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Have you ever gone sailing for the day or the weekend and the next day (or days) been so sore you couldn’t move? Or spent the day (or days) in the engine room or sanding the hull and wondered which truck ran over you while you slept? If so, you are not alone. Anyone that owns a boat can empathize with this feeling.
Keeping active on a regular basis and adding flexibility exercises to your daily routine will definitely reduce the amount of aches and pains you will feel after any of these activities. When preparing for your upcoming cruise, maintaining a regular land based routine will be easier in some respects, like availability of gyms or space at home and more challenging in some respects, like that ever elusive thing we call… time. Generally speaking, in the months or even years preceding our upcoming cruise we continue to work full time (for the cruising kitty), we are shopping for and/or preparing the boat for long term cruising and taking advantage of the last “full-time” time we have with friends and family. All of these activities make it very easy to push our health and fitness to the back burner; the time when it is the most important to stay healthy. The stress associated with this time alone can be overwhelming and affect our health.
There are many ways to stay fit and healthy before we cut the lines:
Join a gym.
If you are new to the gym life, it is always advisable to splurge and work with a personal trainer who can evaluate your personal fitness level and projected needs and get you started in the right direction… safely. This is a great way to familiarize yourself or get reacquainted with exercises that are necessary for all over fitness, which can be brought with you on the boat with some simple modifications. It is also a great option if you are a more social person, fitness classes and training with a buddy can be motivational.
Go for a walk.
First thing in the morning, or an evening walk are generally good times, but anytime you can fit it in will work. Whether this is your main source of exercise, focusing on cardio, or an add-on to additional fitness activities, be sure to walk at a brisk pace for a minimum of 30 minutes, 4-7 times a week. Walking outside is beneficial not only for the physical body, but is a great stress reducer as well. Getting outside, close to nature, naturally reduces stress levels as well as tones the body.
Ride a bike.
This may be a more enjoyable activity for some, especially if you have a low traffic areas or trails to ride. For me, it always feels like I have accomplished more on a bike, being able to travel a great distance in the same amount of time versus walking. I usually like to mix it up… walk one day, ride another in addition to my yoga practice.
Do some yoga.
Yoga is the only system that encompasses the entire being as a whole: the physical body, the mental body or mind, and the spiritual or energetic body; leading to complete health practice. Yoga can be adapted to anybody or location simply through intention, therefore it is ideal for those that do not have access to traditional studios or classes on a regular base. It is great to do in the heat of the seas, basking and being in that perfect safe space. Be careful though, you might even find yourself getting addicted to the blissfulness! Next thing you know, you’ll have a trip booked to India and a certificate of teacher training (yoga certification programs in india). It really is that powerful and something to definitely add to your daily morning and evening routine while cruising.
Stretch those muscles.
Flexibility is highly underrated. The amount of stress we cause ourselves and the joint aches and pains experienced with age can be greatly reduced through some simple stretching first thing in the morning and through out the day. *See some of the simple stretches Eric and I did while sanding our boat.
Utilize online, written and video resources.
If you are saving for that cruising kitty, the library is a great resource for all of the above. (We are utilizing the Monroe County Library here in Marathon right now as we take a break from working on our boat to write for you!) Shopping online or just searching the internet for sites of interest can lead to many great discoveries and sources of inspiration. There are many videos on You Tube and itunes podcasts with fitness and yoga tips and even some entire classes. Here are a few sites that are my favorites:
www.annapolissailingfitness.com This site is more specifically for racers, but the basic fitness needs are the same for cruisers.
www.teambeachbody.com This is the official website for P90X, but offers a personalized dashboard where you can register and keep track of your workouts, whether theirs or your own. It also offers some great articles covering all aspects of health and fitness and a phenomenal newsletter.
www.yogajournal.com This website covers all aspects of yoga and is extremely extensive, from information for beginners to instructors.
Creating a fitness routine that works for your lifestyle is the most important component, rather than trying to step into a cookie cutter routine that is designed for a certain demographic. There are so many different fitness programs out there, that all have something to offer someone. Take the time to find out what works best for you and stay fit to cruise longer!
Stay tuned for the next issue where Eric and I share our fitness routines while in route from The Keys to Tortola, BVI!
Peace, Love & Pirate Yogis ™
SV Ave de Paso