Physical health benefits of surfing

By Kim Schiffmann, in Surf, Health · 05-02-2021 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

If you are looking to get physically fit without spending too much money on gym fees or personal trainers, surfing might be the sport for you.

I thought I would let you guys know about some of the health benefits of surfing.

Muscle Strength
Surfing is a full body workout. Paddling (which you will do a lot of while surfing) strengthens arm, shoulder, neck and back muscles while also engaging your core. When changing into a standing position and surfing a wave, most of the work is done by your bottom, thigh and calf muscles but the core stays engaged the whole time since they are the main muscles used to balance yourself. Which brings us to the next benefit.

Balance is one of the most important aspects of surfing, you do it while you lay on your board paddling around, you do it when you sit in the line-up and you do it while you are riding a wave. There is really no escaping this and it is a great way to quickly improve your balance skills.

Heart Health
If you have ever been surfing you know how exhausting it can be to get out into the line-up and past all the breaking waves. You have to do this after every wave you caught and you can’t stop for a half-way-break because the waves will simply push you back onto the sand. So to paddle out there against the waves makes for a great cardio that strengthens your heart and after a while it will also lower your resting heart rate and your blood pressure which decreases the risk of heart attacks and strokes as well as other diseases.

Immune System
Submerging yourself regularly in cold water has great benefits for your body. It improves blood circulation, lymphatic and immune system and can even help to relieve headaches and pains and can also act as an anti-inflammatory. This is the reason you see so many athletes bathe is ice water when they have an injury. Luckily, for us in Portugal, there is loads of cold water all around us.

Calorie Burner
Surfing is, as I have already mentioned, a full body work out, which means it is a fast and fun way to burn lots of calories. While surfing in cold water your body burns about 500 calories in an hour, depending on your weight.
Vitamin D
There is really no avoiding the sun when surfing and as we all know sunshine is a great source of vitamin D, which we need to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. It helps to keep teeth, bones and muscles healthy.

Sleep Quality
Believe it or not, but surfing can even help you improve your sleep quality. Being outdoors increases the melatonin in your body. Melatonin is a hormone your brain produces and it helps with the timing of your cardiac rhythm and consequently helps you maintain a healthy sleep pattern. Also physical exhaustion is a something that factors into the improved sleep quality, the exercise helps you fall asleep faster and deeper in order to allow your body to repair the muscles that you have worked.

Skin and Hair
There is a reason why surfers always have such great skin and hair. Saltwater is a natural exfoliant which will not only make your skin and scalp super soft but it also detoxes your face of pollutants. A lot of skin care products actually contain saltwater or seaweed, but when you surf you get this benefit for free and without even having to anything other than just enjoying some waves and fun.

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