Discover the whole-body benefits of rowing, from toned arms to improved heart health, and why autumn is a great time to get started.

‘If you’re looking for a workout that gets you in shape, strengthens your core, tones your legs and arms and improves your flexibility all at the same time, rowing is it,’ says Phil Hornsey, director of membership and rowing community at British Rowing ( More than 825,000 people regularly row each month according to a Sport England survey, be that on water or indoors on a machine.

‘Women’s rowing is up more than 50 per cent since the 2012 London Games and continues to go from strength to strength. Rowing is also very inclusive and sociable, with one of the best gender balances,’ says Phil.

‘It’s really easy to give on-water rowing a go, with around 300 community clubs across the UK,’ says Phil. ‘A lot of these clubs now use wider, more stable boats for beginners, which British Rowing and Sport England funded through the Explore Rowing initiative. There are also structured Learn to Row courses, which cost around £120 and generally last six weeks, with a two-hour session per week. This may differ from club to club.

Rowing can be enjoyed all year round; so don’t be put off by the chillier weather. There’s nothing nicer than a brisk row down a frosty river to make you feel alive, and if anything, you’ll reach the perfect temperature and won’t overheat from midsummer sun and the cool air will balance out your body heat.

You’ll use 85% of your muscles when rowing – pick up the November issue of Top Santè for many more great reasons to take to the water this autumn and winter…