Fitness and exercise are essential components of a healthy lifestyle and everyone should be active every single day. Working out offers a wide range of benefits for both physical and mental health. As much as the good sides of it all are well known, not enough people are doing it. In this article, we aim to bring closer one type of cardio exercise to anyone who is interested.
The Importance of Fitness
There are plenty of ways in which fitness and exercise can benefit you. First and foremost, regular exercise can improve your overall physical health in quite a lot of ways. It can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, strengthen your bones and muscles, and improve flexibility and balance.
The body is not the only area of your being that benefits from regular physical activity. Far from it. Exercise is also an excellent way to boost your mental health since it can help reduce symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety, improve overall mood, and enhance cognitive functions. Working out and developing a routine of physical activity are great for feeling energized and productive throughout the day.
Exercising improves both endurance and stamina and makes it easier to perform daily tasks and activities. While doing it all, you also get a chance to connect with others and build social connections. Joining a fitness class or group or just starting a gym membership can be a great way to meet new people and engage in a shared interest. Overall, fitness and exercise are essential components of a healthy lifestyle that can offer numerous benefits for physical and mental health and other areas of life.
The Importance of Cardio
While any physical activity is great, not all of them are made the same. Cardio, short for cardiovascular exercise, is an essential component of every fitness program and plan. It encompasses any activity that increases the heart rate and respiration, the most common of which include walking, running, cycling, swimming, and dancing. The reasons why cardio is important are many:
Cardiovascular health: The biggest benefit of cardiovascular exercises is the health of the cardiovascular system. These are arguably the most important organs in the body and include your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Regular cardio helps lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and improve overall cardiovascular health.
Calory burn and weight loss: As a great way to burn calories and lose weight, cardio workouts are essential in getting leaner and sculpting the body. They can help create a calorie deficit which is necessary for weight loss and can boost your metabolism making it easier to maintain the weight loss over time.
Endurance and stamina: Regular cardio sessions can help improve your endurance and stamina. All athletes need this regardless of their sport, and so do you. It is simply easier to perform daily activities and engage in other physical activities without feeling winded or fatigued if you have a cardio routine.
Mental health: Last but not least, cardio is also known for its positive impact on mental health. It helps a lot with stress, depression, anxiety, and mood swings while enhancing cognitive function.
As you can see, cardio is an essential component of a well-rounded fitness program and offers numerous benefits for both physical and mental health. But which cardio exercise is the best and why? Well, you may be surprised that it is arguably rowing, which is done on a special machine.
The Rowing Machine
A rowing machine, also known as an indoor rower, is a piece of fitness equipment that simulates the motion of rowing boats on the water. It has a seat, footrests, and a handle attached to a chain or strap that is connected to a flywheel or fan. While the user sits on the seat, they have their feet secured onto the footrests. The main motion includes pulling the handle towards their body while pushing back with the legs, mimicking the motion of rowing a boat.
Rowing machines are very popular in gyms and fitness centers and can be purchased for home use. They give the user a low-impact, full-body workout that targets multiple muscle groups at once including the legs, back, arms, and core. They are also a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness and burn calories. The movement is more than enough for the heart rate to go up and for the user to get winded.
There are several types of rowing machines available including air, water magnetic, and hydraulic resistance models. Each type of rowing machine has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the user’s preferences and fitness goals. What is universal for all is the correct body position you have to assume in order to prevent injuries.
Should I Use It Every Day?
The frequency of using a rowing machine, and any type of gym equipment or doing any exercise for that matter, depends on your fitness level, goals, and other factors like age and overall health. However, as a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to do cardio exercises including rowing for at least 150 minutes per week, spread across multiple sessions.
For beginners and those entirely new to exercise of this sort, it is best to start with shorter sessions of 10-15 minutes and gradually increase the duration and intensity over time. As your fitness level improves, you can increase the frequency and duration of your rowing workouts. Doing sets of between 8 and 12 moves with different weights is another way to go about it.
When using a rowing machine, it is important to maintain proper form to avoid injury and get the most benefit from the exercise. Injuries are the worst outcome, but working the wrong parts of the body comes with its own issues too. Here is how to do it:
Sit on the seat and secure your feet on the footrests. Grip the handle with both hands and extend your arms fully. Lean forward while keeping the back straight. Relax the shoulders. Push off with your legs and lean back slightly pulling the handle towards your chest.
Reverse the motion by returning to the starting position with your arms extended and your legs bent. That is it. Repeat the motion and maintain a smooth and controlled pace. Do not lean too far or hunch over. Breathe steadily and deeply. Listen to your body and adjust the intensity and duration accordingly.
Lazar Sretenović, an IFBB and REPs Level 3 certified trainer, specializes in personalized fitness programs encompassing weight lifting, EMS, and endurance training. With a focus on tailored nutrition and holistic well-being, Lazar Sretenović guides clients through transformative health journeys, emphasizing safety and individual goals.