I love wakeboarding. It makes me feel like I’m walking on water or flying through the air. From what I’ve experienced in my life, there’s nothing else quite as transcendent as water sports. But every time I’m done wakeboarding, my whole body is sore—my arms are sore, my back hurts, my knees ache. If you’re like me and you love being out on the lake, these pains aren’t going to stop you from getting out on the water, even as you get older. However, there are some things we can do to make our experience better.
Stretch before you ride
Stretch before you get out on your board. Stretching helps prevent muscle strain and prepares your muscles for physical activity. Stretching will also reduce tension, increase your range of motion, and reduce your risk of injury. Stretch whatever part of your body you know usually hurts after your ride. Try using the Chirp Wheel to help you stretch. Here are some examples of stretches you can do before you go out on the lake.
Strengthen your core
Maintaining core strength will not only help you avoid back pain and other pains from water sports, it will also help you be better at your water sport. Strengthening your core, legs, and arms will help you be a better wakeboarder, water skier, or lake surfer and help you avoid future back pain. Your core is especially important because your core muscles hold your spine up. If you maintain proper posture, keeping the natural curvature of your spine, you can likely reduce your back pain. For more ideas on how to strengthen your core, check out our blog.
Roll out on the Chirp Wheel+
As part of your recovery, roll out with the Chirp Wheel. Rolling on the wheel will help you avoid muscle pain and soreness that comes from working out. Try these 8 stretches with the wheel to help you recover after a day at the lake.
Drink a lot of water, not soda or alcohol, while you’re out on the lake. Water helps to keep back pain away by keeping your spinal discs hydrated and promoting healing. If you are dehydrated, your spinal discs collapse, which causes your vertebrae to pinch your joints and cause your pain. Drinking a lot of water will also give you energy so you can stay outside longer. Drink a lot of water to make sure the sun doesn’t drain all of your energy from you.
Use cold therapy for recovery
If you suffer from inflammatory joint pain, use cold therapy after a day at the lake to reduce inflammation. Using cold therapy is good for back pain because the cold will help constrict the blood vessels, therefore reducing swelling and decreasing sensation. Cold therapy will help numb the pain so that you don’t hurt as much.
Learn to ski or board properly
Sometimes inexperienced boarders or skiers experience more pain because they don’t know how to maintain a proper form when they’re behind the boat. Try to keep your back straight, maintaining good posture. Don’t hunch your back or try to do any jumps or flips until you are more experienced. Twisting or flipping before you are ready can lead to injury and back pain.
Atlantic Brain and Spine. (2017, July 17). Dehydration could be the source of your back pain. Retrieved from https://www.brainspinesurgery.com/dehydration-causing-back-pain/#:~:text=Every%20system%20within%20your%20body,serious%20consequences%20%2D%20including%20back%20pain.
Funiciello, M. (2019, December 19). Should I use ice or heat for my lower back pain? Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/blog/should-i-use-ice-or-heat-my-lower-back-pain#:~:text=When%20your%20back%20pain%20is,injury%2C%20use%20cold%20therapy%20first.&text=Lowering%20the%20body%20temperature%20will,and%20cause%20a%20numbing%20effect.
Gopez, J. (n.d.). Stretching for Back Pain Relief. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/stretching-back-pain-relief#:~:text=Benefits of stretching include:,disability caused by back pain
Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). Avoid back pain and improve balance by strengthening core muscles. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/avoid-back-pain-and-improve-balance-by-strengthening-core-muscles
Kirby’s School of Wake. (n. d.). Wakeboarding doesn’t have to hurt. Retrieved from http://www.kirbysschoolofwake.com/wakeboarding-doesnt-hurt/.
Sonic rip, S. (2015, June 9). 3 tips for avoiding back pain while wakeboarding or water skiing. Retrieved from https://sinicropispine.com/avoiding-back-pain-while-wakeboarding-water-skiing/.