As surfers (aka humans) we all know, the ocean has endless benefits. It renews our soul by washing away any bad mood, last weekend’s horrendous hangover and (not so beneficially) the occasional bikini top - but did you also know about the rad health benefits that come with surfing?
1. Our favourite one - You can eat more cookies!
Yep, you’re hearing right!! From carrying the board down to the beach to paddling out against crashing waves, surfing makes your heart pound. Even taking off a wetsuit can work up a bit of a sweat.
Depending on the challenging conditions of the waves, surfing can help build a strong core, tone arms, legs and bottoms, improve lung capacity and lose fat quickly. More importantly, for every 30 minutes of surfing, you can burn on average the equivalent of a few chocolate cookies.
2. You can get yo’self some serious muscles
Surfing is a whole body workout, mainly focusing on the core muscles. This is from carrying a board, paddling, popping up to ride a wave and digging in hard to hold that rail. Developing core muscles through surfing is also essential for balance and mobility in the body. The physical health of our body can be vastly improved if we maintain a strong core. It also gives you a great reason to ditch the gym. Hit nature instead!
If you doubt that surfing makes you fitter, take a quick moment to internet stalk some professional surfers (for research purposes obviously). You’ll find that we might just be onto something here!
3. It’s WAAAAAAAY cheaper than a therapist!
Surfing is known to release ‘feel good’ hormones (endorphins), with growing evidence for it improving self-confidence, enhancing mood and calming anxiety. The “stoke” that is worn on a surfers face for the entire day after an epic session is testament to that!
There have been successful surf therapy programs in psychotherapy, teaching individuals to learn how to surf over a period of time. Waves for Change and One Wave are just two examples of organisations bringing surf therapy into the mainstream. Do google them if you’re in need of some extra support.
4. Saltwater is a free beautician
The sea is packed with the most amazing minerals and nutrients sourced throughout time from ancient eroded landscapes. There are six main ions found in seawater. The ones that benefit humans the most are Magnesium, Calcium and Potassium. All of these ions are vital minerals needed by the human body to function and to replenish. Their potential benefits to our human skin is immense, with properties that are antibacterial, hydrating and cleansing. (Just look at the beautiful creatures that live in the ocean!! Do I need to say more?!)
The noticeable benefits to human skin can simply be experienced from relaxing in the sea and simply from being outdoors - either way get out there! (& wear one of our tried and tested zinc-based sunscreens to protect both your skin and the reef!)
5. Surfing builds up your resilience
You know that feeling when you’re just done with the world? When you are about to lose your shit and you just can’t remain cool under stressful situations i.e. not crying at work or shouting at your flatmate. We are all human. We do it. But it sucks!
How do we avoid this? We need to support ourselves through self care and in turn, build our resilience.
Surfing requires a significant amount of resilience and dedication, constantly battling waves, getting caught inside and feeling the effects of a washing machine. The strength to get back on your board and paddle back out to the lineup is resilience. Even getting in a wetsuit at 6am in the dark is a dedicated practice. Developing resilience is a major component in the support of our mental health, therefore by surfing more, you might just be able to handle that weekly 9am Monday meeting a liiiiiiitttttlle better.
So what are you waiting for? Slap on some zinc, grab your wettie and your board and get out there!
Written by Olivia Burton and edited by Indigo and Salt. Photographs by Mikala Wilbow from She Surfs Photography.