For those of us who love running, the winter months can be quite frustrating. Personally, living in Buffalo, I consider the insidiously iced-over pavements and heaps of snow as just a sprained ankle or worse waiting to happen (no lie: I slipped on my driveway this morning, and that was just me walking!) If you find yourself in the same boat as I am, or maybe are looking for a new exercise routine, then rowing might just be your new best friend.
Not only is there no chance of wiping out on miserably cold pavement, but rowing is great for preventing and healing other injuries and strains, especially knee issues. London Metropolitan University researchers actually found that in comparison to cycling and other post-knee surgery workouts, rowing with proper form was a more “favorable” strengthening exercise, according to Live Strong.
And for anyone worried about exacerbating or creating injuries with rowing, there are plenty of online resources to show you how to maintain proper rowing form, including keeping your back straight and coordinating your upper and lower body movements. Once you have the basic motion down––which comes fairly naturally to most people––you open yourself up to a whole new workout experience.
One of the most apparent benefits of rowing is the strength-training component, but you may be asking yourself, “Which muscles does rowing strengthen, exactly?” The answer: a whopping 84 percent of them, according to City Row founder and certified fitness instructor Annie Mulgrew. This is actually excellent for runners, firing up muscles not normally used and creating a full-body toning process in your arms, legs, core and back.
Additionally, rowing is great for torching calories, with Harvard Publications noting that just 30-minutes of rowing at a moderate pace for 30 minutes “burns about 210 calories for a 125-pound individual and 311 calories for a 185-pound individual.”
As I previously said, the biggest impediment to rowing success is simply not knowing what to do. So, consult with a fitness equipment expert, use online resources, ask a friend, ask a trainer––and be sure to do some warm-up strokes to make sure your form is all set before going, otherwise, you can run the risk of injury or reducing the effectiveness of your workout.
Investing in your own rowing machine is great for those looking for a low-impact exercise that still yields a great burn, or for those like me who just hate working out in cold and icy conditions. You’ll be heating up in no time with a rowing machine, no matter what the temperature is outside.
While there are a lot of different rowing machines out there, one incredibly popular option are WaterRowers. These top-of-the-line rowers are made in the USA, take very little space (the same footprint as a dining room chair!), and are built to last. Not only does the water flywheel tank mimic the resistance of rowing in a large body of water, but let’s face it, watching and hearing that water rush around is just plain cool. In fact, for all you pop culture buffs, it’s so cool that First Lady Claire Underwood––also an avid runner––uses it frequently to burn away calories and stress on House of Cards!
The investment in a high-quality rower is well worth it––where else are you going to find a machine that works 84 percent of your body while protecting your joints in the comfort––and warmth––of your own home? So, ready, set, ROW!