Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Health

Want a full-body workout? Try a rowing machine

Shoulders down, back straight, abs tight, Fola Awosika instructed during a Foundations class at RowVigor in Arlington, Va., the Washington area's first popup rowing studio. Then: "You want your legs to do the bulk of the work."

Wait, what? "Your legs are the strongest part," he explained, despite the commonly held belief that rowing is all about the upper body. In fact, rowing engages 86 percent of muscles, an English Institute of Sport study found.

Rowing is not a new sport, but interest in indoor machines is growing. One reason is increased visibility: Rowing machines are part of the popular functional (read: core-focused) fitness programs at CrossFit and Orangetheory Fitness. Another is that rowing on the water has limitations: weather and convenience, for instance.

Rowing can also be intimidating, added Toni Kerns, vice president of membership for Capital Rowing Club. "People think it's all upper body and that you have to be this super strong person to do it, but really, rowing is really low-impact on the body so you can be 90 pounds and a fast rower," Kerns said.

Awosika is one of three partners who opened RowVigor in August with nine rowing machines and a desire to ride the wave of growing interest in rowing. The number of people who used a rowing machine at least once in a year increased to 10.1 million in 2016, up from 9.8 million in 2015 and 9.5 million in 2010, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association's 2016 Tracking the Fitness Movement Report.

Makers of the machines are seeing increased demand from gyms. WaterRower, a 28-year-old manufacturer, has tripled production in the past five years, said David Jones, the company's North American sales and marketing director, and now makes upward of 1,000 a week.

"Historically, I don't know why people haven't used them. It's a great exercise," Todd Miller, director of George Washington University's Weight Management and Human Performance Lab, said of rowing machines. "The vast majority of aerobic exercise that people do — treadmills, cycling, steppers — all that stuff is primarily lower-body exercises. It doesn't really engage the upper-body musculature, so rowing does that. I think that's the best thing about it."

Plus, it's low-impact, Miller added. That also makes it more appealing — and accessible — to people of all fitness levels.

Another reason to try rowing? The return on your time investment. A 170-pound person doing moderate work on a rowing machine can burn about 270 calories in 30 minutes, the same amount as on a stationary bike, only rowing works more muscles.

Another draw: a healthier heart. A cardiologist studying how astronauts' hearts atrophy in space found that 30 minutes of rowing (or 90 minutes of cycling) kept them healthier.

Despite all these benefits, rowing machines on the gym floor haven't seen much use in recent years, Miller said. One reason could be marketing. "If you go into the club and you have 10 treadmills and you have one rower, odds are treadmills are going to become more popular," he said.

Another reason is that proper rowing form is not as innate as, say, walking on a treadmill.

"It's not just getting on and going back and forth on the machine. It's how hard you push and how you do the technique," said Michael Heisey, who leads rowing classes at Gold's Gym in Woodbridge, Va. Plus, "it's pretty boring by itself, but when you're in a group and you've got music and you've got somebody like me pushing you, it makes people work harder."

Comments
U.S. approves first drug developed to prevent chronic migraines

U.S. approves first drug developed to prevent chronic migraines

TRENTON, N.J. — U.S. regulators Thursday approved the first drug designed to prevent chronic migraines. The Food and Drug Administration’s action clears the monthly shot Aimovig (AIM’-oh-vig) for sale. It’s the first in a new class of long-acting dru...
Published: 05/18/18
Know your blood pressure numbers? Today (May 17) is World Hypertension Day

Know your blood pressure numbers? Today (May 17) is World Hypertension Day

Today (May 17) is World Hypertension Day, and the American Medical Association is encouraging people to monitor their blood pressure levels and get high blood pressure, or hypertension, under control. High blood pressure, sometimes referred to as the...
Published: 05/17/18
Study: Depression in men may lower chances for pregnancy

Study: Depression in men may lower chances for pregnancy

Women having trouble getting pregnant sometimes try yoga, meditation or mindfulness, and some research suggests that psychological stress may affect infertility. But what about men: Does their mental state affect a couple’s ability to conceive?The la...
Published: 05/17/18
Tampa General Hospital named among top 100 in U.S., second best in Florida

Tampa General Hospital named among top 100 in U.S., second best in Florida

TAMPA—Tampa General Hospital was named one of the top 100 hospitals in America for the fifth consecutive year, and second best in Florida, according to one health industry website.Tampa General is considered the best hospital in the Tampa area, accor...
Published: 05/16/18
Joe Redner asks Florida Supreme Court: Let me grow marijuana now

Joe Redner asks Florida Supreme Court: Let me grow marijuana now

Even though a circuit judge has ruled that Tampa strip club owner Joe Redner can grow and juice his own marijuana, he was barred from doing so until the appeals process is finished.So Redner’s lawyers filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court o...
Published: 05/15/18
Heated chemo is the key as Tampa General doctor tackles ovarian cancer

Heated chemo is the key as Tampa General doctor tackles ovarian cancer

Over the span of three weeks, Brenda Gotlen watched as her abdomen got bigger. Her lower stomach felt bloated."It got to the point that I looked nine months pregnant," said Gotlen, a 62-year-old Seffner resident. She made an appointment to see her pr...
Published: 05/15/18
Some health premiums will go up next year. Which party should we blame this time?

Some health premiums will go up next year. Which party should we blame this time?

As some insurers angle for hefty premium hikes and concerns grow that more Americans will wind up uninsured, the federal health law is likely — once again — to play big in both parties’ strategies for the contentious 2018 election.Candidates are alre...
Published: 05/15/18
Blood donations from the ‘Man with the Golden Arm’ saved millions of babies

Blood donations from the ‘Man with the Golden Arm’ saved millions of babies

When he was 14, James Harrison needed surgery. And as he would come to find out, he would also need a significant amount ofstrangers’ blood to survive it.After he had recovered and as soon as he became an adult, Harrison felt compelled to pay it forw...
Published: 05/14/18
UN health agency aims to wipe out trans fats worldwide

UN health agency aims to wipe out trans fats worldwide

NEW YORK — The World Health Organization has released a plan to help countries wipe out trans fats from the global food supply in the next five years. The United Nations agency has in the past pushed to exterminate infectious diseases, but now it’s a...
Published: 05/14/18
Troubling link found between pollution exposure in pregnancy, high blood pressure in children

Troubling link found between pollution exposure in pregnancy, high blood pressure in children

High blood pressure typically occurs in adulthood, so when children develop the condition, it often means something is very wrong. A child might have kidney disease, hyperthyroidism or a heart problem. Obesity can also be a factor.But what about seem...
Published: 05/14/18