The Benefits of Indoor Rowing Machines
Rowing is a sport that offers a variety of different benefits, whether you are actually out on the water or using an indoor rowing machine.
1. More Workout in Less Time
The first benefit is that you can get an entire body workout. Some exercise equipment – like treadmills, elliptical trainers or stationary bikes – only work one part of your body. A rower lets you strengthen and tone your legs, arms, back and abdominals all at the same time.
Essentially, this is like cramming a longer workout into a short period of time but still receiving the same benefit. It also means that you tone your arms and legs rather than working hard to get a great bottom half but still have flabby arms.
2. Aerobic Exercise and Strength Training All at Once
Because your entire body is involved in the exercise, you don’t have to row very long before you are breathing hard. Rowers definitely deliver a hearty aerobic workout.
While you get the benefits of elevating your heart rate, you are also putting in a lot of effort into pushing with your legs and pulling with your arms. These are similar movements to squats and lifts, which of course strengthen a whole range of muscles, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, gluts, back and arms.
3. Low-Impact Sport
High impact sports like running can result in lots of wear and tear on the body. As we age, high impact sports become more difficult and sometimes not even an option.
Rowing can provide a challenging aerobic workout and strength training routine without the downside of high-impact wear and tear. This generally means that you can enjoy the sport for longer without the hassle of impact-related injuries or pain.
4. Workout Variety
At first glance, it may not appear that you can do much with an indoor rowing machine. However, today’s computerized versions provide a variety of different workout routines, plus you can even race against other people. You can switch back and forth between long distance endurance training and sprint interval workouts.
Unlike other types of exercise equipment, the rowing machine is light enough to easily move. Therefore, you don’t always have to row in one place. You can row outdoors if you want. Switching up the scenery for stationary workouts can help you stay motivated, at least it does for me.
5. Short Learning Curve
Some sports take some time to learn, and some are so challenging that many people get frustrated and quit before they ever fully master the sport. Rowing is not one of those sports. You can start at any age and progress quickly. You also don’t have to be fast or strong to enjoy it. You can simply go at your own pace.
Of course, it will take time to build strength and speed, but not to the point of being frustrating. And who even says you need a lot of strength and speed? Many people enjoy the consistent movement and aerobic challenge of rowing as part of their daily routine – no matter how fast they go.
6. Well… one more: Rehab
If you are an athlete, you are well aware that injuries can happen at any time and usually when you don’t expect them. Down time is part of the game, and although frustrating, we all go through it at one point or another. Rest, ice and physical therapy are usually all part of the recovery process.
But wait – did you know that rowing machines have been used for rehabilitation of patients in hospitals? According to The Complete Guide to Indoor Rowing by Jim Flood and Charles Simpson, this was happening as far back as 1938. The sport of indoor rowing is also opening up to people with spinal cord injuries and paralyzed limbs.