Impact of long distance rowing on biological health: A pilot study

Clin Biochem. 2018 Feb:52:142-147. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2017.11.018. Epub 2017 Dec 2.


Objectives: To determine the impact of long distance rowing (160km, nonstop) on standard biological parameters and to study the relation between inflammation, myocardial necrosis, lipid profile, heart rate and energy expenditure.

Methods: Electrolytes, lipid profile, C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), procalcitonin (PCT), high-sensitive troponin T (hs-cTnT), and N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), were measured on non-fasting venous blood samples collected 8h before and after the rowing race on five healthy competitors. Heart rate and energy expenditure were measured using sporting self-measurement devices.

Results: After 16.5h of race, significant increases in median CRP (+25.2mg/l; p=0.04), IL-6 (+1.85pg/ml; p=0.04), TNF-α (+1.2pg/ml; p=0.04) and NT-proBNP levels (+88.8pg/ml; p=0.04) were observed, and a close to significant elevation for hs-cTnT(+6ng/l; p=0.06) and PCT (+0.14μg/l; p=0.07). On the other hand, significant decrease in median total cholesterol (-0.5mmol/l; p=0.04), triglycerides (-0.7mmol/l; p=0.04) were observed. Furthermore, significant correlations between the maximal heart rate reached during the race and CRP (r=0.90; p=0.03), IL-6 (r=0.90; p=0.03), and NT-proBNP (r=0.90; p=0.03) were observed, whereas no such associations were retrieved with median heart rate, the percentage of time passed over 70% of maximal heart rate or energy expenditure during the race. There was no association between PCT, NT-proBNP, hs-cTnT, inflammatory biomarkers, lipid profile or heart rate parameters.

Conclusions: Long distance rowing induces inflammation and myocardial strain related to the maximal effort generated during the race, but has a favourable effect on lipid profile.

Keywords: Biological markers; Heart; Inflammation; Lipids; Long term exercise; Rowing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletes
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Calcitonin / blood
  • Electrolytes / blood
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain / blood
  • Peptide Fragments / blood
  • Pilot Projects
  • Troponin T / blood
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood
  • Water Sports / physiology*


  • Biomarkers
  • Electrolytes
  • Interleukin-6
  • Lipids
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Troponin T
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • pro-brain natriuretic peptide (1-76)
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain
  • Calcitonin
  • C-Reactive Protein