Rowing is a great exercise that is often overlooked as an alternative to regular monotonous cardiovascular exercise such as walking or jogging on a treadmill at one speed. It is not common as a treadmill or an elliptical trainer in a gym, but the rowing machine works on the whole body not just the legs. Not many cardio exercises can work on your whole body like rowing. Why is it more effective and efficient than treadmill or elliptical trainers? Because you get a total body workout on your legs, core, arms, etc. and you can vary the resistance, these are a few reasons on why the rowing machine is a viable and effective alternative to a treadmill and elliptical trainer. Here are some specific reasons about why rowing is a great exercise.
Rowing is a non-impact cardiovascular workout. Although you are using your knees, waist, and elbow, you are not impacting those joints. If you have pain in your joints, this is great that you get to do a cardiovascular exercise without impacting those joints. If you run on treadmill, then you have to be particularly careful and cautious when your knees and ankles start to hurt. You may consider switching (at least momentarily) to a rowing machine. Although the elliptical trainer is low impact, the rowing machine works out more body parts.
Rowing works on your whole body. If an exercise works on more of your body that you can affect on a single workout then, generally speaking, that exercise is much more beneficial and efficient than those exercises that can not do that. Rowing works on the legs, arms, back, and core. When your arms are close to your body, you can contract your core to get a great workout to firm your core. It can take a lot of energy to row efficiently and quickly. Look at the rowing (or crew) team in the Olympics or in college. The good rowing teams have members who are lean, muscular, and defined. Their rowing workout is conducive to a trim and fit body.
Rowing can be done in an interval way. You can vary the resistance by rowing faster or rowing slower. When you sprint on a rowing machine for a short duration (about a minute), it takes a lot of energy. Then, you can row normally for a minute. Then, sprint again for another minute. That is interval training for your entire body. You will burn fat faster and become physically fit and trim.
Rowing is a great alternative for your cardiovascular workout. It can burn fat quickly and efficiently especially when you do interval-like training on it. With rowing, you are connecting and engaging in your workout- not reading a book or watching television (or, at least, it is best not to watch TV but concentrate.).