Why Stretching is Important Before Sailing

Let’s talk about why stretching is important before sailing. Actually, the first question you may be asking yourself is: “Why do I need to stretch before I go sailing?” “Is sailing a physically demanding activity?”

Let’s address these issues first and then we’ll move on to why you need to stretch and how you should be stretching before sailing.

stretching before sailing

1. Why Do I Need To Stretch Before I go Sailing?

The easy answer to this question is to ask another- have you ever come back from sailing sore? Or are you sore the next day? If you answered yes, then your answer to the first question is a YES! If you haven’t sailed before, or if it’s been a long time since you have, or a long since your last workout then it might be a good idea to do some quick stretches before you jump on the boat and when you come home.

2. Is Sailing A Physically Demanding Activity?

Yes and No. It all depends on what kind of sailing you are doing. What boat will you be sailing on? What is your job when your sailing? Are you the skipper at the helm? Are you the sewer man getting sailing in and out, up and down? Or are you somewhere in between, running lines, tightening and hoisting sails? Is it a light wind-out for a sunset cruise or you venturing out for a 2-3 day race?

3. How Should I Stretch Before Sailing?

Focus on the Muscles That Need the Most Help.

Generally speaking, when you are sailing, you will be pulling on lines which will involve several different arm and back muscles. You will also be using your hamstrings to anchor you as the boat is heeling. If it’s a windy day, then you’ll probably be moving often to different sides of the boat. In the middle of changing sides and positions on the boat you will also be ducking under the boom.

Here are the muscles you should focus on stretching:

  • Neck
  • Upper and Lower Back
  • Shoulders
  • Biceps, Triceps and Deltoids
  • Hamstrings

Here are some Quick Tips for Stretching

  • Don’t stretch Cold- It’s important to get your muscles warm before stretching so they can relax and elongate
  • Do a pre-warm up before stretching and stretch after
  • Do a daily quick stretch of 10-15 min focusing on the muscles that need more attention
  • Do a once-a-week thorough stretch like a Yoga or Pilates class

Stretching can also help calm and focus your mind, prevent injury and add flexibility. It’s a good thing. So next time before you hit the water before the big race or a heavy day of sailing you might want to take the time to stretch first. Happy Sailing! ~Megan

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