How Learning to Surf Can Improve Your Health
Surfing is one of the most versatile sports available and a great way to improve your health. If you haven’t already started, here are a few great reasons you should strap on a wetsuit and pick up a board.
Sustained physical activity is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease and keep your body functioning the way it’s meant to for years. Surfing provides a great form of cardiovascular fitness because you’re constantly moving and engaging various parts of your body, increasing your heart rate and improving your overall health.
Paddling requires you to stretch your arms and swimming utilizes your legs, as does controlling the motion and direction of the board when you’re standing up. There’s rarely ever an instance during surfing where you’re completely still. Also, since it’s fun, you don’t want to quit immediately after starting like you would with other forms of exercising, like running.
Surfing requires constant use of your muscles. You’re pumping your arms and legs to stay afloat, and fighting against the waves as you paddle out into the water to keep the waves from pushing you back in. On top of that, you’re dragging that board with you everywhere you go and it isn’t exactly light.
Your shoulder and back strength will increase tremendously after taking up the sport. Surfing provides full body benefits and helps build the muscles in your limbs as well as your core.
The best thing about surfing is it has to be done outside, so there’s no excuse to avoid the sun. Doctors have been aware of the sun’s role in fighting depression for a while now and surfing provides a great way to soak up the rays if you’re feeling a little blue.
The brain produces more serotonin—the chemical in your brain that lifts your mood and works as a natural antidepressant—on sunny days than on cloudy ones. Not only do you get to enjoy the sunshine while you surf, because surfing typically requires nice weather, but you also get the added bonus of feeling a tad more chipper as you do it.
Wards Off Disease
Depression isn’t the only problem that surfing is equipped to deal with. Hopping on a surfboard and hanging ten has been used as an effective method to combat illnesses of both the body and mind like cystic fibrosis (by improving breathing), autism and PTSD. It’s even been used to help amputees adjust to life with prosthetic limbs.
Because surfing is a sport that doesn’t require an unattainable skillset like excessive height or muscle, just about anyone can do it. It’s the everyman’s sport. Of course, like we said above, cardiovascular fitness of any kind is a great way to increase overall health, and surfing could help boost your immune system in many ways. Always check with your doctor before taking up a new sport though.
Any outlet that helps take your mind off the problems in your life, even if just for a little bit, is a worthy hobby. Surfing requires pretty rapt attention when those waves are crashing down on you at regular intervals, forcing you to forget about your boss’s moody attitude or that upcoming exam. It’s a great form of stress relief.
Chronic stress is a huge problem for many people today and it’s essential to have an escape from the worries in our head. Surfing pumps you up, keeps your mind at ease and allows you to enjoy yourself by forcing you to focus on the task and hand and not the pitfalls in your life.
So, you see, surfing is the perfect sport to learn for anyone seeking a relaxing, non-competitive way to improve their health and overall mood. It might be time to head to the coast if you’re not already there.