burning calories, and most effective for cardio and overall health.
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Written by Petra Amara – RowingCrazy.com
CEO & Founder of RowingCrazy, National Rower, Coxswain Womens Eight Team, Rowing Coach & Writer
Petra is a Mother of two and owner of Rowingcrazy.com. Petra lives and breathes rowing, she also has a passion for writing which lead her to start RowingCrazy.com to share her rowing experience and expertise with others.