How Hydrow can make you happier, less stressed, and more active

Kelly Johnson

**How Hydrow can make you happier, less stressed, and more active**

Here at Hydrow we know that the small decisions you make, when made consistently over time, result in meaningful, life-altering change. We also know that creating new habits, especially when it comes to exercise, can be one of the hardest challenges most of us face- and that’s why we created Commit to Fit- a 4-week challenge that inspires Hydrow members to start and keep exercising consistently week over week, three days per week, for 10 minutes minimum. 

Because we also love to measure our results, like so many of our members do each week, Hydrow’s exercise research team put a call out to members in the Hydrow Training Camp Facebook group back in April 2021. We asked for volunteers to join a Hydrow exercise research study, to find out: can participating in Hydrow’s Commit to Fit challenge improve your well-being? 

Seventy Hydrow members enrolled in the study, and agreed to answer a daily survey for 35 days straight- including the week immediately before the Commit to Fit challenge, and then for every day of the 28-day challenge. 

What we measured during the study

Every day, members in the study answered 7 questions to help us measure how participating in Commit to Fit impacted the following characteristics of health:

Happiness is a subjective feeling of satisfaction, joy, contentment and fulfillment and is perhaps one of the most sought-after states of being. Happiness is challenging to study, and regular, longitudinal studies are the best to track happiness over time. In fact, it has been shown that regular exercise is correlated with increases in happiness!

Stress is ever-present in so many of our lives, and exercise has been shown to lower stress. But did you know that the social aspect of physical activity can be part of the reason why exercise helps lower stress? At Hydrow, you’re always working out with one of our Athletes, and you’re always surrounded by your community.

Energy level is both a physical and mental feeling that can influence so much of our day, and is often associated with the level of “vitality” or “youth” that we feel. Research has shown that regular exercise can increase energy levels in older adults.

Resting heart rate has been widely correlated with cardiovascular disease risk, and a lower resting heart rate is associated with lower disease risk, lower overall stress, better sleep, and higher physical fitness. 

Daily steps walked may not seem like they are directly related to working out on Hydrow, but we know that daily habits have a positive impact on health behaviors throughout the rest of your day. Research has shown that an increase of just 1000 steps per day can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease or premature death. 

Sleep- we all know that more sleep is better for you, and can have a positive influence on your mood, energy level, and a cascade of health benefits.

What did 4 weeks of Commit to Fit do for members?

At the beginning of the study, we asked all participants what their activity level was before the challenge started, and forty of the participants exercised once or less per week, with the rest exercising twice or more per week. As a result, we looked at our results both in terms of the groups as a whole, and as “inactive” at baseline, and “active” at baseline. 

During the course of the study we found that five of the characteristics we measured improved significantly in meaningful ways that can actually change your life for the better. We found that members had progressive increases in happiness, energy, and daily step count during the course of Commit to Fit, and progressive decreases in stress and resting heart rate- all of which are amazing things. Hydrow’s Director of Exercise Research & Engagement, Kristin Haraldsdottir, PhD, says “What we saw in these results goes to show how impactful small changes to your routine can be. With just 10 minutes of exercise a few days a week, we saw meaningful improvements to peoples’ activity level and overall quality of life.”

There are many aspects of Hydrow and the Commit to Fit challenge that may have moved the needle in such extraordinarily positive ways. “The bottom line is- committing to small, consistent habits can lead to changes in not only your health, but your happiness, stress and energy level,” says Dr. Haraldsdottir.

How can you experience these benefits?

Hydrow’s library of over 2000 workouts gives you the opportunity to experience these benefits working out at least 10 minutes a day, 3 days a week. While the Commit to Fit challenge and study was only a few weeks long, it showed almost immediate results, even with people who worked out regularly when the study started. By consistently working out 3 days a week, you can feel happier, less stressed and improve your heart health. If you need an extra incentive to get started,  Hydrow offers the Commit to Fit challenges multiple times throughout the year, so you can join the challenge and jumpstart your healthy habits. With rowing workouts that range from cardio to HIIT, strength and pilates workouts to build whole body strength and that you can do anywhere, and mobility and yoga to keep your mind and body centered and balanced, there is something for everyone. Find the combination that keeps you inspired, feeling good, and moving!