Unlike some other exercises, rowing has both aerobic and anaerobic benefits. This means that when you sit down at a machine and row or actually get into a boat to perform rowing motions, you will not only be working out from a cardio perspective. You will also be using different muscles in your body and strengthening them up over time. By doing this, you can build up your ability to do repetitive motions with your muscles while also building up the muscles themselves over time by doing movements that create resistance and help you get stronger. This is one of the reasons rowing provides you with such a good workout.
Before you understand the aerobic benefits of rowing, you need to understand exactly what aerobic benefits are. You work your body out aerobically when you do any type of exercise that requires your body to use oxygen to help your muscles function. These exercises are also typically done with movements performed over and over again. Over time, your body is able to perform more of these movements as you get into better shape.
Rowing is helpful aerobically because your body is forced to make repetitive rowing motions. When you do it, you are using your arms to row, moving your legs up and down to keep your momentum and, in general, you are active for a long period of time. This increases your heart rate and forces you to breathe more often. The oxygen that you take in is then rushed to your muscles to keep them functioning. If you participate in rowing regularly, you will benefit aerobically by being able to stay active for longer periods of time. You can also burn fat and lose weight by rowing.
On the other hand, there are also some anaerobic benefits to rowing. While the aerobic benefits deal with how much oxygen your muscles get, the anaerobic benefits deal with how much resistance they are forced to deal with. In rowing, there is constant resistance going on. If you are actually rowing in a boat, the water provides resistance. If you are using a machine, it is designed to simulate the resistance you face in water. Either way, this resistance forces you to work your muscles harder. As a result, oxygen is actually robbed from your muscles and they are pushed harder than during aerobic conditions. This is what helps them to get stronger over time.
There are very few exercises that rely solely on aerobic or anaerobic conditions alone. In fact, the harder you work out, the more you are pushing yourself to achieve anaerobic benefits. But you also can't push yourself to the limit all the time, so you'll also see some aerobic benefits, too. However, rowing is a great way to get both kinds of benefits without even thinking about it. Rowing also provides a workout for a variety of different muscles and joints in your body. If you want to see improvements in both your cardio fitness levels and your overall strength, it can give you the desired results.