We have no idea why you are not rowing. Indoor rowing is one of the top low-impact, calorie-burning exercises of all time. Here's five reasons to ditch the cardio trinity (treadmill, elliptical and spin bike) and up your fitness with the ergometer (erg).
- Whole-Body Workout: Rowing works 84% of your muscle mass...and that's without shadow-boxing with 2-lb weights. Rowing works 9 major muscle groups: quads, hamstrings, glutes, lats, core, shoulders, triceps, back and biceps. Most people believe that rowing is an upper body dominant exercise, but the majority of the workload comes from your legs and core. So if you're looking to strengthen and tone your back, legs, butt, arms and abs you only need one machine, the erg.
- Joint Friendly: Rowing is one of the top 5 calorie burning exercises while minimizing impact on the joints. A single 60-minute session can easily burn 400-800 calories. For those who are overweight, the sliding seat displaces ones weight so the load on their body is less and they can make a smooth transition to other activities as the weight comes off. The erg is also a great tool for cross-training or maintaining fitness when injuries surface for runners and cyclists.
- Heart Health: Aerobic training has certainly proved to be one of the best ways to improve cardiovascular performance (think heart rate, stroke volume and heart contractility). As little as 30 minutes of steady state work on the erg can help strengthen your heart, keep your arteries clear and reduce cholesterol and blood sugar. You're never too old to start either. Studies have shown that improved cardiovascular fitness can increase life span.
- Posture Improvement: Our current work environments, reliance on our smartphones and time spent vegging out in front of the television are all wreaking havoc on our posture. Bad posture can affect a number of health related issues such as upper back/neck pain, lung function, depression and circulation. Not only is rowing an effective calorie-burning cardiovascular workout, it also improves posture by developing the upper back, increasing midline stability and engaging the glute/hamstring complex. With proper form and a good coach, rowing can also increase your mobility.
- Stress Relief: The rhythmic nature of rowing with the inclusion of controlled breathing can actually help reduce mental stress. Not only will the repetitive nature of rowing help take your mind off the worries of daily life, but it will also stimulate the production of endorphins (your body's mood booster and natural painkiller). It doesn't take a lot either, just 20-minutes of rowing at an easy pace can help clear the mind and control stress.
If you're not strapping into an erg right now you're wasting time. Whether you're looking to shed some pounds or a way to cross-train in the Texas heat, the erg deserves to be in your fitness program.