Rowing Your Way to Better Health

Patient Expert

_Rowing is a moderate yet enjoyable group exercise _

Not so long after I had my gastric bypass surgery, my husband and I went on a day trip to  Boat House Row in Philadelphia. The  boat houses were filled with the shells  that the rowers practiced and competed in. We watched practice runs that were taking place on the river, and I was impressed by the long, thin shells being pushed by the rhythm of the rowers. I knew immediately that it was something I would have to try.  Years later, after I moved to Indianapolis, just such an opportunity presented itself.

I was browsing the internet to find outdoor activities in the area when I spotted an invitation for classes to learn how to row as part of a team at the Indianapolis Rowing Center. I immediately registered online for the adult classes. Not only did I love every minute of it, but I continued to fill the purpose of My Bariatric Life. I decided after my gastric bypass surgery, and my plastic surgery, that as I lost weight I would become more active in all areas. No longer leading a life of missed opportunities, such as  river kayaking in Acadia National Park  when during a long ago family vacation at 285 pounds, I could not fit into the boat. Nowadays I try to push myself beyond my limits and engage in activities that are not only fun but promote better health, as well. Crew did both!

Read: ** My Bariatric Life Two-Years after Tummy Tuck and Living a Life I Love!**

**The Health Benefits of Joining a Rowing Crew  **

What I most enjoy about rowing is that it is a moderate and enjoyable form of exercise that works out all the major muscle groups. Quads, glutes, lats, triceps, biceps and abdominals are get a good, healthy session when you row.

The quads that make up the four main muscles at the front of the thigh, get an excellent workout because of the rhythmic and repetitive motion of your full body. Abdominal muscles will get an equally good workout because of the continuous back and forth motion of your entire body.

Rowing also demands that you breathe properly. Rowers can make use of their breathing techniques to create force and energy. Full lung theory maintains that the rower should exhale during the stroke drive and inhale during the stroke recovery. The empty lung theory is the opposite. The rower inhales during the drive and exhales during the recovery.

Read: I Meditate to Maintain Weight Loss

Perhaps the best benefit of rowing is the number of calories that are burned during the exercise. Calories are burned because of the amount of energy that is expended with each rowing motion. Fat around the midsection is also burned because rowing works out abdominal muscles. Beginning rowers will not burn as many calories as more experienced rowers, but devotion to the practice will change that.

Rowing on water vigorously burns 844 calories per hour if you weigh 155 pounds, according to a study by the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. The same person will burn 493 calories rowing moderately and 211 calories rowing lightly.

If you are not an on the water type of person, rowing machines found in gyms are an excellent way to get cardiovascular benefits and toned muscles. Be aware, however, that rowing on a stationary rowing machine burns fewer calories than rowing on water.

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