Surfing Health Benefits for your Body
Surfing is a great sport, it gives a great workout and is fun. But some will wonder What Are The Health Benefits Of Surfing For Your Body? How will it affect you physically, emotionally, and mentally is great to know. To most surfers, it will change their lives and will live with a surfing/beach lifestyle forever. Surfers will travel miles and miles to find that perfect wave and perfect swell for them to just have fun. It is an extreme sport and art all at the same time. It is a special sport that cannot be compared to any other sport as it will make you feel unstoppable as you are gliding over the water in your own world.
Surfing has so many positive benefits of what it does to your body physically and mentally. This sport looks easy to outsiders as professional surfers cut through the waves with ease, but in reality, it is very intricate, it takes a lot of time and practice to surf well and read what the waves are doing. Paddling and standing up on a board will definitely be a cardiovascular activity, will strengthen your upper body, lower body as well as core strength and improve your flexibility. On top of all that the satisfaction of catching waves will become an addictive experience as you progress each day. Surfing will decrease stress and put you in such a positive mood.
Physical Benefits Of Surfing
When considering, what are the health benefits of surfing for your body, you need to understand that surfing is a very physical sport and it starts with the most important part of surfing; paddling. It might not seem like it when you watch videos but paddling is the only way to get out to the lineup in many surf spots around the world. It is not the only reason to paddle, it will get you out of harm’s way in the water and will also help you catch lots of waves. If you don’t paddle, you will not be able to catch waves. Paddling is the one part that will give you a cardio workout. When practiced in endurance it will make it easier for you to surf longer and catch more waves which is every surfer’s dream. A cardio workout is not the only benefit of paddling; you will also tone your arms (Triceps especially), shoulder and back muscles that are mainly involved in the activity. Always know that paddling a longboard and a shortboard are two different things. Paddling a longboard is much easier and faster because they are longer, wider, have more volume and thickness than a shortboard which in turn makes you float a lot better. Longboards are good for long distance paddling as you look to build that endurance on some flat days. Shortboards, on the other hand, are harder to paddle since they are shorter, narrower, and thinner as well as having less volume, they do not float as good as longboards do. When paddling a shortboard, the surfer has to give it more power and energy compared to a longboard.
Physically and Mentally Ready To Catch Some Waves
Now we are ready to catch some wave! When standing up on a surfboard your body can shift for balancing from the head, toe, left or right depending or where you are applying the weight on the board. It is not easy to balance on a board but with some exercises, it will become easier as you practice more. For example exercises on a balance board or stability ball will work on your balance and greatly improve your overall stabilization. When balancing, your core muscles will come in place as they are targeted to achieve maneuvers in surfing. To just do a pop-up (standing up in an explosive manner), balancing on the board, and a basic turn will require strong and stable core muscles to harmonize your whole body as you are executing the move. The same thing goes for intermediate and advanced surfers, such as a cutback, snap, hanging ten, and cross stepping (for longboarders) for example.
The final part looks very easy when watching but in reality is probably the hardest part of surfing: staying up on the board as the ocean tells lets you know that it is the “boss”. This will require a lot of leg strength to stay in place and balance on the board. Your center of gravity will always change and that is when leg strength with a tight core will keep you in place for you to not fall off the board. Some exercises for this would include squats, lunges, and even wall sits.
Surfing is super fun and I recommend to everyone to try it at least once in their lifetime. At least now you know how much upper body, lower body, and core strength surfing requires as well as flexibility and endurance. It is a whole body workout that will get you toned and in beach body shape forever. As you progress in the sport, you might want to change up your cross stepping technique or achieving bigger maneuvers to keep improving and motivated. For you to do so you will have to practice your balance more and all the muscles involved as well. Some ideas and sports that are in sync with surfing would be using a balance board, swimming, yoga, jiu-jitsu and running.
Mental and Emotional Benefits for Surfing
We all know that exercises, in general, have a positive impact on our body, but it also has a great impact on our physical, mental and emotional overall health. It is known that it will reduce stress and improve your mood. It is explained scientifically that the production of endorphins, is the human’s body pain reliever. The chemical acts as a neurotransmitter and becomes very responsible for managing pain as well as emotional feelings. Surfing has this special term that surfers call “stoke”, that is said after a satisfying surf session, when the waves are really good, or even when something great happens in their life; they are stoked. Stoke is known as a special feeling of euphoria; which is known as an intensive happiness and self-confidence.
Now, you have probably heard of “being in the moment” one time in your life. This is a phrase that surfers use often as well. It is represented as a mental prerequisite of surfing since surfers understand what it meant for this physical sport. Being in the moment will help you and any surfer read the waves the right way as well as positioning them in the right place at the right time for a maneuver. In that case, if you are not “in” the moment, you will miss the best waves and will fall every time you try to do something more challenging. But most importantly that phrase and way of mind will help you enjoy surfing as it is happening at that moment.
Surfable waves are made with nature’s grand design and not human will and power; of course with the exception of wave pools. Surfing in the ocean will make you more aware of the entire environment around you, respect Mother Nature, the big ocean, build patience while waiting for waves, and bring a sense of appreciation and gratefulness when a swell comes your way. All of this is not as intense when surfing a wave pool. I am not saying wave pools are not good (I love them), but I am saying that building all of these characteristics can only be done in the ocean and will make you more appreciative when surfing a perfect wave in a pool. Wave pools will never ever replace the feeling that most surfers have with the ocean, being one and feeling a part of it.
One of the best and special things about surfing is that it brings people together. Surfing, no matter where you are in the world is a big family/community of like-minded individuals that all share the same passion for surfing, paddling to the lineup, and catching amazing waves. Making friends, just like physical activity, has a lot to do with stress relieving by giving you a sense of belonging, self-worth, and self-confidence. Surfing will make you new friends like no other when sharing the same passion is involved.
Even though the negativity remarks about surfing, mainly “localism” only really happens in old school and dangerous spots around the world we live in. It is becoming less and less negative and more and more positive. Most surfers, even locals are now very open, easy going, and acceptable to other people on the planet wanting to learn to surf. If you come into a new surf spot courteous, respectful, generous, easy going, and a great positive attitude; you can expect the same attitude in return.
When surfing in a new place, I recommend for you to be ever more respectful and follow the surf etiquette to the T. If you don’t, you will not get treated well, respected, and the locals will not let you catch any waves by blocking every wave you try to get. But, if you wait for your turn to catch a wave, make sure you are not in anybody’s way and respect all, they will respect you back and accept you very easily. You just have to prove that you are there to share the “stoke” and not to cut another surfer off in the water. Nobody likes that in any part of the world. It’s the same thing when you are the ‘local’ at your home spot, if you are respectful to everybody and welcome new surfers, they will love you and a bond will be created. The more you are open and willing to learn about surfing, the more fun it will be.
So what are you waiting for? Go get your board and head out there and find out for yourself the great physical, emotional, and mental benefits that surfing offers.