Justin Wilson cycles long distances in the mountains of Colorado. Marco Andretti regularly runs 10Ks on trails. Scott Dixon has been known to dash up 47 flights of stairs.
Fellow Verizon IndyCar Series driver Sebastien Bourdais, who lives in St. Petersburg, Fla., has made sea kayaking his preferred form of exercise incorporated into his training regimen.
“It’s been a really good training tool since the Champ Car days,” the KVSH Racing driver and four-time Champ Car champion said. “You can row on the machine, but being out on the water is so much better.
“For me, it’s one of the best ways for me to get a complete workout for the upper body and what you need more than cycling or running.”
The physical demands of road and street course racing (Verizon IndyCar Series cars don’t have power steering) require upper-body strength in addition to a strong cardiovascular system. For instance, on the 1.75-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit in Toronto -- a race that Bourdais won in July 2014 -- the 65 laps equaled 715 turns. Workouts are year-round for drivers.
“It’s cardio and physical. When I’m in the race car I can tell when I’ve been working out in the kayak,” he said. “I’m not a big gym guy; I hate it to be honest although sometimes you have to lift weights but I don’t enjoy being stuck in the gym.
“For me to do it on the water in the sun, it’s great scenery, too. As soon as you get into the hot months (of the racing season) it preps you for being exposed to the heat. On the water the humidity is pretty high so it’s been something that helps me physically.
“I still cycle and run, but I really enjoy doing this form of exercise.”
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