Benefits of rowing: ability to normalize blood pressure
The benefits of practicing rowing are explained by the fact that it is a high expenditure, prevalently aerobic sport. Rowing can easily help you reach and maintain your ideal weight and improve physiological parameters influenced by exercise: normalize blood pressure, improve sleep quality, strengthening of the immune system, psychological and behavioral advances and a significant improvement of posture and articular flexibility. It is the perfect sport for young people who wish to lose a few pounds: it is practiced in a seated position and is ideal for tall, robust individuals. The benefits to young athletes are significant: weight loss is accompanied by activation of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, which are perfectly coordinated at the maximum intensity of the effort.
Why is it recommended and suitable for anyone?
It is one of the healthiest forms of physical activity, and is suitable for all ages. Rowing is a complete sport because it involves the entire organism from both a cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal point of view, causing improvements to the entire respiratory system as well as to normalize blood pressure. It is one of the few disciplines that require involvement of all muscle groups, allowing for harmonic and proportionate muscle growth. For these reasons, this sport is recommended for children as young as 8-10 years of age, as this is the ideal age to learn the technique and begin acquiring an adequate physical condition.
Which food is recommended for preparation to competitive rowing?
Rowing is among the disciplines with the highest energy expenditure: an individual weighing 90kg would burn between 270 and 720 Kcal per hour. Given the frequent double training sessions, a rower consumes on average 5000/6000 Kcal a day. With such an elevated energy requirement, it is important to maintain the correct balance between nutrients to avoid the risk of overloading the organism. It is therefore necessary to set up a diet based on the following rules:
- Prevalence of complex carbohydrates
- Appropriate balance between animal and plant protein
- Use of extra virgin olive oil as a condiment
It may seem strange, but an excellent dish for after a tough rowing workout is the “minestrone”: full of vegetables that are naturally rich in the minerals you lose during exercise, enriched with potatoes or legumes, with a bit of olive oil and grated parmesan as condiment and accompanied by a slice of bread (preferably whole grain), it is the perfect mix of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and macronutrients. A special tip for rowers in the “lightweight” category: hydration is even more important than nutrition! Avoiding liquids prior to a competition in order to make the weight class is not just detrimental to your performance, but could be seriously damaging to your health. A well-planned, year round diet is therefore necessary in order to stay on weight and in shape for competition, thus avoiding abrupt and dangerous weight changes that would damage your health.
Rowing is an aerobic activity, and as we have already mentioned in our article about aerobic exercises, this kind of training allows you to lower and normalize blood pressure and, especially in the elderly, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and death.
Do not forget that you are always recommended to see a doctor before you begin practicing a particular physical activity, especially if you have high blood pressure, in order to verify the correct functioning of your cardiovascular system.
- Rowing increases stroke volume and cardiac output to a greater extent than cycling. Physiol Res. 2015 May 20;64(2):203-7 http://www.biomed.cas.cz/physiolres/pdf/64/64_203.pdf
- Combined exercise circuit session acutely attenuates stress-induced blood pressure reactivity in healthy adults. (Braz J Phys Ther. 2014 Jan-Feb;18(1):38-46) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4183231/
- Arterial compliance of rowers: implications for combined aerobic and strength training on arterial elasticity. (Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006 Apr;290(4):H1596-600) http://ajpheart.physiology.org/content/290/4/H1596.long
- Cerebrovascular responses during rowing: Do circadian rhythms explain morning and afternoon performance differences? (Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014 Jun 19) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/sms.12273/full