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Do You Burn More Calories on a Treadmill or Rowing?

By Elizabeth Falwell ; Updated July 18, 2017

Even though a treadmill and a rowing machine are two very different pieces of cardiovascular equipment, both have similar calorie-burn rates. With each piece of equipment, the key to exactly how many calories you burn is the pace at which you perform the exercise. The faster your pace, the more calories you'll burn; overall, you have the potential to burn more calories on a treadmill. The numbers below for treadmill assume that you are not shifting your body weight onto the frame of the machine by holding onto it or leaning onto it.

Treadmill: Walking

Your rate of calorie burn on a treadmill is at its lowest when you are walking on it. A leisurely walking speed of 2 miles per hour burns off 148 calories an hour for a 130-lb. person; a 180-lb. person burns 204 calories in the same 60-minute period, the NutriStrategy website calculates. Increase your speed to a brisk pace -- 3.5 mph -- and you'll up your calorie burn to 195 calories an hour if you weigh 130 lbs. and to 270 calories an hour if you weigh 180 lbs. Add an incline to that brisk pace and the calories keep increasing -- up to 354 an hour for a 130-lb. person and up to 490 an hour for a 180-lb. person.

Treadmill: Jogging

Change your style of movement from a brisk walk to a jog to burn more calories. Jogging for 60 minutes at a 5-mph pace burns 472 calories in a 130-lb. person; a 180-lb. person burns 654 calories at that pace. Increase your speed by 1 mile per hour and that same 130-lb. person burns an additional 120 calories, while the 180-lb. person burns 170 more. Adding an incline to your treadmill increases your calorie burn even more; the steeper the incline, the more calories burned.

Treadmill: Running

Running on a treadmill -- increasing both your speed and the length of your strides compared to a jog -- continues to burn more calories. A 130-lb. person burns 679 calories running at a 7-mph pace for 60 minutes; a 180-lb. person burns 940 during that same period. For every additional mile per hour added to your pace, a 130-lb. person burns an additional 80 to 100 calories while the 180-lb. person burns another 100 to 150 calories an hour. Set your treadmill to an uphill course and the calorie burn continues to climb.

Rowing Machine

Just as your pace changes your calorie burn on a treadmill, so it does on a rowing machine. Rowing for one hour at a casual pace burns 207 calories for a 130-lb. person and 286 calories for a 180-lb. person. Upping the pace to a moderate speed burn doubles the calorie burn of a casual pace. Row at a vigorous pace for an hour and watch 502 calories melt away if you weigh 130 lbs., 675 calories if you weigh 180 lbs. Rowing at max speed for an hour burns a whopping 708 calories in a 130-lb. person and 981 calories in a 180-lb. person, although this pace is difficult to sustain for a full 60 minutes. Unlike a treadmill, you cannot increase the incline on a rowing machine to increase the calories burned.

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