For seniors looking to stay active, one of the best forms of exercise is the rowing machine. Rowing not only builds strength in your arms and core, but also improves flexibility and cardiovascular health, making it perfect for seniors who want to stay active without injuring themselves or getting overly tired.
Rowing is a great form of exercise for seniors. It’s low impact, so it’s easy on the joints, and it’s a great way to get the heart rate up. But is Rowing Good Exercise for Seniors? Here’s what you need to know.
If you are thinking about purchasing your own rowing machine and want to know more about its benefits, check out this guide on the benefits of rowing for seniors!
I will also discuss the drawbacks and cautions to ensure that rowing is appropriate for you.
Improve your health
When most people think about getting fit, they immediately assume they’ll need to sign up for a gym membership. However, there are lots of ways to get your sweat on without ever setting foot in a gym, and one option is rowing.
Using a rowing machine can be incredibly effective if you want to get fit as quickly as possible, especially if you’re over 50 years old. In fact, just 30 minutes of rowing is enough to burn around 400 calories, which works out to about twice what you’d burn using an elliptical machine or treadmill.
Plus, it comes with all sorts of extra health benefits that help seniors stave off heart disease and osteoporosis later in life.
Stay strong and active
As you age, it’s important to stay as active as possible. According to a study from Kansas State University, inactive people have twice as much muscle and strength loss compared to those who stay active.
If you find yourself at home or stuck in a rut during your golden years, try rowing. It’s an effective exercise for seniors and can help improve overall strength and mobility with regular use.
Rowing is perfect for strengthening your bones, muscles, connective tissues and joints. Use it just once a day for 30 minutes to get the most of the benefits.
Keeps your heart healthy
Not only is rowing a great way to burn calories, it’s also an excellent way to keep your heart healthy. Compared to other aerobic exercises, rowing produces lower lactic acid levels and higher overall blood volume, which allows more oxygen to reach your muscles during exercise.
If you have poor circulation or suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), stroke, or heart disease, using a rowing machine can help increase stamina and improve overall circulation. It’s even been said that these cardio machines can help reduce depression.
Strengthens your core and back
While they’re easy to use, rowing machines are super effective at strengthening your core and back muscles. Core and back strength is important for many reasons: a stronger core means fewer backaches, which also means better posture.
Stronger back muscles allow you to be more agile and mobile, which is especially important as we age. So while they may not look particularly tough, rowers offer a great (and easy) way to get in shape!
Improves your posture
Rowing machines work your arms, legs, and back, as well as your core. Exercising all these muscles with a single machine not only strengthens them individually but also teaches you how to use and improve your posture so that you stand tall, shoulders back, and spine straight.
This is especially important for seniors who may be more likely to slouch. Sitting correctly can lead to better circulation and a decrease in pain associated with arthritis and lower-back issues.
Improves balance and coordination
Rowing machines strengthen and tone leg muscles, burn fat, build cardiovascular endurance and improve coordination. That’s a lot of bang for your buck, but rowing is only one form of exercise to add to a workout regimen.
Incorporating other activities that can build your strength, flexibility and balance is important to keep you feeling fit, flexible and independent as you age. So, use rowing machine and other exercises to get more mobile as you age.
Build muscle, tone or shed fat
Most people don’t think about it, but weight-bearing exercises such as swimming and rowing are not only great forms of cardiovascular exercise, they can help you build muscle and maintain strength.
A study in the Journal of Aging Research found that older adults who exercised with weights three times a week were significantly stronger two years later than a control group.
Getting strong will not only keep your bones strong and healthy, it’ll also help ward off chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. And don’t worry about looking bulky; lifting weights isn’t going to suddenly make you look like The Rock (or The Hulk, or whatever bodybuilder happens to be your favorite).
Drawbacks of rowing machine for seniors
Although rowing is widely used by seniors for toning muscles and burning calories, it can be strenuous if you don’t use proper technique. When using a rowing machine, your back, shoulders and legs do most of the work while your hands hold onto the handlebars.
This puts unnecessary strain on your hands, wrists and arms; even causing inflammation. To avoid these issues, try to decrease resistance when rowing slowly and switch to using gloves if you're experiencing problems.
Use caution when going downhill in case you lose control or have to stop suddenly! Speak to someone in your local gym or get a personal trainer to visit you at home to ensure you are doing it correctly.
The verdict: Is rowing good exercise for seniors?
Most people who pick up a rowing machine do so in an effort to lose weight. After all, it does burn calories, and burns them fast. But is rowing as effective for seniors as it is for younger people? According to several recent studies, including one by researchers at The NCBI, yes it is suitable for seniors. It doesn’t even matter if you’re a novice or a trained athlete. Rowing has been shown to offer great health benefits to everyone from beginners to Olympic hopefuls, and that includes seniors.
If you're looking to use a rowing machine at home, check out this highly rated one on Amazon which has 330 lbs capacity water resistance rower with workout app, LCD monitor, iPad holder.