Windsurfing: get healthy and fit for the sport | Photo: PWA/Carter

Getting and staying fit for windsurfing may be daunting. It requires not only long-term determination, but also knowledge of physical activity, nutrition, goal setting, potential pitfalls, and motivation to stick to a training program. Windsurfing fitness expert Henrik Beyer shares the ten golden rules of what makes you fit but also healthy for the sailing sport.

Following a general fitness program may be the answer for sailors getting started on their path to better physical fitness. However, fitness is not necessarily the same as what is considered healthy and improves your overall well-being.

"Training to getting six pack abs or a sexy body is not the same as sport specific training or even training to become healthier," says Beyer author of "Health & Fitness for Windsurfing."

"Sailors who choose to train to increase their windsurfing performance, and general health should consider the following golden rules," the expert suggests. Without further delay, let's take a look at Beyer's ten commandments of health and fitness for windsurfing:

1. If possible, windsurfing should be the main physical activity.
2. The strength and conditioning program should be individually adapted and consider injuries, illnesses and weaknesses. Considering joint stability and ligaments and tendon strength is essential to limit windsurfing injuries.
3. Progressively increase the load used in both conditioning and strength training and use the correct form and body position when training.
4. Priority goes to choosing exercises and physical activities that improve your overall health. Increased windsurfing performance and a potentially better looking body will follow in due time.
5. Stick to what motivates you to train but also what is necessary for your training. New fitness products and ideas are not always critical for increased health and fitness. Tried and true traditional strength training is still very effective for windsurfers.
6. Developing your core strength is essential for windsurfing performance.
7. The training program should be periodized to help you become fit and healthy at the right time of the windsurfing season.
8. Eating mostly plant-based foods will contribute to good health and is as important as training itself.
9. Make room for adequate physical and mental rest and recovery between training and sailing sessions.
10. Experiencing a sense of "flow" in training and sailing should be the ultimate goal at each workout or sailing session.

Body image obsession may inhibit results in training. "Sometimes letting go of what will make your body look great will increase the results of specific windsurf training," concludes Henrik Beyer.

The Swedish windsurfing fitness expert hopes that more sailors will experience the tremendous benefits of off-water training for windsurfing.