For many people, it’s pretty safe to say that surfing is one of the best activities out there. What many don’t realize is that surfing has a wide variety of health benefits.
Not only does it help our bodies to stay in shape, it also helps our minds.
In this article, we’re going to discuss all of the health benefits of surfing in hopes to get you out in the water more, as well as to feel better about spending your time surfing in general.
Without further ado, here are our top 13 health benefits of surfing in no particular order.
1. It Can Help With Your Mental Health
If you or anyone you know is struggling with a mental affliction such as autism, PTSD, depression, etc., surfing can be a great way to combat that. Of course it isn’t a completely substitute for medication or therapy, though can have amazing supplemental effects. Gary Katz, a licensed social worker from Manhattan, is a major proponent of surf therapy. He says that the physical exercise and sensory experience you get from surfing is a great way to disconnect, better your mood, or just have fun, all ways to help your step away from your mental troubles.
2. Helps to Treat Diabetes
We all know that surfing can help you to develop a stronger core, though did you know that having a strong core can actually have secondary effects in combatting diabetes? This is because having extra weight in your core area is actually one of the biggest causes of type 2 diabetes. Paddling, balancing, swimming, etc., are all great ways to strengthen your core and keep your weight down. You can also try stand up paddling if you want to take it even further.
3. Can Relieve Stress
Stress is something that all modern people seem to deal with. This is because it’s so easy for us to constantly be working or connected to our phones. Surfing is nostalgic in a way, as it helps us to have fun without the need to be connected to anything else but the ocean. In turn, it can help us to relieve tons of stress. Try to go for a 30-minute surf session after a long day of work. We promise that you’ll feel a million times better after getting out of the water.
4. Get Your Vitamin D
Sitting in the sun is hands down the best way to get your intake of Vitamin D for the day. While it’s possible to take supplements and eat certain Vitamin D rich foods, you’re much better off getting it from the sun. Vitamin D has many helpful qualities, one being that it promotes bone growth, as well as cell renewal. Now please don’t go and bake in the sun, as that will just inhibit any sort of growth and cause you to burn, but taking the sun in moderation will do you just fine. You can actually get your daily dose of Vitamin D with only 10-15 minutes in the sun.
5. Strengthen Your Back
Most of us spend our days hunched over a desk at work without ever noticing that our posture has slowly diminished over the past couple of years. We’re not spending enough time keeping our spines and the muscles in our back in great condition. Surfing can help with that, as it’s probably one of the best back exercises out there. From paddling around the ocean waves, to popping up on your board, to just carrying your gear down to the ocean, you will have a big, strong back in no time.
6. Helps to Fight Insomnia
Exercise is one of the best things to help fight insomnia or general sleeplessness. There’s no doubt you’ve heard that before, as it is a common truth. That being said, surfing is excellent exercise, meaning that it can help you sleep better too! If you notice that you’re having trouble sleeping at night, try and surf before you stay in for the evening. Don’t surf in the evening though, as the added adrenaline can actually make you feel more awake as you lie in bed.
7. Combats Cardiovascular Diseases
Cardiovascular diseases are some of the top reasons people die in the US. While it is necessary to have a great diet to combat these sorts of diseases, it is also necessary to get enough cardio in your daily exercise routine. Surfing is easily one of the best forms of cardio out there, as it involves a lot of paddling, swimming, and core balance. Besides waiting in the lineup, you’re constantly pushing through some of Mother Nature’s strongest elements. If you suffer from any sort of cardiovascular disease, or just need a new form of cardio in your exercise routine, we recommend taking up surfing.
8. Improves Your Balance
Improving your balance can be very important, especially as you move into old age. This is something that many people don’t think about because they don’t realize how it can carry over into other aspects of their lives. If you’re into any other sports, be it snowboarding, skating, gymnastics, hockey, etc., this can work as compound exercise to better your balance in those sports. To actually surf, it is important to first be able to balance on your board when you hit a wave. A number of factors, mental and physical, go into having great balance. Surfing is a way to amplify those factors.
9. Help You To Become More Flexible
Surfing can help to great increase your flexibility. Having great flexibility is amazing for a number of reasons. For starters, it can help to reduce the risk of injury whether you are surfing, playing sports, or just living your daily life. Secondly, being able to move your muscles in their full range of motion can help you to get more blood and oxygen to them, allowing you to not only perform better, but relax better at the end of the day.
10. It Can Help To Inspire You
Whoever says surfing is easy has probably never surfed. Becoming a great surfer takes a ton of time, commitment, and mental strength, in order to overcome obstacles and persevere. Those who have seen themselves become better surfers over time will tell you that it is a very rewarding and motivating experience. Not only does it prove to you that you can overcome physical obstacles in your life, but also overcome possible fears to reach things that, at one point, may have seemed far out of reach.
11. It Can Enhance Your Spirituality
You don’t have to believe in God or be religious to feel spiritual. Getting on a surfboard and paddling out into the deep blue can help you have moments of perspective, realization, calmness, oneness, openness, and so on, all which deal with our spirituality. Being surrounded by the expanse of the ocean and peering off into the horizon helps us to appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature more than anything else. It can help us to disconnect from the struggles of modern society and feel at peace with the things happening in our lives. There is a reason why people often meditate or do yoga at the beach. In a way, surfing is a form of meditation.
12. It Can Bring People Together
The surfing community is one of the strongest communities out there. People from all walks of life can come together in a lineup to enjoy the beauty and excitement of the waves. It can help you to meet new people and make friends, in turn getting rid of stress and helping you to feel a sense of belonging. You may have heard that surfers are very territorial, which is true for some people, though most surfers we’ve met are actually some of the most down to earth people around.
13. Surfing is Fun!
Lastly, surfing is fun! That’s why most of us surf to begin with. The excitement of catching a wave, busting out a new maneuver, or just gearing up for a day in the salt and sun with good friends, is unparalleled.