Helen Blamey |

The benefits of rowing on the water in winter

Dr Helen Blamey explores the science behind exercising outside during the winter months, summarising the evidence

Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician considered the grandfather of modern medicine, believed the changing seasons had an impact on health as far back in time as 370 BC. The benefits of staying active outdoors during the winter months have long been known, but how does rowing outdoors throughout the season compare?

The benefits of outdoor exercise in any setting during winter, regardless of form, can promote improved energy and motivation, sleep quality, and reduce stress. Particularly relevant in the current COVID-19 climate is that exercising has a profound impact on improving the function of the immune system, reducing the risk of many respiratory and other types of infections.

A body of evidence shows that physical activity and exposure to nature are connected to improved general and mental health. Most notably, compared to other forms of exercise, rowing gets you outdoors, into blue and green spaces. A recent study across 18 different countries showed that the frequency of recreational visits to blue and green spaces were positively associated with emotional wellbeing and negatively associated with mental distress.

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