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Question
Posted by: welsh | 2008/01/05

treadmill vs rowing

Hi Doc!

I usually run for 20 to 30 minutes at 4 to 5 min per km per session. I find that a similar amount of exertion on the rowing machine does not make me sweat, literally, quite as much as the treadmill. I am not trying to replace one with the other but merely trying to figure out which machine will give me more bang for my effort particularly when I am pressed for time.

Many thanks!

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Our expert says:
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Hi Welsh

The sweat issue may be explained by something as simple as the environmental conditions and the fact that when you row, you're moving while during running, you are not.

Your movement during rowing (back and forth, that is), creates an additional source of wind, which removes sweat. So you may well be sweating without realising it. The other thing is fans - perhaps you are rowing with a fan on you, but running without, and that would explain it too.

In terms of the intensity, there is also a difference between the two activities, because rowing is a more 'static exercise' and running is more dynamic. So running does, in theory, have a higher energy consumption per hour than rowing does. If your goal was simply to burn calories, then running probably wins out. But the thing about rowing is that it's a great upper body exercise as well, and so perhaps a mixture of the two is the best from an overall fitness point of view. Final consideration is whether you're training for anything specific. Are you competing in anything? Because that will inform the training you will be doing. But I do think that one or two days a week of each one is the way to go, and then you focus on the one you enjoy the most. Enjoyment is key.

Good luck

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