Rowing: A Favorable Tool to Promote Elderly Health Which Offers Both Aerobic and Resistance Exercise

  • Meiko Asaka
  • Mitsuru HiguchiEmail author


Aerobic exercise is recommended for the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases, while resistance exercise is recommended for the prevention of osteoporosis and sarcopenia. Both types of exercise are important in helping elderly people to maintain quality of life. Rowing is one of the oldest sports in the world and it offers a combination of both aerobic and resistance exercise. Because rowing is practiced on a seat, less impact is placed upon the knee joints, making it safe for elderly people even if they are categorized as overweight or obese. Elderly rowers have higher cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and a lower risk of coronary heart diseases compared with age-matched untrained people. The bone mineral density and muscle size in rowers are also greater than in untrained people. After 6-month exercise training in elderly men using a rowing ergometer, CRF and muscle size increased and the risk of lifestyle-related diseases also improved. An indoor rowing ergometer has been developed which offers a safe and easy tool for exercise in elderly people, even those who are wheelchair-bound. Therefore, rowing could offer a beneficial combination of aerobic and resistance exercises for achieving an active life in the elderly population.


Rowing Elderly people Physical fitness Lifestyle-related diseases Sarcopenia 



These studies were supported by a grant-in-aid for scientific research (no. 20192289, M. Higuchi) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; a research grant for health sciences from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare; a medical health care research grant from the Consolidated Research Institute for Advanced Science and Medical Care at Waseda University; a grant-in-aid for the Global COE (Sport Science for the Promotion of Active Life) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan; and a research grant from the Organization for University Research Initiatives at Waseda University entitled “Paradigm shifts in a super-aged society”.

Supplementary material

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Video 25.2

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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Advanced Active Aging ResearchWaseda UniversitySaitamaJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Sports SciencesWaseda UniversitySaitamaJapan

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