Rowing is one of the most physically and mentally challenging sports in the world. It requires an immense amount of dedication, discipline, and endurance. While many rowers enjoy the intense competition and exhilaration of racing, others find the sport to be extremely stressful.

Physical Stress

Rowing is a physically demanding sport, requiring athletes to push their bodies to the limit. Training sessions can last for hours, with multiple workouts per day, six days a week. The constant pounding of the oars on the water can cause strains and injuries to the arms, back, and legs. In addition, the high levels of exertion required to row can leave rowers feeling exhausted and drained.

Mental Stress

In addition to the physical demands of rowing, the sport can also be mentally taxing. The intense focus required to perform at a high level, the constant pressure to improve, and the pressure to perform well in races can all take a toll on a rower’s mental health. The stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and burnout.

Competitive Stress

Rowing is a highly competitive sport, with athletes competing at local, national, and international levels. The pressure to succeed and perform well can be overwhelming. The fear of failure, the stress of competition, and the pressure to win can all add to the stress of rowing.

Managing Stress

Despite the challenges and stress of rowing, many athletes continue to participate in the sport. For some, the physical and mental challenges are what make the sport so rewarding. Others find relief in the camaraderie of the team and the support of their coaches. Many rowers also turn to mindfulness practices, such as meditation and yoga, to help them manage the stress of the sport.


According to a survey conducted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), rowing is one of the most stressful college sports. The survey found that 26.3% of female rowers reported feeling high levels of stress, while 27.2% reported feeling overwhelmed. In comparison, only 14.9% of male rowers reported feeling high levels of stress, while 16.6% reported feeling overwhelmed.


Rowing can be a stressful sport, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Despite the physical and mental demands, many athletes continue to participate in the sport and achieve great success. By focusing on mindfulness practices, building a support system, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, rowers can manage the stress of the sport and continue to thrive on and off the water.