Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better: A Guide to Moderate Exercise” is a comprehensive book written by D.P. Ordway, which explores the benefits of rowing as a form of moderate exercise. This guidebook is a valuable resource for anyone who is interested in starting a moderate exercise regimen, improving their physical fitness, or simply learning more about the benefits of rowing. According to Amazon, I purchased this item on September 20, 2022.

The book is divided into three sections, with the first section providing an overview of the benefits of moderate exercise and the principles of rowing. The second section is dedicated to the actual practice of rowing, including tips for proper technique and training routines. The final section provides additional resources for readers, including information on nutrition and injury prevention.

In the first section of the book, Ordway makes a strong case for the benefits of moderate exercise, citing numerous scientific studies and medical journals. He emphasizes the importance of incorporating physical activity into one’s daily routine and provides a detailed explanation of how exercise can improve overall health and wellness. Additionally, he discusses the unique benefits of rowing, which is a low-impact exercise that can provide a full-body workout.

Ordway also provides a detailed explanation of the principles of rowing, including the mechanics of the stroke and the importance of proper technique. He breaks down the various components of a rowing stroke, including the catch, drive, finish, and recovery, and provides tips for improving each component. Additionally, he emphasizes the importance of posture and breathing, which are critical elements of rowing technique.

In the second section of the book, Ordway delves into the actual practice of rowing. He provides detailed instructions for setting up a rowing machine, including tips for proper foot positioning and resistance level. He also provides a variety of training routines, including endurance workouts, interval training, and strength training.

Throughout this section, Ordway provides helpful tips for improving technique and preventing injury. He emphasizes the importance of starting slowly and gradually increasing intensity, and he provides guidance for identifying and correcting common errors in technique. He also discusses the importance of cross-training, and he provides additional exercises that can be incorporated into a rowing routine to improve overall fitness.

The final section of the book provides additional resources for readers, including information on nutrition and injury prevention. Ordway discusses the importance of a balanced diet and provides tips for making healthy food choices. He also provides guidance for injury prevention, including stretches and exercises to improve flexibility and mobility.

Overall, “Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better” is an excellent resource for anyone who is interested in incorporating moderate exercise into their daily routine. Ordway provides a wealth of information on the benefits of rowing, and he provides detailed instructions for getting started with this low-impact form of exercise. Additionally, the book provides valuable resources for nutrition and injury prevention, making it a comprehensive guide to overall health and wellness.

One of the key strengths of this book is its emphasis on the importance of moderation. Ordway emphasizes that it’s not necessary to engage in intense exercise in order to see improvements in physical fitness. Instead, he advocates for a more sustainable approach, incorporating moderate exercise into one’s daily routine. This makes the book accessible to a wide range of readers, regardless of their current fitness level or experience with exercise.

Another strength of the book is its emphasis on proper technique. Ordway provides detailed instructions for each component of a rowing stroke, and he provides tips for identifying and correcting common errors in technique. This attention to detail is critical for anyone who is new to rowing, as proper technique is essential for preventing injury and getting the most out of each workout.

Additionally, the book is well-organized and easy to navigate. The sections are clearly labeled, and the information is presented in a logical and easy-to-follow manner. This makes it easy for readers to quickly find the information they need and to follow along with the training routines and exercises.

One of the unique benefits of rowing is that it provides a full-body workout that is low-impact and easy on the joints. Unlike other forms of exercise, such as running or weightlifting, rowing doesn’t put as much stress on the knees, hips, and other joints. This makes it an ideal form of exercise for individuals who are recovering from an injury or who have chronic joint pain.

Additionally, rowing is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that can help to improve heart health and circulation. According to Ordway, rowing can burn up to 600 calories per hour, making it an effective way to lose weight and improve overall fitness. This is particularly important for individuals who are at risk for heart disease or other chronic health conditions.

In addition to its physical benefits, rowing can also be a meditative and relaxing activity. The repetitive motion of the rowing stroke, combined with the rhythmic sound of the machine, can create a sense of calm and focus. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who are looking for a way to reduce stress and improve mental well-being.

One of the potential downsides of rowing, however, is that it can be difficult to maintain proper technique without proper instruction or guidance. This is where “Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better” can be particularly helpful. By providing detailed instructions and training routines, Ordway helps to ensure that readers are able to get the most out of each workout and avoid injury.

Overall, “Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better” is an excellent resource for anyone who is interested in incorporating moderate exercise into their daily routine. Whether you are a beginner who is new to exercise or an experienced athlete looking for a new challenge, this book provides valuable information and guidance for getting started with rowing. By emphasizing the importance of proper technique, moderation, and injury prevention, Ordway helps to ensure that readers are able to achieve their fitness goals safely and effectively.

My Goodreads Review

According to D.P. Ordway, our not doing anything physical is as much of a shock to our physiological and neurological systems as is running, cycling, and doing CrossFit; however, it’s the wrong sort of shock. D.P. believe that we all should have a baseline of activity every single day and that should be at least 45 minutes every single day on a Concept2 Indoor Rower.  I thought that was my idea but it’s not!

You all know how obsessed I am with slow jogging, right? I even fell in love with the book, Slow Jogging: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Have Fun with Science-Based, Natural Running, by Hiroaki Tanaka and Magdalena Jackowska.

Mr. Ordway has written two entire books on what I was calling Slow Rowing, Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better, which I am reading, and A Row a Day for a Year: Set a Goal—Track Your Progress which I just bought and placed into my Kindle queue.

Before I start I’ll address the elephant in the room: RDBDLB is a book for the elderly and I’m only 47. Slow Jogging is also for the elderly. Don’t let any of that get stuck in your craw because no matter your age, your weight, your health, your fitness, or your youth, the bottom line is that we all should slow row or slow jog for 45-minutes to an hour every single day for the rest of our lives even if we do other sports at other intensities a couple few times a week or really turn into a real racing warrior on the weekends. 

After reading Slow Jogging, I thought I would invent slow erging, slow indoor rowing, slow rowing. Nope, D.P. Ordway beat me to it with his elegant and generous book, Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better—it is the slow rowing book par excellence. I recommend it to everyone.  In summary, the entire book says:

“Row moderately for 45-minutes to an hour every day of your life, without fail.”

Now you don’t need to read the book, but I highly recommend that you do. You can also check out D.P. Orday on his site, ROWDAILY.COM. There’s an elegant and humiliating scoring system that’s very similar to those signs on construction sites that report the number of days since an accident?

Well, D.P. suggests we log the number of accrued days that we have rowed in a row. If you miss one, it resets back to zero: shame! And, in the next column? How many days you’ve missed. But that doesn’t ever reset. It’s a persistent, permanent, reminder of our flaws as humans in a human world.

This is how I set up the headers of my log. I will share as I go.

I grew up Irish Catholic so I am all over the shame method. 

The system doesn’t really care too much about stroke speed, meters, splits, or time, it really just cares about starting and never stopping.  So, I am off to do my time on the rower for today before I head out to have dinner with a friend.

Best Quotes from the Book

“All the benefits of rowing above other things.”

“Anything more than sedentary.”

“As we get older, it is increasingly important to exercise daily to fend off the accelerating decay which otherwise results from inactivity. As someone once said, the challenge as we age is to slow down less than the other guy.”

“Being moderately out of breath can be a more effective stimulus if you sustain it for a longer period of time. That middle range of moderate activity (your comfort zone) can represent a broad bandwidth of possible work. Focus to begin with on finding your comfort zone. Do not worry about determining what works in one day. And do not feel you need to push yourself, to drain yourself, or to breathe so hard that you feel concerned about catching your breath. Keep it moderate and, over a period of days or weeks, increase the total time you row.”

“Blood flow in bones.”

“Bones are living things.”

“But the exercise I am suggesting you do daily is well within the boundaries of comfort. The intent is to gain a maximum benefit over time by stimulating your body daily at a level that is just above your norm and does not cause strain. You might call this exercising within your comfort zone.”

“Daily cardiovascular exercise of the whole body that maintains a need to breathe harder than normal through a workout of forty-five minutes or more is the best way to use the first principle (innate automatic adaptation in response to daily stimulus) to achieve the benefit of the second principle (our bodies naturally function better at a higher level). Rowing is a whole body exercise, using the major muscles of the legs, as well as the core and back, the shoulders, and the arms together in a continuous motion. By using all major muscle groups simultaneously, rowing demands more of the heart …more”

“Deciding not to exercise is also a choice of body adaptation.”

“Every day that you engage in exercise that safely and effectively causes you to breathe more deeply (but still comfortably) for thirty to forty-five minutes or more, your body will reward you with better lung power. Better lung power is the foundation of better fitness and that translates into yet more effective exercise. It is a cycle you will learn to use to your benefit.”

“Exercise that uses less of the body’s muscle mass (such as bicycling or running) is not as effective as rowing because it draws blood primarily to portions of the body instead of causing it to be pumped more vigorously throughout the body. With less muscle mass in play and less lung efficiency demanded, exercises using smaller portions of the body limit the beneficial effect under the first principle. When you row, you use almost all of your muscles because you engage both legs, both arms, and the trunk of your body in one continuous motion. Since your range of motion is almost from one end of …more”

“Fend off decay”

“Fighting sickness with moderate exercise.”

“Fitness is a state of the body as a whole, including how all of the body parts function, not just how some of them look. Do not become trapped into believing you are becoming fit overall based only on the number of push-ups you can do. That and similar indicators are too narrow to be your guide.”

“Getting more breathe”

“Getting your air”

“Good for the joints”

“Health over competition.”

“Here is the basic plan in four parts: 1. Row every day; 2. When you miss a day, simply get back to it the next day and row every day again; 3. Over time, make it a point to miss fewer days. To begin, find a rowing machine and row at your own pace for up to ten minutes. Do not try to set any records or test yourself. After a few minutes, take a break, get up and move around, and be sure you are not overly winded. After the break, row again for a few minutes at a pace that is entirely comfortable for you. Over a period of a month or more, at a pace that is comfortable for you, work up to a …more”

“I suggest you row daily based on how our bodies function. In my experience, the body responds well to being given reasonable stimulation each day. Daily rowing transforms the way your body works by using its natural abilities to adapt and to function more efficiently.”

“If you are training for health rather than competition and do not overdo it, you can row every day and benefit from it.”

“If you’re not striving to become more fit, you are quickly becoming less fit.”

“Incorporating occasional interval work into your routine will improve your strength and help you raise your level of fitness. You will find over time that by including some interval work you will increase your ability to maintain a strong pace on the longer, steady-state pieces, too.”

“Interval work is key to improving general fitness.”

“Intervals are called pieces in rowing.”

“Keep in mind that every day you skip, every day you do not engage in some exercise that causes you to breathe more deeply, you are instructing your lungs to become less efficient. The body does not coast; it declines without positive stimulus.”

“Make your motto “Spirare est Vivere” (“To Breathe is to Live”). Pay attention to your breath. Enjoy deeper breathing and watch it improve your life.”

“One actually trains towards decline.”

“One reason was to overcome the many misconceptions about rowing and healthy exercise. Many people mistakenly think rowing is not for everyone because it has to be strenuous and is inaccessible. The common idea of limiting exercise to three days per week also must be reconsidered. These two misconceptions bracket what this book is about.”

“Plan to exercise every day. You will do better for that attempt and can only gain more if you succeed.”

“Record when you do not exercise as well as when you do. In other words, note when you miss and why.”

“Record when you don’t row and why as well”

“Row daily”

“Rowing can help maintain bone density because the additional stimulus of lungs and heart enhances the delivery of nutrients to the entire body, including the skeletal structure. This is important for all ages; but it is an especially good example why exercise is increasingly important as we age. Bones can weaken and become more susceptible to damage from otherwise normal activities (like a minor fall) as we age. Bones can also lose density to such a degree that posture and health are threatened. Regular exercise is widely regarded as an important part of preventing this physical weakening as …more”

“Rowing is a non-impact activity you can do entirely at your own pace. As a result, you can repeat it every day.”

“Rowing is best.”

“Rowing moderately is how to do it.”

“Send your body a signal, gently but firmly, by rowing today. And then make the decision to do it again tomorrow.”

“Spirare est vivere.”

“The beauty of indoor rowing as an exercise, apart from the easy access, is that it is a non-impact exercise that can be done at any age and at any level of effort. It can be done moderately, as I advocate here, and does not have to be painful or intense. As a result, it can be used in a way that is responsive to your needs and condition, whatever they may be.”

“The body is designed to function at a higher rate of physical activity than the usual, modern sedentary lifestyle. The lungs need to breathe deeply a significant amount every day. The heart is built to pump more blood on a sustained basis. The other systems of the body, such as the digestive system and energy conversion systems, function more effectively when we experience physical activity each day.”

“The body responds daily to the activity it experiences whether we exercise it or not. For example, my body responds not only to the weight-lifting I do on Monday but also to my sitting at my desk, in airports, in the car, and in front of the computer and television on Tuesday through Thursday.”

“The core idea of daily adaptation seems so obvious to me that it should not have to be stated. It goes against the grain for a competitive rower and rowing coach to advocate “moderate” rather than competitive rowing. Exercising every day seems extreme rather than moderate to many people. And rowing on a machine is not perceived as fun.”

“The first corollary is that a day of inactivity such as sitting at an office desk, driving to and from work, and sitting at home is in fact a “daily demand” and will have a daily adaptive effect. The result will simply be that fitness deteriorates instead of improving as it can with activity. It would be a challenge to quantify the effect of a day off from exercising, but the basic point is plain: You should not expect to feel fit if you do not give your body the exercise to make it fit.”

“The four steps of a lifetime of moderate rowing.”

“The importance of the principles to aging is that the body adapts to how we live. Choose to live actively and your body will respond with a greater ability to remain more active. However, choosing to give your body daily stimulus that says “slow down and do less” will result over time in reduced ability to perform and even reduced functioning. The natural path of the body without exercise is to decline.”

“The plan I set forth here is simple: Start rowing today on an indoor rowing machine. Do it easily, without pushing. And then continue to do it moderately every day, to the extent you can.”

“The rowing motion involves sitting down and generating resistance based on how hard you choose to work. Since you control it, you stimulate your breathing to the degree that is right for you. Exercising in your comfort zone, you can do it every day. Using the monitor on the rowing machine, you can keep track of and record your improvements over time. Since rowing uses nearly the whole muscle mass of the body, it has the added benefit of stimulating heart and lungs more efficiently and completely than most other exercises. And since you row sitting down on a stable seat and without joint …more”

“The worst bad habit is not to exercise. The most important good habit to develop is to exercise every day.”

“There is a common belief among some rowing coaches that a good workout can burn off germs. They would say that a member of a rowing team should come to practice and work out even if fighting a cold (unless the team member is very ill or contagious). The exercise will raise the body temperature. The athlete will sweat out impurities, breathe in lots of good air, and clear the lungs of waste accumulating there. The heart will pump blood containing antibodies and white blood cells more thoroughly throughout the body to overcome areas of infection. The exercise will generally enhance the body’s …more”

“There is more that happens in the body when we stimulate the heart, lungs, and muscles. One important additional effect is the increased blood flow to and through the bones. (Much is made of the use of weight-bearing exercise to maintain or improve bone density. That may occur with rowing, but focus for now on the simpler concept of blood flow through the bones.) Increased blood flow strengthens the bones. And the bones help the body in multiple ways.”

“This book is based on a simple, self-evident truth: Your body adapts to how it is stimulated every day by tuning itself to do more of the same, only better.”

“Trick yourself into rowing most days by committing to every day.”

“We have many joints in the body. The joints most of us commonly think of are in the hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. But there are also joints connecting the ribs and in the spine. The joints often contain a variety of tissues and other materials, including tendons, ligaments, cartilage, membranes, and fluid. Earlier, I noted one positive benefit of rowing on joints is that there is no impact. Unlike the jumping of basketball, the repetitive pounding of running, and the twisting and turning of soccer and tennis, the joints are held in place without impact while you row. The …more”

“When you miss a day, simply return to it the next day. Record your missed exercise in your log each time, as well as the days when you do exercise.”

“with interval training you are using the resistance of the rowing machine instead of lifting weights. That allows you to do this effective, power-building exercise using all of the muscles together in the risk-free position of sitting down. And it allows you to do the harder work at your own pace without having to select weights or change them.”

“Your activity each day sends a message to your body that it should expect more of the same. Your body adapts to enhance your ability to maintain that level of activity the next day and thereafter.”

“Your body is designed to be used more actively than occurs in the average, sedentary modern lifestyle. A simple conclusion follows from these two fundamental notions: A daily routine of breathing more deeply with moderate exercise will stimulate your body to develop greater fitness and energy.”

Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better: A Guide to Moderate Exercise by D.P. Ordway

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