By Staff Writer -Ed Barillas
Surfing these days has become a fun and competitive sport for basically all ages and sexes. Wherever there are good rideable waves you can count on there being lots of people looking to enjoy them and take advantage of them for their own personal reason whether for the exercise, excitement or to enjoy the physical benefits of paddling, being out in the sun and fresh air and surfing. This great sport provides various health benefits that extends from excellent cardiovascular fitness, shoulder and back strength, leg and core strength to get you to finally stand up on the board to stay up and ride those tasty waves.
Other great and important health benefits that you can get from surfing can be in developing a closer bond to nature with its natural beauty and raw awesome power and also finding it a good way to relieve tension and stress which is super healthy. The ocean has the power to heal, nurture and strengthen one and you should be mindful of it and take advantage of.
Although surfing is not as easy as it looks with careful practice and perhaps some lessons you can learn the basics and hopefully be able to get up on your feet and see what the world looks like from your surfboard whilst standing and cruising on a wave. Of course all surfers should also be good and strong swimmers as this will is what give them a hand when the tides or surf decides to take you elsewhere and that strength as a swimmer will surely get you back to your board and the shore and safety. It is essential that you have the proper equipment to get the best out of the surf and your board should suit your body and agility.
The positive health results from surfing for 30 minutes is associated with an increase in positive, upbeat feelings and a decrease in negative feelings as well as fatigue and if you were to ask any surfer, he or she will say, “Oh man, I feel a lot better when I’m out in the water and after I get out.” Surfing can help you learn patience and attain peace of mind while in the water as you cannot help but focus on surfing and exclude thoughts about anything else in your life that might be causing stress or anxiety. Exercise in general can elevate your mood, and surfing is now proven to do the same. Surfing is even being used in healing therapy for wounded U.S. Marines diagnosed with combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as it is being done in Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif. The program, known as “ocean therapy,” teaches participants how to surf and to apply skills acquired from surfing and group discussion sessions, including trust, devotion and confidence, to their everyday lives. While the data has yet to be analyzed, anecdotal reports have been very positive.
Surfing may help you lose weight and keep it off as a 150-pound person burns approximately 214 calories per hour surfing as you burn more calories surfing the more you weigh. A 200-pound person burns approximately 286 calories per hour. Whether surfing results in weight loss depends on how often you surf, how much and what you eat and the speed of your metabolism.
Here are some safety tips to follow before you hit the waves:
- Check the beach and make sure you are not alone or better take a friend.
- Look for any surf restrictions on the beach and follow them to the T.
- If you are a beginner its better to stick to small waves and beach breaks with a sandy beach.
- Make sure the top of your board is waxed up or has some form of grip and make sure to check your leg rope which is joined to your foot is in good condition if you value your surfboard.
- Wear organic sunscreen; even on cloudy days. Stay away from those commercial sunscreens as they are loaded with deadly toxins that will kill ALL marine life and reef where you surf.
- Wear what makes you comfortable, everyone has different tolerances for cold water so make sure to use the right size wetsuit. If you need extra protection from the cold wear a steamer, booties, gloves or head gear.
Watch the surf area before you go in to see the best place to paddle out when in trouble or when its time for a break and most importantly watch other people to see how they are getting on out in the surf.
As with any sport warm up before entering the water by running in place, stretch a bit to loosen your muscles and stay hydrated as getting a cramp out in the middle of the water is not a good thing and will ruin your surf outing.
Surfers also tend to eat more healthy foods in general as the lifestyle itself offers it as surfing can be f0und mainly in tropical locations where fresh fruits and vegetables are cheaper and readily available and better than buying fast foods, and as always the better foods that you eat the better you will surf.
Surfing is a wonderful and cool sport which should be taken advantage of more by those looking to stay fit and healthy, so go out and get on that next wave and ride it.
Photo Credits: Katharina Kneip