By Katie Rosenbrock
Wouldn't it be nice if you could get fit and stay healthy without having to put in any effort?
I think we can all agree; it would be so nice. That's why health and wellness brands love marketing their products as cure-alls and quick fixes. "Our thing is finally the answer you've been looking for. It will solve all your problems in just 10 days!"
What they don't want you to know though, is that there's no such thing as a quick fix or a cure-all. To get fit, to stay healthy, you have to put in the work. You have to exercise. You have to eat right. There's no way around it.
However, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as we sometimes make it out to be. In fact, it can actually be fun and enjoyable. Seriously! Plus, if you're deliberate about your plan, there are things you can do -- like choosing certain exercises that are new and exciting -- that will maximize your results without making you feel like you’re a slave to the gym.
For example, an exercise like rowing might be just the thing you need to spice up your routine or spark a new exercise habit. It is by no means a quick fix or a cure all to your exercise issues, but there is a long list of reasons why it just may be one of the best forms of exercise you can devote your precious time to.
A workout on the rower combines both cardio and strength training so that your entire body, both inside and out, is put to the test in one short (but also sweaty) period of time.
Like I said, you're going to have to put in at least some work, but including rowing workouts in your exercise routine can help you cut down on the amount of time you spend exercising while still allowing you to reap all the amazing health benefits.
Maybe I sound a little bit like those health and wellness brand marketers I was talking about before; the only difference is that all these claims about rowing are true. Not convinced yet? Think it will be boring?
Hold your skepticism off for just a few more minutes and hear me out. Before you completely dismiss the idea, check out the following ten reasons -- developed with the help of CityRow’s program director, Annie Mulgrew -- why rowing just may be the best cardio workout ever.
Rowing Just May Be Best Cardio Workout
Total body workout
"The row machine is unlike any other piece of fitness equipment," says Mulgrew. "It requires you to use 83 percent of your muscles and you get both a cardio and strength training workout in one."
Add variety to your workout routine
"Rowing is more challenging than most other exercises," says Mulgrew. "It's something that people aren't used to. Most people don’t grow up rowing, as opposed to sports like running and biking. You’re required to do more and it requires more attention and more focus."
Reap more exercise benefits in less time
Mulgew says that rowing is one of the most efficient and most effective ways to work out. That's because the faster that you row, the higher your heart rate will rise. "Compared to other group exercise classes, you’ll get a great workout, reap more benefits and burn a lot more calories in less time," says Mulgrew.
Counteract 'sitting desk' syndrome
"If you sit at a desk all day, exercises like running or biking are sort of the same actions," says Mulgrew. "Running involves hip and knee flexion and biking recreates that rounded spine. Each stroke on the row machine extends the legs and opens the chest. It counteracts those day-to-day actions.”
Strengthen common areas of weakness
Mulgrew mentioned that because rowing activates nearly 83 percent of your body, it's a workout that can help strengthen common areas of weakness like the glutes, hamstrings, core and shoulders.
Improve your performance in other sports
And because rowing will strengthen nearly all of the muscles in your body, as well as improve your cardiovascular fitness, it will help to enhance your performance when participating in other sports like running or cycling. "When you go back to other sports you’ll be stronger and better," says Mulgrew.
Many times we avoid going to the gym or working out simply because we're bored with our routine. Really, who wants to spend 45 minutes on the elliptical every day? The key to maintaining a consistent exercise routine is to make it fun and exciting. Mulgrew mentioned that rowing is a great way to add variety to your workouts because it's probably not like most of the exercises you already perform on a regular basis. "It’s different you’re working the body in way that's not routine," she said.
Strengthen your core
A strong core is important for so many different reasons, and rowing will engage your ab muscles better than almost any other type of exercise. "Your core is engaged right from the start," says CityRow instructor Shaun Jenkins. “The moment you align your spine your core has to activate. So sitting from the starting position, extending your legs, pulling all the way back to the 45-degree angle ... Your core is activated the entire time."
For the complete list of the Why Rowing Just May Be The Best Cardio Workout Ever, go to TheActiveTimes.com.
More From The Active Times:
-- 4 Reasons You Need to Add Rowing to Workout Routine
-- How to Use a Rowing Machine
-- 5 Reasons to Try a New Exercise