Shin splints got you down? Can’t quite drag yourself out into the cold for an early morning jog? Not a fan of running in the rain?
If this applies to you, but you still need to get your cardio exercise, then perhaps it’s time to think about alternate forms of exercise other than running. While running may technically be the most convenient (“all you need is a street and a pair of good shoes!”) as the above questions can attest, sometimes running just isn’t the best option. Personally, this caveman didn’t even go outside to check the mail during the Ice Age, much less go for a quick morning jog. It’s no secret that cardio exercise is one of the best ways to burn off those extra calories and keep yourself heart-healthy. So let’s take a look at another great and effective cardio exercise that won’t force you outdoors and into the cold in the early morning hours – Rowing.
As trainers from the United States Sports Academy can attest, rowing is an excellent exercise if you’re looking to achieve maximum physical fitness. Don’t have a convenient lake or river nearby? No worries – rowing machines are practically better than the real thing. These machines can help to build and tone muscles, strengthen cardiovascular function, and increase overall stamina. Rowing is also a great way to lose weight. If you’re rowing fairly vigorously, you can burn up to 125 calories in 15 minutes. This works out to about 500 calories per hour. Dieters who row for only an hour a day typically lose as much as a pound per week just thanks their time on the rowing machine!
Indoor rowing is also a wonderful endurance exercise. If you can’t keep up with your running regime thanks to joint aches and pains, rowing is perfect for you. The low impact nature of a rowing machine doesn’t place any stress on the back or joints. Keeping the rowing machine tension on low levels will let rowers maintain a high speed with little resistance and reach a perfect aerobic state (aerobic exercises are particularly important in promoting lung, heart, and circulatory health).
Does going to the gym make you feel a bit lopsided, like if you spent too long on your arms and not enough on your legs or torso? This isn’t a problem with rowing because it uses all of the muscles of the body and trains them all evenly. With each and every stroke, rowers work the legs, hips, and glutes. They also use upper body muscles that strengthen the back, shoulders, and arms. Your core abdominals are also engaged while rowing. If you need to put a little more strain on your muscles, adjust the resistance to build them up even faster.
Even if you don’t have that much room in your house or apartment, rowing machines these days come in compact sizes. Some models even fold up and can be easily stored under beds or in closets. By having equipment at home, you can save a ton of money by avoiding exorbitant gym membership fees and the gas prices of actually going to the gym and back. A nice, quiet rowing machine can even be placed in front of the TV so that you can watch a movie while you watch the pounds melt off your body!
Hope this helps you think about your cardio regiment and, for those Rockheads who haven’t tried rowing before, hopefully you’ll be inspired to try something new!