By Jonathan Ducharme
Surfing is a great way to enjoy the world around you while getting a great workout. To get started, you’ll need a surf board, wetsuit and some waves! Spending time on the board, paddling around and standing up will work your chest, core, triceps and back. For example, the push-pull motion used when paddling into a wave works your triceps and back muscles. Paddling is very similar to swimming – the only difference is that you’re swimming on top of a surfboard instead of your body being submerged in water.
To practice paddling, lie flat on your stomach and repeat the motion you’d perform while swimming freestyle or front crawl. To imitate this motion, move your arms alternately overhead while flutter-kicking your legs. Once in the water, this is how you navigate around and set up for your wave.
When you catch the wave, you then use your chest muscles to “pop-up” (stand) on the surfboard. The pop-up uses the standard pushup motion, except you bring your legs up and around from underneath you into a squat position. To practice the pop-up, lie flat on your stomach and practice doing a pushup from this position. Once you become comfortable with the pushup, start trying to spring up from the pushup and catch yourself with your feet underneath you. The pop-up is what surfing is all about.
Once you've caught the wave, you’ll focus on activating your core and controlling your board. Surfing is very similar to skiing, snowboarding and skateboarding because you use your body weight to steer. Once you’re riding the wave, you want to set a direction for your board to head. To do this, lean either toe side or heel side, depending on which style of rider you are.
Enjoy your ride! And remember, even if you can’t stay up for very long, you’re still getting a great workout paddling and practicing your pop-up!