Rowing: Optimal fitness for the summer
For anyone looking to get in better shape with an excellent all-body workout, a rowing machine or rowing on the water could be the answer. This type of exercise can work out up to 86% of the muscles in the body – and it’s even possible to involve the family and send the kids to a rowing camp this summer. Here are some of the benefits of rowing for exercise.
Complete body workout
Whether on a rowing machine or on the water, this form of exercise works the entire body – it certainly doesn’t only cause ripped arms.
The American Fitness Professionals Association states that a rowing stroke works the legs more than 70% of the time and the upper body somewhere in the region of 30%.
The major muscle groups that rowing works are:
Rowing also can increase leg strength in the calves, glutes, and quadriceps.
Great for all fitness levels
People of all fitness levels can work out on a rowing machine, as long as they know the proper form and take it easy at first. This exercise is also safe for those who are blind or have low vision. A study in 2015 of two dozen people with low vision found that rowing five days per week decreased their total body fat. It also reduced their cholesterol and increased their overall strength.
A meditative exercise
Many people find there is a mind and body connection to the rowing motion. Obviously, the most meditative benefits are obtained when rowing on the water, but it’s still possible to enjoy this benefit indoors.
The gliding, smooth motion, and repetitive movements allow the mind to drift and relax. This happens in all four phases of the stroke, including the catch, drive, finish, and recovery.
Rowing also releases feel-good hormones in the body called endorphins, which will melt away stress.
Excellent for heart and lung health
Rowing has fantastic benefits for the heart and lungs, as well as the blood and blood vessels. Rowing is an intense exercise, so the heart must work hard to move more blood around the body. Over time, this will increase heart strength.
Rowing also can benefit people who have a risk of heart problems but it’s a good idea to talk to one’s doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Better than the treadmill or elliptical
When hitting the exercise machines at the gym, people often overlook the rowing machine, but once they try it, they may prefer it to the elliptical and treadmill.
The treadmill works the lower body, while the rowing machine works the entire body. A rowing machine and elliptical work both halves of the body, but the rowing machine also hits the abdominals.
Also, most rowing machines can be folded, so they’re easy to put away when not in use. This is a massive benefit for those who live in small quarters. When living in an apartment, a rowing machine is also a lot quieter than a treadmill.
Good rowing technique
Lower back pain is common for people who use rowing machines. In fact, 2015 research found that up to 80% of male rower injuries were to the lower back. One of the common reasons for lower back pain in rowers is not using the abs enough in each stroke. When this occurs, the lower back must compensate for the weak ab muscles.
Also, some people push with their legs and lean back simultaneously. It’s important to keep each movement separate: one should push with the legs first and lean back with the abs tight. Next, pull the arms to the chest.
Working out on a rowing machine or the water can be fantastic for the body. Worth a try!
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