Every windsurfer needs to be relatively fit for the demands of the sport; in an ideal world we would have exceptional balance and stamina and be strong, flexible, and coordinated to perform our best on the water. This series will look at how to improve our fitness to ensure you have the best time on the water.
Words by Lagoon Watersports coach, Lucy McCormick.
I am first going to touch on why, as windsurfers, we need to warm up and cool down before and after our windsurfing session, and the importance of getting the right food inside our bodies.
WINDSURFER’S WARM UP
Most windsurfers aren’t too keen on the idea of warming up, prancing around on the beach doesn’t appeal to everyone, but it should as the benefits are massive and an effective warm up only needs to take five minutes.
The main purpose of a warm up is to prepare your body for your windsurf session, as well as reducing the risk of injury and helping to improve your performance on the water.
During the warm up you will increase the blood flow to your muscles and raise your body temperature, this will mobilise the joints and make your muscles more supple, leading to improved reactions and coordination. It will also help you prepare mentally, and put you in the right mind set to nail that new move.
An effective warm up will:
- Increases the blood flow to muscles, enhancing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients.
- Prepares your body and heart for your increased activity, whist you’re on the water.
- Prepares you mentally for your session.
- Warms your muscles, making them more supple and ready for action.
- Prepares your heart for an increase in activity.
- Prepares you mentally for the upcoming exercise.
The warm up video below can be used pre-windsurf session or before taking part in any physical activity. REMEMBER TO CONSULT A DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING PART IN ANY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.
WINDSURFER’S COOL DOWN
It is as important to cool down, as it is to warm up and again doesn’t need to take up a huge amount of time. The main purpose of a cool down is to promote recovery and return the body to its pre-exercise state.
During our session our bodies will have been worked, certain muscles more than others, an effective cool down can help reduce muscle injury, stiffness and soreness, which will help you to be ready for your next session!
An effective cool down will:
- Assist your heart rate to return towards resting levels.
- Aid the removal of waste products from your muscles, such as lactic acid, which can build up during activity.
- Helps prepare your muscles for your next session, whether it’s the next day or in a few days’ time.
- Reduce the potential for delayed muscle soreness.
The cool down video below can be used post windsurf session or after taking part in any physical activity. REMEMBER TO CONSULT A DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING PART IN ANY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.
WINDSURFER’S NURTITION AND HYDRATION
To perform your best on the water and have an effective windsurfing body you need to consider what you are putting into your body to fuel your sessions and in turn give you the energy, as well as helping you recover after.
A healthy balanced diet is a great way to keep in shape, no windsurfer wants too much fat, the lighter we are the sooner we will plane and the more manoeuvreable we will be. Our meals should consist of a good balance of fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, protein and good fats, to ensure we get all the necessary vitamins and minerals our body needs.
To help you in the right direction here’s quick guide to what is best to eat pre, during and post windsurfing.
Most windsurfers will go for the quick energy fix – chocolate, coffee and sugary drinks are all easy to grab but are not effective in fuelling our body.
What we need to eat before our session depends on intensity, length and type of session you are going to do. Exercising on a full stomach is never a good idea; you will feel uncomfortable on the water and won’t perform your best. To avoid this make sure you eat your meal enough time before your session – this could be one to four hours, depending on what you eat.
Carbohydrates are the main fuel that powers us whilst on the water. So make sure your meal is rich in carbohydrates, and easy to digest.
If the wind hasn’t appeared and you starting to get hungry or you feel your energy levels are suffering then about 30 minutes before your session, grab an easily digestible snack before you hit the water. This could be a piece of fruit (banana is a great option) or perhaps a cereal bar.
It is important to stay hydrated whilst windsurfing. Coming off the water every 30 – 45 minutes to drink some water is a great way to stay alert and be at your best whilst on the water.
If you are having a long session then you may need to replenish your energy levels with a snack such as fruits or nuts.
This is the time our body needs to recover and we can aid it by putting the right things into our body. Our post exercise snack is critical to recovery and assists us to get ready quicker for our next session.
It is important to consume a snack 30 minutes after getting out of the water; this snack should include both carbohydrates and proteins to be most effective. A good snack could be a protein filled sandwich, such as tuna or chicken with a banana.