Windsurfing makes you fit and trains your body at the same time without the feeling of extra effort.
When the wind bends the trees outside and soughs from underneath the window, Klaas Voget, professional windsurfer, gets fidgety. “I really get nervous and count every second ‘til I get on water. It might happen then, that I post my girlfriend or see speed limits in a more generous way”, says the 29-years-old German, who is successful on an international level.
Klaas Voget is fit as a fiddle. Being a professional sportsman, he practices hard. “Among the best of the world, you cannot just turn up and surf. I train as often as possible on water”, says Klaas. In case of low wind at his home spot around Kiel, he completes his training with other kinds of sports. However, he sometimes has to pull himself together. In order to stand the effort of the training on shore, the pro as well sometimes has to bring up all his will. “Windsurfing is different. You don’t notice the effort”, explains Klaas, who has studied sports science.
To what degree windsurfers actually strain their bodies and what efforts they feel in doing so, the wave pro has now proved scientifically in his thesis at the Christian-Albrechts Univeristy in Kiel. The result: windsurfing makes you fit and toughens your body, seemingly without extra effort.
The survey was accomplished last year by Voget during two world cups of the PWA Pro Tour in Portugal and Gran Canary. Thereby, the pros were equipped with pulse monitors not only during free surfing but also while they were competing and their movements were recorded to the second. Right after the effort, the level of lactate was defined and the surfers evaluated their effort on a subjective scale.
The results reflect Voget’s expectations. Within a normal training unit of 1¼ hours, the pulse rate lies at 136 beats on average, which is within the range of an ideal basic stamina. Against the background of a good cardiovascular training, the windsurfing sport presents an ideal option. Salt water and sun additionally contribute to the all-in-one wellness package.
On the contrary, during competition, things become intense and maximum values of almost 200 beats were reached. Hardly any of the pros reached such high values during free training. The average values of a competition race of 10 to 12 minutes lie at more than 170 beats and the lactate level with 4,4 mmol/l even lies in the intense anaerobic area. Such high values strain the cardiovascular system immensely and with regular training in short time raise the individual performance to a higher level. However, it requires not only broad experience, but also a strong will to fight against muscle burning, which starts at about 4mmol/l.
What surprised most with Voget’s survey were the personal effort values which were questioned after the performance. In free training as well as during competition, the effort was estimated much lower than indicated by the actual pulse rates. A Spanish windsurf pro, for example, felt little strained during competition, although he showed a value of 12. This means an estimated value, which corresponds to 120 beats on average under lab conditions. However, the evaluation of the pulse data showed that the windsurf subject had an average pulse of 186 beats during the Heat and therefore had reached the level of high performance.
One reason why the effort during windsurfing is not noticed might be the distraction caused by the wind and the waves. Another is that windsurfing means the contraction of almost every muscle. In order to stay on the board and to place the sail ideally to the wind, a good body tension is necessary. Thereby, energy transformation increases, although no single muscle group is being strained to an extreme degree.
Because pulse values do not rise to the limits during free training, but stay between 120 and 170 beats, it can be concluded that windsurfing is among the few sports which train the body ideally and without the feeling of extra effort.
An average training session of the pros amounted to 1¼ hours, whereby two sessions a day were the rule. However, it is quite common that pros and hobby windsurfers alike stay on water for more than three hours – thanks to addiction! Then, fat burn clearly prevails. Small wonder though that passionate windsurfers look lithe and lissom. “During the Canaries Tour I eat like a horse, nevertheless I have problems to keep my weight”, says Klaas Voget. Riding the waves every day and burning so much energy means that the native East Frisian always returns home with a few kilos less after three weeks at Gran Canary.
Sounds like an ideal holiday for everyone who likes to be regaled or wishes to lose some kilos during free time.
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(English version is in preparation)