No one knows more about the health benefits of rowing than double Olympic champion Helen Glover – and now the star is encouraging other women to follow her lead.
The 32-year-old rower, who won gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016 alongside Heather Stanning in the women’s pair, is the ambassador for British Rowing’s new #SheRows campaign.
#SheRows aims to get 10,000 more women indoor rowing by 2021, highlighting the physical and mental health benefits for women returning to exercise after a break due to family or life commitments.
And having recently becoming a mum for the first time, Glover said the message of the campaign – advocating indoor rowing as a highly effective workout for busy women – is close to her heart.
“I think the #SheRows campaign is really important as now is a really exciting time in women’s sport and to promote the benefits of indoor rowing is only a good thing,” she said.
“Campaigns like this are really important to me because I think I’ve been so privileged to have the benefit of knowing about rowing machines, knowing about the benefits of exercise.
“If I can help new mums or women getting back into exercise if I can help in anyway by educating them or giving tips on how to do it, then I’m going to do that.
“For me, coming back into training after having a baby, the indoor rowing machine was something that was really obvious as it’s a really time effective form of exercise.
“I can do a short workout, I can do something under 20 minutes, and feel like I’ve had a really good training session, but also the practicalities of it as most gyms you go to have a rowing machine.
“Babies actually fall asleep to the sounds of the rowing machine, which was the best discovery, and I just think indoor rowing is something that is really great to incorporate into exercise.
“If you already enjoy doing circuits anyway, use it as one of your stations. If you’re thinking about doing a longer, more steady exercise, you can work it up gradually from five to 30 minutes.”
The three-time world champion made history in her formidable partnership with Stanning at Rio 2016, becoming the first British female rowers to successfully defend an Olympic title.
But Glover, who is married to TV star Steve Backshall, admits nothing she has encountered in her glittering career so far prepared her for the everyday challenges of motherhood.
“I guess I thought I was prepared for motherhood as I’d been in full-time sport for ten years-plus, but nothing can quite prepare you for those sleepless nights,” she added.
“A lot of it is about the motivation to stay active, it’s about finding the motivation, finding the time to balance being a mother with doing exercise.
“You have something that’s the most important thing in looking after a child, but for me if I get five minutes in a day to train I feel so much better for the rest of the day.
“If he goes down for a nap, I might just do something for five minutes and then sleep myself. It’s difficult, but I’m definitely on a steep learning curve and haven’t quite mastered it yet.”
As part of the #SheRows campaign, British Rowing has a wide range of free support materials on its website, including instruction technique videos, workout videos and online training plans.
Helen Rowbotham, director of innovation at British Rowing, said: “Indoor rowing is increasingly popular as more gyms and community rowing clubs are running indoor rowing classes and they are really popular with women.
“It’s a great way for women to get back into exercise and the #SheRows campaign is showcasing it as the ultimate full body workout, as well as highlighting the mental health benefits.
“We’re delighted to have Helen Glover involved in the campaign, having recently taken on the challenge of becoming a mum, she’s also gone through the process of getting back into exercise. It’s great to have her demonstrate how indoor rowing can be a part of that journey.”
To find out more about #SheRows and how to get into indoor rowing – including access to online workout videos and training plans – please visit: www.britishrowing.org/indoor-rowing/go-row-indoor