Why Row? Janice reflects on rowing

Rowing is poetry in motion. Done well, rowing is a graceful, efficient, full body activity, and it can take you places.

Looking back over the past 40 or so years, I reflect on what inspired me to row in the first place and what continues to draw me to the sport.

My introduction to the sport was a chance encounter with a national rowing team member, a dream of going to the Olympics, and a decision made in high school – to try a new activity that I had never even seen in action. This path saw me trade swimsuit and goggles for skinny rowing shells, and welcome into my life early morning darkness and solitude on the far side of a lake near Victoria, Canada.

Much has transpired over the years – travel, multiple world championship regattas, the Olympics, meeting a princess and rowing to Alaska. Rowing is a much more visible sport than it was in the late 1970s. Most boats aren’t made of wood anymore, and … I have moved on to more stable rowboats. The world is starting to embrace coastal rowing and beach sprints, for there are alternatives to rowing in straight lines and confined to a lane for 2000 metres.

Sliding seat rowing was and still is an excellent full body activity, offering amazing fitness, team building and opportunity. Head out on a calm quiet morning and it is truly meditative and energizing. Challenge yourself with wind and waves for exhilaration, developing new skills and broadening your rowing opportunities. Pack a picnic, your camping gear and head out for days of exploration.

As the sport evolves and interest changes there has been a return to the ocean and more challenging water and weather conditions. I say return as didn’t the early explorers of our country use rowboats and other human powered watercraft for their adventures? Boats are more stable while still offering the feel of rowing in a sleek racing shell. No longer do novices need to fear the skinny, unstable rowing shell while learning a new activity. Stepping into a single is stable and easy. As interests change even elite rowers will enjoy the stability of the recreational and coastal boats offered by Liteboat.

Some great reasons to take up rowing:

Fitness through rowing
One of the main benefits of rowing is improved fitness. Rowing is a total body workout, using all of the body’s major muscle groups (arms, legs, back and abdomen) making rowing a superb aerobic and resistance training conditioner.

Reduce stress
Rowing is a great way to relieve the stresses of the day by providing a full-body workout (exercise-induced endorphins)! There can be a meditative and calming effect as one moves across the water, while fresh air fills your lungs.

Rowing is low impact on the joints. If you are recovering from an injury, rowing provides an excellent cardiovascular and muscle toning workout, including strengthening of back muscles, with minimal impact on weight bearing joints.

Social side of rowing
Rowing is the perfect activity – you can enjoy a solo activity, relaxing and training by yourself. You can also join in with others – a great way to forge lifelong friendships. As a team sport rowing provides a great environment for participants to learn to move in harmony and rhythm with their team mates.

Versatility whatever the weather
Rowing is a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors, with coastal/recreational boats providing the opportunity to row in a wide range of weather and water conditions. However, if the weather gets really nasty, you can always perfect your rowing technique in the gym or at home using a rowing ergometer.

A sport for life!
Rowing is a low-impact activity, one that can be learned and enjoyed at any age, for life. Explore your local waters and enjoy new places – go for a picnic or even an overnight camping trip.