Journal of Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome



Korean J Obes 2013; 22(3): 123-128

Published online September 30, 2013

Copyright © Korean Society for the Study of Obesity.

Effects of Rowing Exercise on Prevention of Metabolic Syndrome and Sarcopenia for Senior People

Mitsuru Higuchi(1)(2)*,Meiko Asaka(2)

Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University(1), Institute of Advanced Active Aging Research, Waseda University(2)

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Aerobic and resistance exercises are recommended for senior people to help prevent metabolic syndrome and sarcopenia, respectively. Rowing involves almost all of the muscles in the body and has elements of both aerobic and resistance exercise.
Rowing exercise using boats on water or indoor ergometers at sports gyms has been widely performed by senior people worldwide. Because rowing is practiced on a seat, less impact is placed upon the knee joints, making it safe for senior people who are categorized as over-weight or obese. It has been reported that rowing-trained senior people have higher cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), greater muscle mass in the leg and trunk than age-matched sedentary individuals. In the
authors’ recent study, untrained elderly men participated in a 6 month rowing exercise training using a rowing ergometer, and the results indicated that the training increased the participants’ CRF and muscle size. Our studies have suggested the possibility that rowing exercise by using either boats on water or indoor ergometers has health benefit on the prevention of both metabolic syndrome and sarcopenia to achieve “Active Life” and “Active Aging” for senior people.

Keywords: Rowing, Senior people, Metabolic syndrome, Sarcopenia

Fig. 1. Relationship between 2000-m rowing performance and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) in older oarsmen (A). Maximal oxygen uptake related to age (B).
Fig. 2. Atherosclerosis indices (the ratio of low density lipoprotein,LDL-C, to high density lipoprotein-cholesterol, HDL-C, and that of total cholesterol, TC, to HDL-C).
Fig. 3. Magnetic resonance images obtained at the mid-thigh (A) and trunk (B) of elderly sedentary men (left) and male rowers (right). RA, rectus abdominis; OA, oblique abdominal; PM, psoas major; ES, erector spinae; QL, quadratus lumborum.
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