Best Exercise Equipment For Seniors: Why rowing is a safe, effective full-body workout

Nick Karwoski

Looking for a workout that is fun, engaging, safe on joints, and appropriate for all levels of fitness? Do you want to try something new in your exercise routine that is fun and sustainable into your fifties, sixties, seventies and beyond? When it comes to the best exercise equipment for seniors, a rowing machine should be near the top of your list. In this article, we’ll unpack why.

Best Exercise Equipment For Seniors: Why an active lifestyle matters

One of the reasons why rowing is prescribed to both seniors and populations with an at-risk conditions (such as high blood pressure) is that you’re in a seated and safe position throughout the activity. A study published in the Journal of Physical Fitness And Sports Medicine found that “Rowing exercise has both aerobic and resistance exercise health benefits in elderly people", making rowing machines one of the best exercise equipment for seniors

Why consider rowing in particular as opposed to other exercises?

  • Helps to improve posture by increasing core strength and shoulder strength.

  • Works the majority of muscles in your body, which improves whole-body strength and reduces the risk of falling.

  • Workout guidance from trained athletes and professionals takes the guesswork out of creating workout routines that are both safe and effective

  • Rowing regularly will increase your VO2 max, which is directly correlated to the risk of disease in elderly populations.

This is all in addition to the benefits of exercise in general. With regular exercise, the risk for chronic illness and disease is reduced, your immune system improves, and your digestive system improves.

Regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle have a wealth of positive benefits. And the good news is that you don’t need to spend hours a day on it to start seeing results – if you’re choosing the right kind of exercise, that is.

Rowing works a majority of the muscles in your body with each and every stroke, making it a more effective minute-by-minute workout than most other exercise options. If you’re looking for a low-impact activity that doesn’t take up too much space and is appropriate for all levels, you’ve found your solution, and Hydrow is here to help!

Okay, but what does “low impact” really mean, anyway?

Low impact exercise refers to any form of exercise that is a fluid motion and has little pressure on the joints. In addition to rowing, other exercises like yoga and resistance band training would also be considered low impact. A good way to think of low impact exercise is any activity where at least one foot is pressing into the ground or a footrest at all times.

A low impact workout alone can absolutely be enough to give you a complete cardio workout experience. It’s also easier to get into a routine because you won’t be having to rest your joints so much. There are many benefits for seniors who keep a consistent exercise routine:

  • Exercise becomes increasingly important as you age because your body’s metabolism gradually slows down with each passing year

  • Exercise helps your bones become stronger. Bones are actually made up of tissue, and in response to pressure or gentle stress tissue rebuilds itself to be more dense and durable over time

  • Exercise can help seniors with depression. Research has found that exercise helps the body’s muscles release more mood-boosting chemicals such as serotonin

  • Exercise helps you sleep! Quality sleep can become more challenging as we age, but exercise will create a gentle rise and fall in your core body temperature, encouraging rest and helping you feel refreshed the next day.

A fun and engaging workout is a successful workout

There’s something else to think about when you choose to invest in exercise equipment, and that is to have an option that can be fun, engaging, and social for months and years to come. A treadmill or set of dumbbells can end up sitting in the garage collecting dust. To prevent this, you’ll want to choose equipment that presents an opportunity to be dynamic and continuously changing.

At Hydrow, our community has multiple Facebook groups, our user dashboard has a feed to show you recent members’ activity, and we host training camps throughout the year to help you challenge yourself alongside your fellow rowers. All levels are welcome! Here’s a little more information about what we do.

Types of workouts that Hydrow offers

More than ever before, our over-scheduled and stressful lives leave little time for meaningful exercise and the soul-enriching opportunity to connect with the outdoors. Hydrow’s Live Outdoor Reality (LOR)™ rowing experience brings balance and peace to the members of our Hydrow community, offering an excellent, low-impact workout. 

Hydrow’s library of workouts has nearly 2,000 classes for you to choose from, and each week there is a schedule of live workout classes as well to help you get excited and join in in the live experience. Rain or shine, our athletes show up! 

When you know other people are pushing themselves and moving their bodies at the same time that you are, you’re more likely to get motivated and commit to your workouts. Here are a few of the different categories of workouts you’ll find at Hydrow:

  • Breathe workouts are the foundational cardio and endurance workouts at Hydrow. You may have encountered these types of workouts before: Think steady jogs, swims, or cardio on an elliptical machine. Breathe workouts keep you engaged and help to promote stress relief and ensure you get a nice sweat without pushing yourself to your limits.

  • Sweat workouts are moderate in intensity and aim for a 2-to-1 ratio of work to rest. The work is work! Intervals are two to five minutes in length and are designed to challenge you, but are not an all-out effort. We suggest completing Hydrow’s assessment workout early on to correctly define your pace windows for your unique fitness level; these windows will help you get the most out of the intervals in sweat workouts.

  • Drive workouts are dynamic, challenging, and usually pretty high energy. That’s because they challenge you to push yourself to the limit in 1-to-1 ratios of high-intensity intervals and rest. Drive workouts are Hydrow’s most intense offering, but are designed and suitable for all levels of fitness. Over time, you’ll see your stamina go up and your average split go down as a result of doing drive workouts regularly.

  • Destination rows are Athlete-led rows that have been filmed around the world. Go on an adventure from the comfort of your own home! Destination rows are a fantastic way to add variety and spice to your workout routine; just hop on and start rowing!

  • Journeys are unguided rows through different destinations. If you like to row at your own pace and zone out, you’ll love checking out these different classes. Transport yourself around the world at the touch of a button.

  • On The Mat workouts are available from your Hydrow dashboard, but actually, take place off your Hydrow rower. Choose from an extensive library of core workouts, yoga classes, pilates classes, and mobility classes to augment and complement your workout experience. On The Mat classes are a great way to ensure you stay long and strong!

As you age, it’s important to find a physical activity that not only keeps you healthy and strong but also is fun and motivating along the way. Hydrow provides the best exercise equipment for seniors, combining the physical benefits of indoor rowing with the importance of engaging instruction and a supportive community. Join us today!

Nick Karwoski

When Nick was on the U.S. National Triathlon Team, rowing was a part of his training routine since it combined all of the muscle groups needed in running, swimming, and biking. The perfect workout buddy, Nick brings a welcomed level of energy that will get you moving no matter your mood. Look out for his seemingly-endless collection of funky socks you’ll find him wearing out on the water.