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The Rise of Rowing

Posted 4/10/2017 by UHBlog

You don’t need to be part of a crew or have a rowing background to enjoy the benefits of rowing. Talk to us about precautions to take that can help you avoid injuries.

The Rise of Rowing

If you want to be in shipshape condition, it may be time to add rowing to your regular workout routine.

And don’t worry about finding a gentle stream where you can row, row, row your boat. While a rowing machine is a staple at most gyms, there are also multiple opportunities to row outside. That’s especially true in Northeast Ohio, where there are clubs, parks and businesses dedicated to helping you enjoy the sport of rowing and the water.

In fact, the number of people participating in rowing, especially in Cleveland, has increased. It’s growing in popularity among high school-aged kids, as well as adults, says sports medicine specialist James Voos, MD. As part of University Hospitals Sports Medicine, Dr. Voos provides medical support to the Cleveland Foundry, a rowing, sailing and fitness training center geared toward youth and young adults in Cleveland.

“I think athletes are always looking for a fun way to challenge themselves and change up their workouts,” he says. “Rowing does that by providing a total body workout that uses the legs, upper body and core. It also offers strategy, technique and cerebral elements that a lot of athletes like. If you’re rowing on land, you’re adding resistance and moving in such a way to simulate the motion of the oars through the water. If you’re in the water, you have to factor in the current, working with a team, knowledge of wind speeds and other processes necessary to move a boat forward.”

According to Aaron Marcovy, Cleveland Foundry executive director, Cleveland was a sailing and rowing mecca before the pre-industrialization era. More recently, the public’s desire to use Cleveland’s natural assets has come back with a vengeance.

“Five years ago, there wasn’t even half the number of rowers,” says Marcovy, who estimates the number of regular participants locally at between 1,300 to 1,400 people, ranging from high schoolers to college-aged athletes and adults. “Now programs such as ours are ensuring youth in our area are exposed to the physical and mental benefits of rowing.”

Rowing is a sport that does require some finesse to avoid injuries, Marcovy says. At the Foundry, young athletes are trained so they learn the basics of rowing and injury prevention. They go through a fitness routine that includes core strength, stability exercises and lower body exercises.

“Rowing requires a good mix of the wrestler and the runner,” he says. “Like a wrestler, you need explosive power to propel forward. The runner comes in because you need the stamina of an endurance athlete to keep going.”

There are multiple health benefits of rowing, Dr. Voos says. Among these are:

  • It’s a year-round sport.
  • It can be done individually or as part of a team.
  • It is a lifelong sport because it’s low impact.
  • It offers both aerobic and anaerobic benefits.

“It’s important to learn the proper technique with rowing,” Dr. Voos says. “Doing so will help you avoid injuring your back, knees or shoulders.”

The Cleveland Foundry, located at 1831 Columbus Road in Cleveland, does offer indoor programs for the public. Information about those programs can be found on the organization’s Facebook page or on the Meetup app.

James Voos, MD is an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine director at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, and head team physician for the Cleveland Browns. You can request an appointment with Dr. Voos or any other doctor online.

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