At the fast-growing Greenville Indoor Rowing in Greenville, S.C., run by Lowell Caylor, 72, a former Cleveland Browns defensive back, a membership of mostly women older than 45 has embraced rowing. They have logged 137 million meters (that’s around the globe about 3.5 times), topping the rankings among health clubs for the rowing-machine maker Concept 2 for the fourth year in a row, Mr. Caylor said. “All these people come in who don’t think they have an athletic, competitive bone in their body really do,” said Mr. Caylor, who makes mimosas for each million-meter milestone.
His “crew,” as he calls his clients, includes former runners who’ve destroyed ankles and knees and like that rowing is hard-core but non-weight-bearing. Because it uses nearly every muscle group, rowing at 5 miles an hour offers the same calorie burn as running at 6.7 m.p.h.
, said Michele Olson, 52, an Auburn University professor of exercise science. Yes, she said, it burns more calories than spinning.