Irish Coastal Rowers – Photo credit: John Meehan (Flickr)

Doing some form of physical activity is good way to promote physical and mental health.  Especially, in an age where people are resigning themselves to a vegetative life in front of the TV or are slouched over a laptop updating their Facebook status – seemingly online activity is only type of activity that people are engaged in, these days.

Irish Coastal Rowing could provide a way of turning our backs on our vegetative lifestyles and be used to exercise our minds, as well as our bodies.  Rowing can reduce levels of stress; it is a low impact type of exercise that people of different fitness levels can enjoy, both indoors or outdoors; it offers a full body workout and is great way to keep active.

“The enjoyment of getting out and going for a leisure row with friends or getting so fit you can’t wait for championships, in a time where is it so important to encourage our youth to get active.  There is a level for everyone in rowing.  It is paramount that as an island nation we give it a try. The benefits far out weigh the negatives,” Mary B. Teahan, Irish Coastal Rowing Federation

Irish Coach Potatoes

According to the Department of Health, increases in sedentary behaviour at home – vegetating in front of the TV and work – spending hours slouched over an office computer, has led to an increase in physical inactivity.  And, according to the European Commission report on Irish exercise behaviour, when asked “how often do you exercise or play sport?,”34% of Irish people said never:

exer1 Source: The Journal.i.e

According to Jenny Mullins, Ignite research, only 1 in 5 Irish people watch what they eat and exercise regularly:

Row your way to fitness

Irish Coastal rowing can provide us with an exciting way to keep fit.  And, at the same time we can get the recommended 30 minutes pf physical activity that the Department of Health recommend:

 

The Irish Costal rowing Federation

The Irish Coastal Rowing Federation has 100 clubs in Ireland, has 4,000 members,  it has associations in the South West and East Coast of Ireland and it was founded in 1992.  So, what better way to get fit than to take up rowing with the Irish Coastal Rowing Federation and row your way to a fitter and happier you.  The Circular spoke to Mary  B. Teahan, an Irish Coastal Rowing Federation representative, to get her views on rowing and keeping fit.

Q.1 What is the Irish Coastal Rowing Federation?

Mary: The Irish Coastal Rowing Federation is the governing body of coastal rowing on the Island of Ireland it is made up of Associations from all around the coast and it is these associations that we are working with. The coastal rowing clubs are affiliated to the associations.

Q.2 Is coastal rowing popular in Ireland?

Mary:  Coastal rowing is growing year on year and this year we are in our 25th year in existence. Our Irish Coastal Rowing Championships are the biggest rowing event in the country, with almost 100 clubs sending crews to these championships every year with up  to 3000 competitors.  All around the coast ,different association are working hard on keeping their traditional regattas alive and well.  And, what is very important to us is that they keep the traditional boat on the water.  So, for example, in Kerry we have the South and Mid Kerry 4 Oar, which is made up of 4 People with a cox and our Seine Boat, which is unique to Kerry which has 12 Rowers and a cox.  In the East Coast they have a Skiff, in Wexford they have a Cot, so each area has their own unique boat.  But, when it comes to the County Championships and All Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships, in 2002, the One Design Boat was introduced to all clubs, who wish to take part in these championships.  So, all clubs would have the same boat class.

Q.3 Gavin Hennigan became the fastest Irish man to row the Atlantic, February, 2017.  Do you think that Hennigan’s sporting achievement will encourage people to take up coastal rowing?

Mary: Gavin Hennigan to me is a Man among Men.  His quiet determination and total belief can only be admired and brings the spot light on our wonderful sport of coastal rowing.  I have always believed there is no place to hide when it comes to our sport.  And, after all, we are an island nation with plenty of coast line and we were thrilled for Gavin and his huge achievement.

Q.4 According to  the European Commission’s recent fitness report, 34% of Irish people take no kind of physical exercise.   Do you think that coastal rowing could be used to raise Ireland’s physical activity level?

Mary: Rowing is to me one of the greatest sports there is. The enjoyment of getting out and going for a leisure row with friends or getting so fit you cant wait for championships, in a time where is it so important to encourage our youth to get active.  There is a level for everyone in rowing.  It is paramount that as an island nation we give it a try. The benefits far out weigh the negatives.  It is a clean sport with the enjoyment of being part of a crew and representing your family, your club and your country. At an elite level, the commitment is huge and that to be true of any sport at an elite level.

Q. 5 How did you get involved with the Irish Coastal Rowing Federation?

Mary: I got involved in rowing completely by accident, when a back injury put me out of action in football and my doctor encouraged me to take up rowing to build up muscle in my lower back.  And it was then that I really got the addiction and made a life time friend and the true friends that I have today.  I took it to another level going senior and made a commitment with a tremendous crew and we trained up to 10 times a week.  To be the best, you must work hard and give everything for your crew, the goal is to achieve what you want and we did, indeed.  I have been involved with the federation for the last 13 years.  And I train crews for my local club to give something back to the sport that I adore.

For further information on the benefits of rowing go to 10 Ten Health Benefits of Rowing, Irish Coastal Rowing Federation and Rowing Ireland.