Five reasons to take up rowing if you’re inspired by the Boat Race

Inspired by the 2019 Boat Race? Here are our five top reasons to give rowing a go


Every year, hundreds of thousands of spectators line the banks of the river Thames and tune in on TV to watch history unfold in the Boat Race. Steeped in tradition, it embraces the battle between the Cambridge and Oxford university men’s and women’s crews, vying for victory down the 6.8km course.

Have you ever watched it and thought that you could never do that? Think again – anyone can get involved in rowing. Even the athletes in the Boat Race were once beginners who’d never been in a boat before. Here are our five top reasons to give rowing a go.

1.  It’s time to make a change

Have you recently moved and don’t know anyone? Are you looking to try a new sport and make some new friends in the process? Speak to any current rowers or even ex-rowers, the story is the same; they have made life-long friends through rowing. Many ex-rowers still volunteer because of the sense of community that rowing clubs create, that people want to be a part of. Rowing is very social and there is always something to participate in from club fundraising to parties and pub crawls.

2.  Get ready to drop those pounds

You’ll be pleased to hear that rowing is a low impact activity (reducing the chance of joint injury) and uses 85% of the body’s muscles dynamically. This is great news because it means that you burn a lot of calories and you’ll quickly see a change in your physique too!

3.  Reduce your stress levels

We all know that exercise generally improves mood. Rowing, however, has an added benefit; it is linked with the positive impact that natural water environments can have on promoting and improving health. Imagine a stressful day at work, and then going for a paddle with your mates on a calm stretch of water on a summer’s evening. Perfection!

4.  It’s for you, it’s for me, it’s for everyone

You might want to row for fun, you might want to compete. Perhaps you’d rather row indoors than on the water. Whatever your choice, rowing is diverse and accessible. From learning to row on the water, or taking to the indoor rowing machine in the gym, there really is something for everyone. There is touring and recreational rowing, a varied programme of competition for those who want to race and different ways of doing it such as indoor, surf, fixed seat and sliding seat rowing.

5.  Be part of something amazing

The success of rowing is going from strength to strength with Great Britain topping the medal table at the last Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio. We have welcoming clubs across the country and an army of enthusiastic volunteers. If it’s simply watching the Boat Race or an Olympic or Paralympic final at your local club, or having a go on the indoor rowing machine next time you hit the gym, there’s really no reason not to get involved!

So what are you waiting for? Find out how you can take your first steps into rowing here or get a feel for what it is like to be a volunteer here.