Rowing on the River: A Watershed of Benefits

Better Living
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When Nevin Cunningham began rowing for the Chicago Rowing Foundation as a way to stay in shape for football, he had no idea he had a found a life-long passion. Founded in 1988 from a U.S. Olympic Committee grant, the Chicago Rowing foundation has two main goals: to introduce area teens to the sport of rowing and to help increase their chances of being accepted in college.

When it comes to Nevin, the Chicago Rowing Foundation accomplished both. He plans to attend Dartmouth College this fall on a rowing scholarship and with this gain came a loss … though not the kind you might think.

“Joining the team at 240 pounds, I was at least 40 pounds heavier than the next guy on the team,” He says. “Within the first few months I shaved about 20 pounds off. I do feel a lot stronger pound-for-pound.”

Nevin’s experience is typical as rowing boasts a variety of benefits including weight loss and muscle toning. It works all major muscles groups, working both your back and your core (and who doesn’t need a little help with that, especially in these bare-it-all summer months).  In addition to these physical benefits, rowing provides an escape for busy city dwellers looking to spend some quality time in the great outdoors. The Chicago River allows rowers to enjoy the skyline and perks of city life from the solitary confines of the water that propels them forward.

“You get to be on the water feeling the progress you know that you’re making with the oar,” coach Mike Tanner says. “It really kind of center you, enables you to go back to your daily life and whatever those stresses are.”

Now if you’ll excuse us, we have some rowing to do.

For more information on the Chicago Rowing Foundation please visit their website,


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