For New Zealanders who enjoy an active outdoor life style, with 6,880 Km (4,300 miles) of coastline plus a host of large lakes in the interior, the sport of sailing couldn’t be better suited to a country. But what other reasons are there to take up the sport of sailing?
Sailing is unlike other sports in that you can be any shape, size or age and you do not have to “fit in” or to be “chosen” for a team. You can also sail competitively, either on your own or as part of a team, or recreationally as a way to relax and keep fit after work or at weekends.
Muscle strength is improved during sailing and this increases the body’s metabolic rate by helping you burn more calories. Other than strength, muscular endurance is also a useful attribute in classes / crew positions that involve repetitive movements. This is attained through sets of moderate resistance and higher repetitions. Sailing also helps to develop flexibility and agility through maneuvers like tacking and gybing.
Aerobic Fitness is associated with a reduced risk of obesity, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease and reflects aerobic fitness. The maximum oxygen uptake by top windsurfers averages at 63 ml/kg/min, while that of dinghy sailors averages 54 ml/kg/min. The oxygen uptake during boardsailing exceeds that of sports like tennis and baseball.
When sailing competitively, sailing increases the brain’s ability to think strategically and tactically,which is why many older sailors can out-smart the more agile youngsters. Sailing that builds confident and able young men and women.
Besides the benefits listed above, sailing also provides some general health benefits like fresh air and stress relief. It is also great for thrill-seeking adrenaline junkies, especially in high winds with a gennaker sailboat.
Sailing is a healthy sport, which can provide reasonable all-round fitness, mental stimulation and enjoyment.