Surfing in your 40s: keeping up with the younger generation | Photo: WSL

As you enter your 40s, your body may start to change in ways that can affect your surfing performance, including changes in muscular and cardiovascular systems.

But with the right approach, you can stay fit and continue to enjoy the sport you love well into your middle age.

Here are some tips on how to stay in shape to surf in your 40s.

Muscular and Cardiovascular Training

One of the most significant changes that can occur in your body after age 40 is a loss of muscle mass.

This can make it harder to paddle, perform activities that require strength and endurance, and maintain your balance on the surfboard, as well as increase your risk of injury.

To combat this, it's important to focus on maintaining and building muscle through regular strength training exercises.

This can include weight lifting or calisthenics, bodyweight exercises, and other activities that target the muscles used in surfing, such as the arms, shoulders, and core.

In addition to changes in the muscles, people in their 40s may also experience changes in their cardiovascular system.

This can include a decrease in heart rate and changes in the shape and function of the heart and blood vessels.

These changes can make it harder for the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, which can affect performance and increase the risk of health problems such as heart disease.

To address these changes and stay in good physical shape, it's essential for people in their 40s to engage in regular aerobic exercises, such as jogging or cycling.

This can help to maintain cardiovascular health and improve muscular endurance.

It's also essential to eat a healthy diet and avoid smoking and other unhealthy habits, as these can contribute to the negative effects of aging on the body.

Muscular training: a workout that targets the muscles used in surfing | Photo: Li Sun

The Right Diet

In addition to regular exercise, a healthy diet is crucial for maintaining your fitness and performance as a surfer in your 40s.

Make sure to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats.

Foods that may be beneficial for 40-year-old surfers include cauliflower, which is high in fiber and contains compounds that can boost antioxidant status, and lemon juice, which can help to break up concentrated calcium deposits and support hydration.

Avoid processed and high-sugar foods, which can contribute to weight gain and reduced energy levels.

It is also important for surfers to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, during and after surfing sessions.

Also, keep properly fueled to ensure that your body has the energy and nutrients to function at its best.

Healthy food: a surfer's diet must avoid processed and high-sugar foods | Photo: Shutterstock

Psychological Challenges

Aside from the physical challenges, there are also some psychological hurdles that a 40-year-old surfer may face.

As you get older, you may find yourself feeling more self-conscious or intimidated by younger, more experienced surfers.

It's important to remember that surfing is a lifelong sport, and there is no age limit on enjoying the waves.

Don't be afraid to take on new challenges and push yourself to improve, even if you're not as fast or agile as you once were.

Overall, staying fit to surf in your 40s requires a combination of regular exercise, a healthy diet, and a positive mindset.

With the right approach, you can continue to enjoy the sport you love for many years to come.

Some tips for mental preparation include:

  • Practice Mindfulness and Meditation to Improve Focus and Concentration: This can help to calm the mind and improve your ability to stay focused and in control while surfing big waves;
  • Set Realistic Goals and Challenges for Yourself, and Work Towards Achieving Them Gradually: This can help to build confidence and resilience and can make the experience of surfing big waves less intimidating;
  • Visualize Success and Imagine Yourself Surfing Big Waves with Confidence and Control: This can help to build mental toughness and can boost your confidence in your ability to handle challenging situations;
  • Surround Yourself with Supportive and Positive People Who Can Provide Encouragement and Advice: This can help to create a positive and supportive environment that can boost your confidence and help you to overcome any doubts or fears;
  • Take the Time to Warm Up and Stretch Before Surfing to Prepare Your Body and Mind for the Challenges Ahead: This can help to reduce the risk of injury and can improve your performance;

Overall, staying mentally prepared for surfing big waves requires a combination of mindfulness, goal-setting, visualization, support, and physical preparation.

Kelly Slater: he surfed through his 40s at a professional, elite level | Photo: WSL

Stay Active

There are many things that a 40-year-old surfer can do to stay fit and ready for surfing waves. Staying active whenever you can is key to keeping your body young.

In addition to regular exercise and a healthy diet, some other tips for staying in shape for surfing include:

  • Practice balance and coordination exercises, such as yoga or Pilates, to improve your ability to maintain your balance on the board;
  • Use a foam surfboard or other training equipment to practice your moves and improve your surfing skills;
  • Invest in the right gear, including a high-quality wetsuit and surfboard, to help you stay comfortable and safe in the water;

Overall, staying fit and ready for surfing big waves requires a combination of regular exercise, a healthy lifestyle, and the right equipment.

By following these tips, 40-year-old surfers can continue to enjoy the sport and challenge themselves to take on bigger and better waves.

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