You might come from a landlocked part of the world, where sailing isn’t often practised, and it can come across as an expensive hobby. But if you think it’s a leisurely sport, you’d be mistaken; it demands strength, coordination, advanced motor skills and a whole lot of core strength. If you thought of it as elitist, local private lessons are available wherever there’s water. Here are some ways that it helps with fitness, based off of an article I found online:
Core strength: Much of sailing is spent leaning back, sitting down on the edge of the boat with your feet tucked in under the strap. This hold is literally keeping you from falling into the ocean, making it a great way to engage your core. This causes a burning sensation, similar to with planking, and means that you’re constantly on a shifting unstable surface trying to find your balance that engages every muscle in your body. Such a mix of stimulation will also work on your coordination skills.
Arms: Trimming sheets or hoisting sails means you’re constantly deploying your upper body strength. Even if they’re made of carbon, sails are heavy and constantly unfurling them can be exhausting. This also work with the secondary muscles that complement arm movements, which is why sailors often have such defined torsos.
Legs: When you’re strapped into a sailing boat with your feet tucked under rope lines, your thighs will start to shake after a while. Relaxing the muscles in your legs is nearly impossible, since they’re ensuring you stay in one place. Every part of the sailing “stance”, seated or standing, means serious leg muscle engagement.
Teamwork: While the skipper is in charge of a sailboat, this is a team-oriented sport that requires proper synchronicity to properly work.
Mental focus: Sailing demands plenty of concentration on the manual tasks at hand, as well as plenty of mind focus. This takes the mind off its worldly problems and provides a great escape from mundane worries.