When The Proclaimers sing about walking 500 miles, that sounds like a pretty tough feat; my challenge of rowing a mile every day for two weeks, however, seems a little more achievable.
Why a mile every day? Well, why not? Rowing (on a machine) has been lauded for its many benefits to the body – not only is it a great way to work on your cardiovascular fitness, but it engages some muscles and you can also sit down while exercising! What’s not to love?
Rowing is a great full body exercise. Each hit activates the muscles in the lower body, as well as the muscles in the core, upper body, and back. Basically you drive with your feet, and use the muscles in your arms and back to pull the handles against your body. In addition, rowing, like most sports, is good for the mind thanks to the release of feel-good endorphins in the brain.
My gym has a few rowers but my usual goal is the Concept 2 rower. The unit on the Concept 2 is set to meters, but Google quickly changed one mile to 1600 meters, so for two weeks, I started rowing 1600 meters every day. Read on to find out what happened.
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I train my glutes, hard
At first glance, rowing looks like an upper body workout, but after about half a mile on the first day, I realized how wrong I was. I can feel my glutes going up, and when I focus on my form, I can feel that I’m working my lower body as I move away from the footplates.
I became faster
Prior to this challenge, I was fairly new to rowing, so paddling a mile every day was a little strange at first, as I wasn’t used to the movement. After a few of my daily miles I got into the swing of things and actually, by the end of my fortnight, I was much faster, hitting my mile at a leisurely 6 minutes 40 seconds.
Rowing is a great way to get fitter, plus if you want to lose weight, research (opens in a new tab)have found that when incorporated into a training plan, over a six-week period, participants’ total body fat percentage fell by a significant amount.
It’s low impact
Unlike my usual mix of resistance training, Crossfit-style training, and running, rowing is a fun, low-impact exercise that doesn’t damage joints. Primarily, this is because you are sitting in a rowing chair. In fact, I will definitely use the paddle on my future active recovery days. Research (opens in a new tab) rowing has been shown to be a great exercise for seniors thanks to its low-impact ability, and it can also prevent sarcopenia; loss of muscle mass and strength.
After two straight weeks of each day, I noticed I didn’t feel any pain and my body wasn’t crying out for a good stretch. Although, it might be very different if I rowed longer.
It helps improve my posture
When you row, your form matters. As a personal trainer, I’ve often seen people in the gym pull the handles of a rower up to their knees, rather than up to their ribs, or pull the handles onto their bodies before driving back on their feet.
Interested in learning how to row the right way? There are four parts to every stroke on a rowing machine — catch, move, finish, and recovery. The drive is really the main part of the job, where, from leaning forward from the hips, hands gripping the handles, you drive back with your feet before pulling the handles just under your ribs. Then, extend your arms before bending your knees and shifting the chair back to the starting position. When done correctly, rowing can help with posture, and it really forces me to engage my core and back.
I feel strong
The biggest surprise for me was how strong I felt every morning after my time on the rower. There’s something about a full body workout that makes me feel ready to do anything. Besides being important for physical strength, for me, exercise is as important as maintaining my mental health. One study (opens in a new tab)found that strength training can lead to a more positive body image, and I actually left the gym in high spirits after my session with the rowers.
I rowed a mile every day for two weeks — here’s what I learned
Two weeks later, I thought I had found my new favorite gym machine. Rowing every day for two weeks was a great accompaniment to my marathon training, as it really helped me sweat, without straining my poor, battered knees.
Am I going to keep rowing? The answer is definitely yes. All praised the rowing machine; This piece of kit should be part of everyone’s workout repertoire.