Rowing is not just the nation’s oldest college sport. Recently, rowing has become a go-to exercise for people looking to stay fit. If you’re the adventurous type, you can sign up for outdoor rowing sessions that combine your fitness regimen with the cool, crisp feel of the sea air. Or, you could simply settle down for an intense session with the rowing machine at your gym.
In the 1960s, the rowing machine was not popular at all. Its machine brake and iron wheel made it a hulking contraption that most gym-goers deemed simply not worth the effort. With the introduction of air resistance in the 1980s, the updated machine came to mimic the exact motion of outdoor rowing. Such models are still used today in gyms all over the country. Modern innovations such as hydraulic resistance have led to lightweight, foldable rowing machines that are perfect if you work out at home.
But enough of the history lesson; why should you switch to rowing if you haven’t embraced this exercise already?
The benefits of rowing for fitness
Let’s face it: spinning, like other regular workouts, can start feeling monotonous at a certain point. Try the intensity of rowing to help mix things up. Add it to your regular workout and you’ll notice the benefits in no time. If you’re wary of trying a completely new workout, these seven health benefits will convince you to embrace rowing as part of your overall fitness regimen.
Regardless of age, a cardio-centric workout is an important part of your fitness regimen. Rowing is the perfect aerobic exercise, as it helps you increase stamina, lose excess weight and improve your immune system. It also raises your heart rate and oxygen intake, which is key to a productive cardio workout. This, in turn, helps release those endorphins that up your mood and help you sleep well.
Total body workout
It’s a common misconception that rowing is all about the strength of your arms. The truth is that rowing works on all the major muscle groups. With every leg press and row, your legs and upper body are exerted. Spinning is all about working the legs, while your torso is hardly required to work hard. With rowing, your core, legs and arms are all called to action.
Smash those calories
If you take rowing seriously, you can burn up to 800 calories per session. The best part is you’re building muscle while burning fat, thus improving your physical appearance without a complicated workout regime. Nobody likes crunches. Rowing will help sculpt those shoulders and calves in a more fluid movement.
Spending a good part of the day hunched at a desk does your posture no good. But slouching is simply not an option when you’re in a rowing machine or out on the water. Any rowing instructor will inform you that posture is vital for an effective workout. The habit of keeping your back straight as you wrap your fingers around the oars will remind you of doing the same at work. Poor posture causes back aches in the long run, and rowing can help keep that at bay.
The endurance factor
Rowing isn’t as easy as it looks from the sidelines. It’s all about the rhythm of timing your hand and leg movements. The exertion of forward and backwards resistance makes a rower stronger over time and helps with conditioning. If you’re considering running a marathon, a rowing machine workout will help acclimatize your body to the rigors of prolonged physical activity. The cardiovascular nature of rowing improves energy levels, thus reducing exhaustion in the long run.
Weight-bearing exercises are not a good idea if you’re overweight or have joint problems. Rowing doesn’t put unnecessary stress on your joints, which means a lesser risk of injury for you. If you’re considering a low-impact workout post-joint surgery, a short rowing session is a good idea. Whether you’re 18 or 80, you can try your hand at rowing without worrying about adverse physical consequences, so long as your form is correct.
Green exercise can do great things for body and mind. Imagine being part of a rowing crew, out on the tranquil waters of a lake with the back-and-forth motion of the oars soothing your nerves. There’s nothing better than working out in nature to calm an anxious mind.
Rowing offers a plethora of benefits for the fitness fanatic and workout rookie alike. For the former, it can be the perfect warmup before moving on to lifting weights. If you’re starting out, choose rowing for the full-body workout it delivers.
As any rowing instructor will tell you, it’s more about technique and concentration than strength. Whether you’re in an indoor rower or in a boat out in the open, make sure you master posture before anything else. Once you’ve grasped the basics, you’ll notice a significant improvement in fitness.
Rowing, as you know it, maybe something best left to experienced athletes. However, it is a sport for everyone because of its simplicity and manifold health benefits. It not only works wonders on the body but also helps strengthen your mental capacities. So if you’re looking to change your run-of-the-mill fitness regime, take up rowing. It will streamline your workout and set you apart from your gym buddies.