Lucy McCormick joins Boards for her next fitness instalment. This month Lucy covers a problem, which affects many windsurfers – Back Pain.
So, most of us in our time windsurfing would have suffered a little back pain now and again, which can be sore, uncomfortable and most annoyingly, can cut short your time on the water.
Windsurfing is a physically demanding sport, there are many reasons why windsurfing could contribute to, or cause back pain, such as lack of fitness, inexperience, poor technique and certain manoeuvres. Below is a day in the life of a typical windsurfer, including what may seem harmless everyday tasks but that can build up and cause back pain.
You check the forecast and it’s looking awesome, but it’s not in the right direction at your local beach, so you drive a bit further than usual to make the most of the conditions (this might be a prolonged drive with bad posture). You then lift your kit out of the car and carry it to the beach (are you using the correct lifting technique?) you then go for a sail (do you have poor posture whilst sailing? Did you opt for the odd catapult?) You then head back to the beach to de rig (are you bent over?) – all these things alone probably won’t cause you too many problems, but repeating them often might. For the next session, be more aware of your posture and lifting techniques to keep your back in good working order.
Exercise is one of the most effective methods of preventing and treating back pain. By strengthening and stretching the muscles that support the spine we can prevent or reduce back pain. Weak core muscles can causes lower back pain, so by improving our core stability we can reduce the risks of injury whilst windsurfing.
Back strength is of mega importance to us windsurfers and a strong core is a must to be able to handle the twisting and rotating that windsurfing requires us to do. The exercises and stretches below can help this be achieved.
Core and Back Strength Exercises
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet and knees hip width apart. Keep your arms down by your side and your palms pressed into the floor. Lift your bottom off the floor to bring your body into a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Squeeze your core and try to pull your belly button back toward your spine. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and repeat five times.
The Plank Get into a push up position on the floor. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body in a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold the position for as long as you can – approx 20 to 60 seconds.
The Bird Dog Kneel on the floor with your hands shoulder width apart. Brace your abdominals and point one arm straight out in front of you and extend the opposite leg. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Repeat 5 times.
Extensions Lie face down and place hands either side of your head. Keep your eyes looking down. Brace your abdominals and lift your chest a few inches off the floor. Lower and repeat 10 times.
Repeat these exercises up to three times a week for an awesome back and core workout. Remembering to warm up and cool down before and after any physical activity.
REMEMBER TO CONSULT A DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING PART IN ANY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Check out the other article in Lucy’s fitness series.