Most athletic endeavors fall to one side of the fitness fence or the other; they are either more anaerobic/power based or they are more aerobic/endurance based. Although never exclusively one or the other as all energy systems are integrated, let’s just say that a defensive tackle’s explosive power is not going win him any marathons.
Rowing is one of the sublime exceptions. Rowing is a power endurance sport, combining both strength and aerobic capacity with equal, punishing demand.
I bring this up as a metaphor. I see people, every day, battling uncontrollable circumstances, overcoming seeming limitations, “winning” at ageing, and empowering themselves through exercise. Rowing is a metaphor for life.
My proposition to you – you with Arthritis, you with Diabetes, you with Parkinson’s, you with Cancer, you with Congestive Heart Failure, you who are depressed and lethargic, each and every one of you reading this – you are an athlete and life is a power endurance sport. Climbing a flight of stairs might be your Everest ascent and keeping up with your grandkids might be your world cup, but know this – your functional independence and quality of life are depending on you to be powerful and to endure. It is never too late to begin.
Andy Baxter is a Medical Exercise Specialist, world champion Master’s Rower, founder of Baxter Fitness For 50 and Beyond and the designer of SciFit’s new lateral trainer, the Side Step, which adheres to his philosophy of staying closed chain, compound, and bidirectional, while enhancing lateral strength and stability.