5 Health Benefits of Surfing
Surfing is a popular sport for those who live near the ocean, particularly the Atlantic where the waves are choppy and difficult. If you’re lucky enough to have this opportunity, take advantage and make surfing an everyday occurrence.
You might have some concerns about surfing. Although they’re extremely rare, shark attacks are widely publicized. You might also hear a few rumblings about injuries, but it shouldn’t dissuade you from learning the sport.
There are a few surprising benefits for your health that easily counteract the negatives you’ve possibly heard. If you live near the ocean, here are some reasons you should take up surfing today!
- Cardiovascular Fitness
With heart disease being the leading cause of death in the U.S., increased cardiovascular fitness is a must. Things like eating healthier, quitting bad habits like smoking and drinking alcohol, and performing cardiovascular exercises will keep your heart in shape.
Surfing involves a lot of paddling, which gets your heart rate up and works your whole body. The process of balancing and keeping your core firm as you ride the waves also helps your heart stay strong.
- Body Strength
You’ll strengthen pretty much all the muscles in your body as you master the sport of surfing. Your arms and legs will grow stronger from paddling and hoisting yourself upright on the waves, and your core will become rock solid from the constant balancing act. The strengthening aspect is the perfect companion for the cardiovascular workout you’ll receive in tandem, offering an effective full body workout.
One of the best benefits of surfing is increased back strength. Surfing strengthens the muscles in both your abdomen and your back. It’s a great release after you’ve spent the week hunched in front of a computer screen. Strengthening back muscles during recreation will make your back more resilient to the pressures applied through your everyday life, and you’re less likely to have back and neck issues throughout your life.
- Mental Wellness
With mental illnesses ravaging the world, finding a healthy release to stave off the blues and improve your outlook is critical to fighting off those illnesses. Here are some of the mental health benefits of surfing:
- Staves Off Depression: Studies have examined the effectiveness of surfing in preventing depression and improving mood. The act of surfing was calming for those who were depressed and angry. The movement of the waves and the increased vitamin D from being in the sun are very effective at preventing depressive episodes.
- Relieves Tension and Stress: Whether you have a stressful job or you’re concerned about the future of society, surfing is an excellent outlet. Not only is it a lot of fun, but it also requires intense physical activity, which naturally relieves stress and any associated tension.
- Can Reduce Social Anxiety: If you have a fear of meeting new people, surfing is a great way to break that. You’ll interact with many new people on the common ground of surfing, which will break down some of your anxious barriers and introduce you to a new way of living.
- Boosts Creativity and Critical Thinking: When you’re failing to make clear-cut decisions and come up with creative solutions, finding a healthy extra-curricular activity is key. Surfing not only boosts physical activity but it also provides a connection to nature, both of which are known to stimulate brain function,
- Improves Self-Confidence: It’s not easy to master surfing, so when you succeed, you can’t help but feel good about yourself. Self-confidence is one of life’s best rewards, and you’ll have a greater outlook on life as a result of your hard work and success at this sport.
- Better Sleep
According to the CDC, one third of adults simply don’t get enough sleep. This can lead to a host of mental and physical health problems, including depression, anxiety, obesity, cardiovascular disease, increased stress, diabetes, and more.
Going to bed earlier is usually the solution, but if you’re struggling to sleep well, surfing can help. Countless studies show the benefits of exercising regularly for a good night’s sleep. The more intense the exercise, the better. Because surfing is a full-body fitness experience, you’ll sleep like a baby.
- Increased Flexibility
Many people struggle with flexibility. Unfortunately, being inflexible increases your risk of injury when engaging in any kind of physical activity. Whether you enjoy strenuous physical activity like weight-lifting or long-distance running or you simply like to walk to work every day, increased flexibility is a huge advantage.
Surfing is one of the best sports for increasing flexibility. Paddling, lifting yourself onto the board, maneuvering waves, balancing, and improving core strength all contribute to more agile muscles that are ready for any physical activity.