You only have 20 minutes to spare and want to get in the best workout possible. There's a motorized treadmill and a rowing machine available in the gym today. Which is your best choice? A study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness gives the intensity edge to the treadmill.
Researchers had 10 recreationally active males do 20 minutes of treadmill running or machine rowing at a high rate of perceived exertion. Relative work intensity was 86% on the motorized treadmill compared to 84% while rowing. The mean average heart rate got up to 175 on the treadmill versus 166 rowing. Changes in blood lactate concentrations were also greater pre- to post-workout with running. So if you're pressed for time, the treadmill might be the better option...until tomorrow, when you'd want to work the upper body by rowing.