Surfing for your mind and body
Surfing is incredibly fun and is a great activity to do with friends or on holiday. As we got more involved with the surfing community we realised that there were many more benefits, both mentally and physically, than just having a good time.
We are dedicating this blog post to Sophie Clarke, who we tragically lost in October 2020 but who loved surfing, sport, travelling and adventure. The Sophie Clarke Foundation is a charity organisation who aims to actively promote awareness of mental health issues, join the fight against suicide and support charities that have the power to make a real difference.
They have partnered with the Sea Sanctuary in Cornwall a charity who harnesses the concept of ‘blue health’. This is the idea that exposure to ‘blue spaces’, such as the ocean, has a beneficial effect on mental and emotional wellbeing. Read on below for more mental and physical benefits of surfing...
Improves mental health
Working out is a brilliant way to release happy hormones and clear your mind. The concentration and focus required to surf helps you forget about your daily stresses and practise mindfulness. Research by the Wave Project has proven that mental wellbeing increases when you surf and reports that participants become less angry, more confident, calmer and more connected to each other. The Wave Project is a brilliant charity aimed to help young people with mental health disorders and we want to promote this powerful message. It isn't just surfing which can have a positive impact on your mental health, The Barcelona Institute for Global Health found that interacting with blue space can effect your mental wellbeing and also reduce stress.
Exercise is a great way to improve sleep and promote healthy sleep patterns. As surfing requires a lot of energy it tires you out and your body tends to fall into a deeper sleep so that you can repair your muscles! Being outside also increases melatonin and you'll feel more energised by being out in the elements, both of which are great for improving sleep. Getting enough good quality sleep is important and has a positive impact on your wellbeing. We also love surfing in the evenings as it gives us a few hours away from a screen after work and prevents us mindlessly scrolling through social media. Again all great for sleep!
Improves coordination and balance
Standing up on a board in the middle of the ocean, trying to ride a wave is no easy feat. No matter how much we practise we always fall off...and that is one of the reasons we love it! The good thing is, whilst we are having fun out on the surf board, we are actually improving our coordination and balance without even noticing. No matter what level you are, the waves will always be different and will test your balance!
Improves muscle strength
Another great benefit of surfing is improving muscle strength. It is a brilliant cross-body workout, using your core, arms, chest and legs! As it is a low impact sport you are less likely to get sore knees and ankles like you can get from running. It is also great resistance training, especially when you are paddling against the current and wind! You'll notice that after a few sessions you'll feel much stronger and start to build lean muscle.
Improves heart health
Paddling against the waves is not easy at the pros make it look, as I have learnt many times! The great news is, whilst it is difficult at the time, it is also great for your heart. A session is the water is great for improving your overall fitness, cardio and heart health. It is recommended that you do about 150 minutes of moderate exercise and surfing absolutely counts towards that!
If you are interested in supporting The Sea Sanctuary and The Sophie Clarke Foundation please refer to the links below.
This blog post is dedicated to Sophie Clarke and the Sophie Clarke Foundation.
Surfing was a great love of Sophie and she will be forever remembered.