How Rowing Helps Me With Mental Health (Not Just Physical Health)

how rowing improved my mental health

A benefit of regular exercise that is often overlooked is improved mental health.

For many people, the stresses of life can often seem unbearable and lead to anxiety and depression.

Whether it’ work-related, family or social, the pressures that we put on ourselves mentally can be a heavy burden to carry. Over time, stress can lead to physical problems that are often ignored until they become serious and require professional intervention.

In this article, I will be exploring the positive impact that routine rowing has had on my mental health.

The Rhythm Of Rowing

Although any form of exercise can help keep you mentally balanced, there are certain advantages to workouts that involve rhythmic motion.

This includes exercises like rowing, bicycling or running.

Rowing is a physical activity that has been shown to have numerous mental benefits. It can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve concentration and focus, and boost mood and self-esteem.

The rhythmic nature of rowing can also help promote relaxation and mindfulness.

Additionally, the sense of accomplishment and achievement that comes from setting and achieving goals can give you a sense of pride, which can boost your confidence and help reduce stress.


Repetitive motion, such as that used in rowing, can be helpful for meditation. That is because it allows the mind to focus on a single task.

This can help quiet the mind and reduce the constant stream of thoughts and distractions that can make it difficult to meditate.

By focusing on the repetitive motion, the mind can become calmer and more centered, which can reduce stress and anxiety.

Rowing and meditation can be combined in several ways. As mentioned, one way to do this is to use the repetitive motion of rowing as a focus for meditation. This can be done by focusing on the sensation of the oars (or pulley system on your rowing machine) moving through the water (the “catch”), the rhythm of the strokes, or the breath.

Another method is meditation before or after a rowing session. This can help to clear the mind and prepare for the physical activity, or to wind down and relax after a workout.


Rowing can be a solitary activity, which can be helpful for people who need some time to themselves to unwind and clear their minds.

Being alone during a workout allows you to disconnect from the constant demands of the outside world and gives your mind a chance to rest.

It also provides an opportunity to reflect and gives you the space and time to think about your feelings and behaviors, which can help you identify patterns that may be contributing to your stress.


Rowing and breathing are closely connected as well, as proper breathing technique is essential for optimal performance in rowing.

During a rowing stroke, the breath should be taken in during the recovery phase (when the oars are being moved out of the water) and exhaled during the drive phase (when the oars are in the water and propelling the boat forward).

This can help to increase the efficiency of the stroke and improve endurance.

Physical Exercise Elevates Your Mood

Physical exercise can be a helpful way to relieve stress because it has several physical and mental health benefits.

Here are a few ways that it can help relieve stress:

  • It releases endorphins: Physical exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals that act as natural mood elevators. These endorphins can help improve your mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
  • It improves sleep: Physical exercise can improve sleep quality, which can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
  • It can reduce muscle tension: Physical exercise can help reduce muscle tension, which can contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety.

The Best Time To Row For Mental Health

I’ve found that rowing in the afternoon after a long day of meetings works best for me.

This is not only healthier than reaching for a bourbon to relax and wash the day’s worries away, but it is also more rewarding. It provides a much-needed sense of accomplishment, ending the day on a positive note.

With that said, exercise can be beneficial for mental health at any time of day. The best time to exercise for mental health purposes is often the time that is most convenient for you.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding when to get your workout in:

  • Morning: Some people find that exercising in the morning helps them feel more energized and focused throughout the day. Exercise in the morning may also help improve sleep quality.
  • Lunchtime: Exercise during the lunch hour can be a great way to break up the workday and reduce stress.
  • Evening: Exercise in the evening can help people wind down and relax after a long day. It may also help improve sleep quality.

It’s important to find a time that you can consistently stick to, as consistency is key for maximizing the mental health benefits of exercise.

If you’re having trouble finding a time that works for you, it may be helpful to experiment with different times of day to see what works best for you.

How Hydrow Promotes Mindfulness

A huge benefit of Hydrow Rower is that it takes all the guess work out of it for you.

By combining the guidance of a seasoned athlete with a curated music playlist throughout your row, you get the value of external motivation, frequent reminders to check your technique and focus, and a music playlist to distract you from whatever is clouding your thoughts.

My Hydrow Rower Machine

You can raise or lower the volume of the athlete’s voice and music to suit your mood and promote mindfulness.

Check out my full Hydrow Rower Review here!


Rowing can be a helpful way to manage stress and anxiety because it involves both physical and mental components.

The physical aspect of rowing can help reduce stress by releasing endorphins, which are chemicals that act as natural mood elevators.

The mental aspect of rowing, such as focusing on your technique and the rhythm of the stroke, can help distract you from your worries and allow you to clear your mind.

Be sure to read our beginner’s guide to rowing here to learn more!