By Ashley Smith
Anyone who lives by a beach should take advantage of their proximity to the water by surfing as much as possible. Surfing is more than just a fun way to pass the time for beach bums and risk takers–it’s a challenging activity with incredible benefits. Here are some of the many physical, emotional, and mental benefits of surfing:
Riding the waves may look easy, but it’s far from it. Surfers must use a number of different muscles in order to paddle into the water, pull themselves up, and balance on their boards. This is a challenging workout that strengthens and tones muscles in the arms, abs, back, shoulders, chest, legs, and hips.
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend doing 30 minutes of cardio exercise five days a week. Many people dread running on the treadmill or jumping on a spin bike to meet this requirement, so why not ride the waves instead? Surfing is a great cardio exercise. By surfing on a regular basis, you can improve the performance and functioning of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system.
Surfers also become more self-aware by riding the waves. This activity forces them to connect with their bodies, identify their limitations, and acknowledge their strengths. Becoming more self-aware can build confidence and help individuals increase their emotional intelligence. Some people meditate to reach this level of self-awareness, but others prefer working towards it out in the open water.
Clears the Mind
Surfers must focus all of their attention on balancing on their boards and getting ready for the next wave. Because this requires so much attention, surfers don’t have time to worry about anything else. Anyone who has a lot on their mind can benefit greatly from paddling out into the water and riding a few waves.
Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium, which is an important mineral that strengthens bones. Your body can get vitamin D from many different foods, but it can also absorb vitamin D from the sun. Instead of relying on certain foods or supplements, get your daily dose of vitamin D directly from the sun.
Surfing can also improve your mood. This is because surfing releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that make you feel more energized and upbeat. Surfing is such an effective mood enhancer that mental health professionals often suggest that their clients with depression, anxiety or PTSD try riding a few waves.
Sense of Belonging
Taking up surfing is a great way to meet new people. The surfing community is tight-knit, but it’s also inclusive, so everyone who loves this sport is welcome to join. Being welcomed into a group of new friends can give surfers a sense of belonging, which can make them feel more relaxed and boost their confidence.
Surfing is truly a full-body workout that works everything from the mind to the muscles. If you’re ready to reap the rewards of surfing, find an instructor in your community who can teach you the basics of this fun activity. Before you know it, you’ll be riding the waves like a professional. Surf’s up!
Have you watched our film A Swell Life, which talks about the inspiration behind SwellWomen’s conception (hint: it’s surfing!) and how we envision surfing making a global, large-scale impact. Watch it, or experience it in real life on one of our awesome surf retreats in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, or anywhere!