Not everyone has the advantage of living near an ocean and being able to go surfing any day of the week, but for those who do, it is a tremendous opportunity to get fit and stay healthy. It’s a fun recreational activity that has a culture all its own, and it offers a number of health and fitness benefits.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of surfing:
- Cardiovascular and heart health: Surfing is a great cardiovascular exercise, using mostly upper body muscles to do the paddling work, and leg muscles to guide the board once you’re up and riding. Since surfing involves more time paddling, it provides an intense upper body and core workout. Paddling out against the waves requires a lot of effort.
- Mental health: Physical exercise, especially something as fun as surfing, helps to offset the negative effects of stress.
- Vitamin D: The vitamin D you get from being out in the sun is essential for strong bones, as it regulates the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. Vitamin D also helps regulate the growth of skin cells.
- Better sleep: Numerous studies show that regular exercise, surfing included, increases the positive benefits that sleep brings. Sleep is important because it allows time for your muscles to repair themselves and, let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like the wonderful feeling of waking in the morning feeling refreshed.
- Workout: Surfing strengthens the core and legs, and it develops your body through the constantly changing movement and height of the waves. Based on an activity calculator on HealthStatus.com, a 180-pound person surfing for 30 to 60 minutes can burn as many as 130 to 260 calories.
- Muscle strengthening: Paddling strengthens back and shoulder muscles, and you can get toned legs and a build a strong core by surfing due to the balance required once you’re up on the board.
- Improved balance: One of the best exercise benefits associated with surfing is the improvement that it creates in your balance. In order to stay on the surfboard, you must have a strong ability to maintain your balance. This skill carries over into everyday life.
- Increased flexibility: Surfing can also help to increase your flexibility, which not only helps you become a better surfer, but can also aid in the prevention of injuries both on and off the surfboard.
- Self gratification: Surfing is not the easiest sport to learn. It takes time, commitment and perseverance in order to progress. But once you commit and overcome this barrier, the rewards are huge. You will not only enjoy all the physical and mental benefits that surfing has to offer, but you’ll also have proven to yourself that you can achieve goals that at some point seem unattainable.
- Stress relief: If you’re experiencing a lot of stress at work or at home, surfing provides an avenue for you to release your stress for real. You can momentarily forget your problems while you’re way out there conquering those waves.