Whether you set out to try something new, or aspire to be the next Olympic great, rowing has a lot to offer teenagers and adults alike. Here are five qualities and outcomes everyone can gain from stepping into the boat…
There are few other forms of exercise that can provide a full, all-body workout quite like rowing can. The rowing movement engages all major muscle groups, helping to build balanced, functional strength. Add to that continuity over distance, and variable intensity; and you have a complete cardio workout that can be either aerobic or anaerobic. Even better, rowing both on the water or on the rowing machine is free of impact and easy on the body. As a fitness option, learning to row is a skill that will serve you well in both health and exercise enjoyment, through to retirement and beyond.
As a strength and endurance sport, rowing requires a certain level of commitment in order to make it through a race. On top of that, unless you are a professional, you will likely be fitting your training in around work or school, meaning there will be early mornings and late evenings involved. This will require a degree of organization and discipline to carry on when you start to feel tired, or life gets busy. Stick at it long enough and you will instill a habit of discipline, organization and work ethic, that will not only serve you well on the water, but also at school or in the workplace.
Such is the nature of team sports; the team is only as strong as its weakest link. Rowing is no different, and with each teammate’s contribution measured equally, it is apparent when an individual is falling behind. This generates a need for accountability, whereby individual rowers must be responsible for their own performance, as well as their contribution to the team. Accountable rowers will be aware of their output on the water, helping them to identify where they are making progress and where they can improve. Accountability for ones actions is an attribute encouraged in rowing, and a formative lesson in life.
Rowing can be a confronting experience. The sport itself is very physically demanding, requiring hours of training every week to nail both the technical and endurance aspects. Athletes attempting rowing will need to quickly adapt to tolerating pain, whether it be the rush of lactate in a race, or the blisters wearing away at their hands. More importantly, in rowing you must also learn to value and tolerate your teammates and opponents. In any environment, there is the potential for conflict, but a crew will not get very far on the water if they cannot learn to resolve issues that inevitably arise from time to time. Learning to be tolerant of others views and approaches is an invaluable lesson that can be learnt through rowing, and applied to many different interactions.
While some teammates will teach you tolerance, others will turn out to be lifelong friends. Little else builds a bond quiet like working in unison at the physical limit to achieve a common goal. Whether you are successful or not will be a combined result, and the victory or commiseration can be equally unifying. Racing aside, rowers are a social bunch, there is plenty of opportunity to get to know the opposition off the water, and join a welcoming community that stretches all over the world.
These are just five of the many benefits to be gained from taking part in rowing. Get in touch with your local club or school to give it a try and discover more for yourself!