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One of the few sports that utilizes all major muscle groups, has a low-impact stress policy that keeps muscles and joints safe from serious injuries, and that is known to be a true calorie-burner and stress reliever is slide seat rowing. Rowing benefits include weight loss, shaping and toning of the bodyf and reduction of stress levels.

Utilization of all major muscle groups means that arms, legs and back muscles are engaged through the course of the rowing stroke. Proper execution of the stroke is crucial for avoidance of injuries and adequate utilization of muscles and muscle groups.

How it's done

The rowing stroke consists of four parts, which should be seamlessly connected - the catch, the drive, the finish and the recovery.

Start of each stroke is known as "the catch" and it begins upon placement of oars in the water. Muscle groups used in this part of the stroke are located in legs, hips and shoulders. Next phase, known as "drive" involves a backward push motion that utilizes leg, back and arm muscles.

Third phase begins when backwards motion is complete and legs are fully extended and is known as "the pull". In this phase, arms are used to pull the oar in and shoulders are swung backward, thus bringing the body into the final position of the stroke.

Final phase, known as "the recovery", is used to bring the body back into the starting position.

Fitness studies indicate that real-life rowing is more beneficial than simulation of rowing, such as on gym rowing machines. Explanations for this include notion to exercise harder when outdoors as there is no 'simulation' feeling, the need to monitor and interact with the surroundings in order to adapt to variations of water surface and to avoid obstacles. Thus outdoor rowing contains a certain mental and emotional level in comparison to simulated rowing on a machine, which is mostly physical activity.

Impact on stress

Everyday stress affects the organism in many ways, one of which is increase in cortisol levels. In the long run, elevated cortisol levels have negative impact on mental and physical health and can be related to various problems such as insomnia, headaches, heart diseases and skin disorders, as well as hampering of organism's immune system.

Mental stress is known to reduce blood flow to the heart, which, combined with other factors such as high levels of cholesterol, can lead to increased risk of development of coronary heart disease.As an all-around physical and mental activity that includes an emotional aspect, rowing is highly effective in reducing stress levels and increase in overall health.

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