Maybe your training has plateaued and no matter what exercises you try or what gym you go to you just can’t quite reach that next goal. Maybe your joints ache every time you do anything involving running and you’re not getting the results you want on a machine. Or maybe you’re just flat out bored of being stuck inside of a gym or running around the same neighborhood over and over again.
Choosing to train with watersports can help solve all of those problems. Watersports will get you out of your comfort zone, force you to use muscles your body isn’t using, and probably even help you meet new people. Who doesn’t want to have fun and have a breakthrough in their training at the same time?
Here is an overview of three that can give your workout a good kick-start.
Let’s start with the foundation. You probably shouldn’t attempt any of these sports until you’re proficient at this one. If you don’t know how, the good news is that it’s never too late to learn. Check your local rec center and find an instructor who gives private lessons.
Even if you know how to swim, ask yourself … do you really know how to swim? If you swim while keeping your head out of the water, hold your nose when you jump into a body of water, or just kind of doggy-paddle everywhere, then the answer is no. Swimming can be an incredible workout, and it can be even better if you learn how to do freestyle well enough to do more than two lengths at a time, especially if you master flip turns. Perfect your stroke, and you’ll get the most out of this sport.
This can also motivate you to enter more triathlons. I hear so many people say that they would love to do triathlons if they were only better swimmers. You’ll be amazed at how much of a great workout it is.
Floating down a lazy river with a beer in hand and a raft carrying your cooler attached to your inner tube is a great way to spend a summer afternoon. But it will not get you in shape. White water rafting, on the other hand, just might.
Of course, when dealing directly with an unpredictable force of nature like a roaring river, it’s best to start slow. Don’t go out and buy a raft right now and aim for long, narrow rapids between some nice and sharp rocks. The best way is to start out with some guides on some beginner-level sections of rivers and eventually work your way up.
It’s not as easy to get as consistent of a workout in with white water rafting as it is with say, swimming, but it’s hard to think of a sport where you are more engaged with nature. You can go on week-long rafting trips and explore miles of river banks, all while getting some good exercise.
Not yet totally comfortable in the water, but you still want to leave the land? Skimboarding, a smaller version of surfing, is an ideal activity that falls right in between. You’ll want to find a spot on the beach that isn’t full of small children and holes from sandcastles. It should be a spot up a little from small waves crashing, where the water can’t reach any further. Skimboards are much cheaper than surfboards too, so it’s an easy sport to get into.
Hold the board with one hand on the very back and put the other hand on the side as a guide. Right after the water starts going back out, lower your board in the ¼-inch left behind. Your hand at the back should do all of the pushing while your other hand acts as a guide only.
This is the critical moment. Mostly likely, the people who thought you were a confused surfer a moment ago have caught on to what you are trying to do. Everyone is waiting for you to fall. Avoid that by resisting the urge to jump onto the board. Instead, run behind it and then simply run onto it, one leg at a time. Otherwise, putting all your weight onto it at once will cause the board to catch in the sand and crash.
Of course, you’ve only just started once you make it onto the board. Now you should crouch to keep your balance. The more practice you get at this stage, the more control you get. Soon you won’t just be skimming the sand, but you’ll also be able to turn back into the ocean and ride a wave. Just make sure you watch where you’re going so you don’t ramp over a breaker into a crowd of unsuspecting swimmers.