Rowing is one of the most popular and most effective forms of exercise. Whether you use air or water rowing machines or actually opt to take to the water in a boat, it can be calming, relaxing and engaging. What you may not realize, though, is that rowing can do just as much for your mental health as it does for your physical health. This is yet another reason to give it a try. Here are five ways that rowing can improve your mental health:
Reduce Stress –
The natural rhythm of the rowing movement allows you to work the muscles of both your upper and lower body. This gives you one of the most complete workouts you can get. At the same time, that rhythm can help you to achieve a sense of calm and balance, allowing you to work off the effects of stress. And the whooshing sound and on-water feel makes water rowing machines that much more effective when it comes to achieving relaxation.
Improve your workout –
Rowing already gives you a complete cardiovascular workout, but the added calming effect can actually help you to focus more and get more out of your workout. For this reason, just 20 to 30 minutes a day on a rowing machine can be more effective and more productive than a more vigorous workout. Rowing works more body parts than most cardiovascular exercise, allowing you to improve your lower and middle back, hamstrings, calves, biceps and glutes and as you get the most out of your workout, you’ll surely feel better mentally as well as physically.
Lose weight –
Because rowing actually burns more calories than other exercises, it can be a great way to lose weight and shedding those extra pounds can go a long way to making you feel better mentally. As you shed the pounds and begin to move better and look better, you’ll feel better about yourself and that can change your whole outlook on life, which is a definite boost to your mental health.
Help increase joint flexibility –
One of the biggest benefits of rowing is the fact that, while it offers a great cardiovascular workout, it is also low impact. That means there is less wear and tear on the joints and less possibility of injury than higher impact exercises like running. Plus the added gentle resistance of water makes water rowing machines that much more effective for delicate joints, making it a great workout for individuals with arthritis or other joint problems that can leave you feeling better about yourself as you get moving again without worrying about chronic pain.
Encourage a sense of community –
If you do opt to go from the workout room to the water, rowing can give you a major mental lift by allowing you to engage with other enthusiasts, working together to move your boat across the lake. This encourages a sense of teamwork and togetherness, which can be a great way to relieve stress along with feeling a real sense of achievement.
When you think about it, it’s easy to see why rowing appeals to so many people. It’s an easy way to get a great workout, alleviate stress and feel better about yourself. And it does not tax your body as much as some exercises can. Plus the ability to use traditional air machines or water rowing machines can give you exactly the kind of workout you want right in the comfort of your own home. If you’re looking for a good way to improve health, you can’t beat the benefits of rowing.
About the Author
Jack is a personal trainer with over 20 years in the fitness industry. He is an expert advisor for various fitness-related entities and writes regularly for several health/exercise websites, including allrowers.com