In our world, we’re often told that by the time we’re forty or (fill in the blank) we are supposed to hang up many of the activities we participated in and enjoyed from our youth. We’re trained to believe that by that particular time of life, our bodies will hurt and ache and as a result, we will be sidelined from the things we once loved.
I have many people tell me already that I’m getting too old to wakeboard and won’t be able to do it much longer. They tell me my knees won’t last, that I’ve only got a little time left…guys, I’m only 29 years old and will have you know that I plan to wakeboard well into my 70’s…at least. Granted, I may not be doing s-bends any more, but I guarantee you I’ll still be out there.
How can you say that? Don’t you know that injuries take longer to heal when you’re older? Do you realize that when you’re career is on the line, that you can’t afford to get hurt? I do. Actually, I am aware of this probably more than the average person, BUT I also know that there is power in your imagination and the words you say and believe about yourself. The Bible says that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Whether you’re a Christian or not, the principle still applies. There have been scientific studies on the powers of positive thinking that align with this very thing. If you live your whole life believing that your body is going to fall apart, things are going to hurt, etc. when you reach a certain age, then that will probably be your reality.
I’m here to tell you though, that wakeboarding doesn’t have to hurt. It doesn’t have to be something that you post up on the sidelines for any more and limit yourself only to spectating or only surfing. If you have the right tools, a good driver with the know-how, and some good pre and post recovery tips, wakeboarding doesn’t have to stop when you’re in your twenties. It can be a lifestyle sport, a fantastic way to stay healthy and active and enable you to continue to have priceless shared experiences with your families and friends.
Stretch, Stretch, Stretch
One of the best ways to protect your body from injury is to stretch beforehand. It’s a great way to activate your muscles and prepare for physical activity. Here are some simple stretches you can use before hitting the water.
What’s in your Toolbox?
Wakeboarding doesn’t have to be high risk, there are so many things you can work on that don’t require a ton of strain on your body including, but not limited to, surface 180’s, one wake jumps, and riding switch. If you don’t have the right tools for a job, you could have a dangerous and unproductive situation on your hands. In the same way, many times, the ability to have a positive, low impact wakeboarding experience lies in having the right tools.
- Equipment: Make sure you have a wakeboard and bindings that are your size. If you don’t know for sure, ask! Having an incorrect size board or bindings causes so many unnecessary injuries from knees, ankles, and more.
- Recruit an Experienced Driver: It’s important to have someone drive for you who knows the proper way to pull a skier, experienced enough to make adjustments based on the skills you’re working on, and that knows the proper rope length for you. What many drivers don’t understand is that with wakeboarding, you can go very slow out of the gate with proper form, you can go very slow when working on surface turns, and with proper rope length and weighting of the boat, you can go pretty slow for one way turns. Knowing these prevents those nasty, high-speed wipeouts. If you feel like you’re about to have a bad wipe out, you can always drop the rope too!
- Proper Instruction: If you’d like to enjoy wakeboarding more and have a more fun and safe experienced, take the time to get a lesson. There may be something you are doing that’s adding unnecessary strain or making those hard falls more likely. This isn’t just a plug for my wake school, though I’d love to work with you, there are many incredible wakeboard schools out there. Check out my recommended page to find a school near you!
- Enerskin: If you have knee, shoulder, elbow or calf muscle issues, I highly suggest trying out Enerskin. I personally use the leg sleeves and they’ve done incredible things for my knees, I don’t ride without them. They are the best waterproof compression sleeves on the market. If you’d like one take advantage of a discount by using my promo code “LIESMANN10”.
Keep Your Words & Thoughts in Check
Don’t limit yourself by speaking negative things over your body or abilities, or believing what everyone says will happen, will have to be your reality.
Post Riding Recovery
- Foam Roll
- Ice Down: Icing helps decrease swelling, inflammation and pain. I used to use a simple ice pack wrap on my knees following riding, but recently have been using the Hyperice Knee which I like a lot better, because its compression with an air release valve, creating a perfect mold around my knee. The Hyperice Products are expensive, but are worth every penny.
- Hyperice Venom: This product is offered for back, leg and shoulder. A total game changer for post workout recovery. This provides heat and vibration to loosen and relax my muscles after icing and I love that it’s cordless too, making it way more convenient.
- Hydration: Be sure to drink a lot of water, staying hydrated will help prevent muscle soreness.
A lot of what I’ve shared can translate over to other physical activities as well, not just wakeboarding, so if you’ve parked yourself on the sidelines, it’s time to get back in the game. With the steps I’ve shared, you’ll be on a good path to experiencing a healthy, active lifestyle no matter your age without taking unnecessary risk or experiencing injury or painful recovery. Wakeboarding doesn’t have to be a fun distant memory, and wakeboarding doesn’t have to hurt. See you on the water!