Rowing for Exercise
The benefits of rowing
Rowing is aerobic exercise (also known as cardiovascular exercise or simply as cardio). It elevates your heart rate and conditions your heart, your arteries, and your lungs.
According to The Johns Hopkins Medical Guide to Health After 50, aerobic exercise helps ward off heart disease, diabetes and cancer and can improve mood, memory and the ability to learn. And they recommend aerobic exercise as "the single most important anti-aging measure anyone can follow, regardless of age, disability, or general level of fitness".
Full body rowing (as with a sliding seat rig or a FrontRower rig) is particularly good aerobic exercise, because it uses major muscle groups in both your upper and lower body. This allows you to elevate your heart rate without putting a lot of stress on any one set of muscles. Rowing is low impact, making it easier on your joints than high impact aerobic activities such as running. You can row indoors on a rowing machine, but if you're really lucky, you can row in a boat on a lake or river, and you can enjoy the benefits of being outdoors and breathing fresh air at the same time. You can row at almost any intensity level, from very gentle, to moderate, to vigorous.
The American Heart Association recommends aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week, and recommends intensity levels based on target heart rates according to your age and fitness level. See aerobic heart rate chart.
Elements of exercise
There are three major elements to complete exercise:
Strength training usually involves higher resistance and less repetitions than rowing and is typically done with weights (barbells and dumbbells) at a gym. This type of training adds muscle mass.
Stretching for flexibility should be done after you are fully warmed up and should include all the major muscle groups 3 times a week.