Rowing Or Running For Weight Loss

Are you looking for an effective way to get in shape and lose weight? If so, consider rowing or running. Which of these two activities is best for reaching your health goals? That’s the topic of today’s blog post! We’ll be taking a closer look at both rowing and running – from benefits to safety precautions – to help you decide which is better suited to giving you the physical transformation you desire. Let’s jump in and discover why either one could be ideal exercise for weight loss!

1. Understand Your Goals

Before starting any exercise routine, it’s essential to understand what you want to achieve. Having clear fitness goals can guide your workout plan and help you stay motivated. Here’s how to get started:

Identify Your Fitness Goals

Your fitness goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Do you want to lose weight, build muscle, improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress, or increase flexibility? Maybe you’re training for a specific event like a marathon or a rowing competition. Identifying what you want to achieve will help you tailor your workouts to meet these goals.

Consider Your Current Fitness Level

Your current fitness level will significantly influence your goals. If you’re new to exercise, start with small, achievable goals. As your fitness improves, you can adjust your goals accordingly.

Make Your Goals Personal

Your fitness goals should be about you and what you want to achieve, not what you think you should do or what others expect of you. When your goals align with your personal values and interests, you’re more likely to stay committed.

Set Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

Long-term goals give you a big picture to aim for, like running a marathon in a year or losing 50 pounds. Short-term goals are steps along the way to your long-term goals, such as running for 30 minutes without stopping or losing 5 pounds in a month.

Write Down Your Goals

Writing down your goals makes them more tangible and helps keep you accountable. Review them regularly and track your progress towards achieving them.

Be Flexible

Remember that it’s OK to adjust your goals as needed. Life happens, and sometimes circumstances change. What’s important is to stay committed to leading an active and healthy lifestyle.

Understanding your fitness goals is the first step towards achieving them. With clear goals in mind, you’ll have a roadmap guiding your exercise journey. Remember, the most important thing is to enjoy the process and celebrate every achievement, no matter how small.

2. Compare Rowing and Running for Weight Loss

Rowing and running are both excellent forms of cardiovascular exercise that can help you burn calories and lose weight. Each activity has its unique benefits that can contribute to your weight loss journey.


  1. Full-Body Workout: Unlike running, which primarily targets the lower body, rowing is a full-body workout. It engages both your upper and lower body muscles, including your arms, legs, back, and core.
  2. Low-Impact: Rowing is a low-impact exercise, meaning it’s easier on your joints compared to running. This makes it a good choice for individuals with joint issues or those who are significantly overweight.
  3. High Calorie Burn: According to Harvard Health Publishing, vigorous rowing can burn anywhere from 255 to 377 calories in 30 minutes, depending on your weight.


  1. Higher Calorie Burn: Running generally burns more calories than rowing. For instance, a 155-pound person running at a moderate pace (5 mph) can burn around 298 calories in 30 minutes.
  2. Convenience: Running requires no special equipment and can be done almost anywhere, making it a more accessible form of exercise for many people.
  3. Bone Density: Running is a weight-bearing exercise, which can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Both rowing and running are effective for weight loss. The best choice depends on your personal preferences, physical condition, and fitness goals. Whether you choose rowing, running, or a combination of both, the key to weight loss is consistent exercise combined with a balanced diet.

3. Choose the Right Equipment – Learn which pieces you need for either rowing or running 

Choosing the right equipment for your workouts can enhance your performance and comfort, while also preventing injuries. Here’s what you need for either rowing or running:


  1. Rowing Machine: Look for a machine with a smooth, consistent pull and a comfortable seat. More advanced models will have features like adjustable resistance and performance monitors.
  2. Athletic Clothing: Wear fitted, moisture-wicking athletic clothing. Loose clothing can get caught in the rower, so opt for close-fitting items.
  3. Rowing Gloves: While not necessary for everyone, gloves can help prevent blisters and give you a better grip on the handle.
  4. Heart Rate Monitor: This can be useful for tracking your effort level and ensuring you’re working in the right zone for your goals.


  1. Running Shoes: Good running shoes are essential. They should provide the right balance of cushioning, stability, and flexibility for your foot type and running style. It’s worth visiting a specialty store to get properly fitted.
  2. Athletic Clothing: Choose moisture-wicking fabrics to keep you dry and comfortable. Consider layers for colder weather, and don’t forget a good pair of running socks to prevent blisters.
  3. Running Watch: A running watch or fitness tracker can help you monitor your pace, distance, heart rate, and other data.
  4. Hydration Gear: Consider a hydration belt or handheld water bottle for longer runs.
  5. Reflective Gear/Safety Lights: If you’ll be running early in the morning or after dusk, make sure you’re visible to drivers.

Remember, the right equipment will depend on your preferences, budget, and specific fitness goals. Investing in high-quality gear can make your workouts more enjoyable and effective.

4. Determine Your Regimen

Determining your exercise regimen is a crucial step in achieving your fitness goals. Whether you choose rowing, running, or both, how often and how long you exercise will depend on your current fitness level, your goals, and your schedule.

If you’re new to exercise or getting back into it after a break, start slow. You might begin with 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise, three days a week. As your fitness improves, you can gradually increase the duration and frequency of your workouts.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150-250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise for weight loss. That could mean five 30-minute workouts per week, or longer sessions if you’re up for it.

Suppose you’re training for a specific event like a marathon or a rowing competition. In that case, your regimen will need to include longer, more intense workouts, as well as rest and recovery days.

Remember the importance of warming up before each workout and cooling down afterwards, which we discussed in the “Learn Basic Strokes” and “Understand Your Goals” sections. This helps prepare your body for exercise and reduces the risk of injury.

Also, listen to your body. Some days you might have the energy for a hard workout, while other days you might need something lighter or a rest day. It’s important to strike a balance between pushing yourself and allowing time for recovery.

Finally, keep in mind that consistency is key. Regular exercise—whether it’s rowing, running, or another activity—is the most effective way to achieve your fitness goals. Find a regimen that fits your lifestyle and that you enjoy, as this will help you stick with it in the long term.

It is clear that rowing and running can be effective exercises for weight loss when incorporated into a well-structured fitness routine. However, which one will work best for you depends on several factors such as your fitness level, goals, and personal preference. To make the right decision for you, remember to experiment with both activities and observe how they affect your overall performance and weight loss.

Before you dive into any exercise program, it’s always good to consult with a professional to ensure it’s tailored to your body type and health goals. With the right approach and dedication, you can achieve amazing results regardless of whether you decide to run or row. We hope this article gives you the insight you need to pick an activity that works for you. And don’t forget to read our other articles – we have plenty more helpful info on running and rowing!