How rowing machines can benefit your fitness – without getting wet!
Rowing machines are the third in the ‘triad’ of low impact fitness machines you will find in the gym, the other two being the spinning bike and the cross trainer. Like the others they offer an excellent way to get fit without stressing and straining the joints through impact with the road or other hard surface. Below are the key benefits you get from using a rowing machine:
Measured exercise –
Like the other two machines you can set up most rowing machines to row a distance and while you do that they will measure time and stroke rate. If you’re the type of gym person who likes to keep track of your progress you can keep a record of your time/distance/stroke activity to help motivate you and move you on to greater things.
Strengthen the core
You’re working a lot of muscles in the body on rowing machine and your core muscles will benefit as much as your arms and legs while you fight the resistance of the machine. Again, this is done in a controlled fashion as you are seated and so you benefit from the repetitive nature of the exercise.
Good calorie burn
As you’re moving and using the whole body as part of the exercise you get into the calorie burn zone very quickly and so rowing can be a real benefit to those wanting to lose weight. And while you’re losing that weight you’re also toning up your tummy, arms and legs…
If you are trying to lose weight then normal exercises such as running are not the best idea; your joints (especially the knees, hips and ankles) are already under stress and pounding along on a hard surface isn’t going to help. Seated on a rowing machine the weight is off the joints and stress is therefore reduced. This also makes it a suitable exercise for the elder person who wants to keep fit.
Because you’re using pretty much the entire body to row you also get a great aerobic workout. Your heart rate will be raised, your lungs are pumping and you’re getting a good sweat on – all good things for the body (in moderation, of course) to offset the lack of exercise we get in modern living.
This is more a psychological benefit but it leads to a physical one. Like everyone else I can get bored when exercising so I like to ‘zone out’ as I help it makes the time pass more quickly. I can’t really zone out when out running or cycling because of all the distractions around me and the need to stay alert – they just keep breaking my train of thought. However, getting on a rowing machine or spinning bike means that I’m in a controlled environment (ie I’m not going to crash into anybody/anything!) and so my mind can wander. My body might be on a rowing machine but my mind is in an aircraft flying thousands of feet above rolling countryside or it’s deep into another embryonic business idea. I’ve even found myself going over the planned time so deep have I been in my thoughts.
So, next time you’re down at the gym and you feel like doing something different, head over to the rowing machines and give your body a one-stop workout.