If you’re looking for an exercise machine that will help you lose weight build strength in major muscle groups and maintain bone density no matter what your age or level of fitness rowing is the perfect exercise for you. Rowing also offers those who are recovering from an injury or surgery a good workout that won’t irritate injuries or incisions.
When you row, not only your arms, legs, chest, back, and abs but also your mind gets a complete workout. The smooth, rhythmic motion of rowing and the time to let your mind wander do wonders to relieve stress.
If you have aging joints rowing offers Low-impact exercise that is easy on the knees and ankles. Rowing proceeds at your own pace. Thus, people of any age or fitness level can do it. Rowing actually improves range of motion for bodies that are aging and losing range of movement.
Because rowing is a total body workout it burns more calories than many other forms of exercise. For example:
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, a person weighing a hundred and fifty-five pounds rowing for an hour at a moderate speed will burn almost five hundred calories. Rowing at a light intensity would burn 250 calories. Rowing at a vigorous speed would burn 850 calories.
If you walk at a leisurely two miles per hour and you weigh a hundred and fifty-five pound you burn 175 calories per hour. Ramp that up to a moderate walking speed and you burn 230 calories. Brisk walking at three and a half miles per hour burns nearly 270 calories. If you maintain this speed and walk uphill it increases calories required to nearly 425.
Mountain cycling burns almost six hundred calories while biking at ten miles per hour burns 280 calories. Moderate cycling on a stationary bike burns almost 500 calories. To get the same benefits as rowing one would need to bike very vigorously.
Swimming laps burns nearly 500 calories while vigorous ice skating burns the same amount.
Unlike rowing a boat in water, a stationary rowing machine has a sliding seat which necessitates compressing and extend your legs with every stroke. This allows much more efficient exercise of total body muscles than regular rowing.
While rowing is a fantastic exercise there are some injuries to be aware of. Rowing has a reasonably high incidence of lower back and muscle strain injuries in the arm and elbow. Ribs can also come under stress. Fractures are common to those who row competitively.
What Rowers Say
Andrea commented when asked about the benefits of rowing. “I am nearly seventy years old. I started rowing when I attended a spa retreat with my friends. None of them took to rowing but I loved it. I started using a rowing machine at a local fitness club. No one else was using it so I could exercise any time I wanted to. A year later, I bought my own rowing machine. I use it every day.”
Thirty-six-year-old Farron Billingsley recently bought my own C2 stationary rowing machine. He took up rowing when an ankle injury made it impossible for him to long-distance run anymore.
At forty-five, Gina hit menopause with a vengeance. Tennis and handball were not sports her middle-age body enjoyed any longer. She took up swimming and stationary rowing to keep fit and maintain her weight. She finds the two forms of exercise very compatible. Later she hopes to by a boat and go rowing for real on the river near where she lives.
“I recently had surgery,” comments twenty-nine-year-old Anne. “My body is not yet ready for the exercises I was doing before surgery. That’s why I decided to take up stationary rowing. I like it so well I may not go back to my other workouts.”
All in all, rowing is a fantastic exercise for all ages. With a stationary rowing machine you train your arms, legs, upper and lower back, legs, glutes and you also get an effective cardio workout. The only other exercise that is comparable is Nordic skiing. There is an indoor skiing machine called the ski-erg from Concept 2, but that is the only one I know of. There are of course a whole range of rowing machines out there, many of which are reviewed on this site: http://www.rowing-machine-review.com