Sunday, 3 April 2011

Windsurfing Heart Rate

I recently started wearing a heart rate monitor as I have always been interested in how intense a workout you get from various sporting activities.  The primary use for my heart rate monitor(garmin 310XT) in my twice a week ride to and from work. I live in the hills and work on the plains and so it only takes me 25 minutes to get to work.  Getting home is another story, it takes 50-60 minutes with the last 25 up the hill that I live on.  I like this part of the ride best as it is a real mental game - do I push harder or keep a little in the tank for later.  It is amazing how when you take the same route all the time you can tell if you are the slightest bit sick or went to bed too late(or got woken up by the baby more than usual).  Riding to work I push a little to keep between 130 and 140 BPM(beats per minute).  On the ride home I keep in the same range until I hit the hills, then I go to 150-160 BPM. I rarely go above 160 as I am reasonably fit and usually stay in the saddle.  I can stand near the top of the hill in a higher gear and use a more anaerobic style to keep at 160 with more quad burn and dont mind this at all.

I have found that the cycling has been great for my knees as being tall, they have always been a bit loose and rattley.  If I have been for a ride the ligaments and muscles support my knee joint much better.  I have been holding off having an arthroscapy for torn and floating cartilage for as long as possible.  Cycling is also excellent cross training for windsurfing.  I never get any quad burn going on speed runs, nautical miles or hours.

One of the main features I wanted when shopping for heart rate monitors was that I wanted a waterproof, not water resistant unit.  I wanted to be able to take the unit windsurfing!.  The 310XT is a sealed waterproof unit that is charged from to external terminals on the back of the body.  The unit also has an inbuilt GPS receiver but cannot be used for uploading as the interval is variable.  Data is transferred via a wireless usb stick so there are no openings that have to be sealed each time you charge or retreive data.

Garmin 310Xt with Wireless USB receiver.

 Charging Terminals.

The first time I took out the unit was a shocker,  I ended up swimming most of the time(heart rate is not able to be transmitted while under water).  The second session was more successful.  I haven't used the monitor since as I always get my wetsuit and vest on and realise I need to put the sensor belt around my chest.  I need to remember next time!  The session I wore the unit was 15-20 knots with moderate chop and I mainly reached back and forth with the odd 10s of the wind.  I transferred the data to the garmin training center software which shows a map of your tracks with a speed and heart rate graph.  I found that I had peaks of 163 BPM and the end or during powered upwind legs on the way back from squirts off the wind.  I also had high rates shortly after the gybe when pumping to maintain planing.  These results were due to the anaerobic nature of the sailing at the time.

Anaerobic sailing:
  • Upwind when powered to over-powered.
  • Holding your breath, or erratic breathing during a gybe.
  • Pumping to get on or hold the board on the plane.
Garmin Training Center Software. Click to see animation.

My average heart rate for the session of 1 hours and 38 minutes was 143BPM and the calories burnt 1274.  Average speed was 34.2 km/h and max was 61.1km/h. Sailing is similar to interval training and varying the heart rate is good for improving fitness.

I want to gather more data on this subject with a wide variety of conditions and equipment.  It will be good to record the calories burnt with different types of sailing and comparing them to the figures I get with other activities.


  1. To make this topic any kind of usefull, can you enlighten us with your age, heigth and maybe your weight or BMI?

  2. These are all constants in any activity I do so i think the fact that my sailing heart rate can peak the same as my cyling one is very useful.
    38, 193cm, 112Kg - apparently I am obese - BS