The True Benefits of Surfing
We all know that surfing is a great exercise and outlet for energy; there’s nothing better than hitting the waves when feeling down or stressed or just wanting to expel some energy. However, surfing is much more than just a physical exercise, it’s a way of life that can provide an array of physical and mental benefits.
- Strength and Muscle Building. When you first begin riding waves you will immediately notice your already-sore muscles getting tired. Surfing is hard work and keeping your balance will require all of your muscles to work at a heightened level. With continuous days of practice, your muscles will not only get toned but will gain endurance and resilience.
- Cardio. Not only does surfing condition your muscles, it really gets your heart rate going. It may appear as merely a feat of strength, but surfing is most certainly intense cardio (and thus an excellent calorie-burner). All the duck-dives under waves and wipeouts at the end of them have you deep breathing for hours on end. Heart-pumping cardio is, of course, the key to fat-burning in the body but so too is muscle-building. That surfing allows you to do both simultaneously makes it a uniquely potent exercise — while also being immensely fun.
- Mind-Body Connection. We often think of surfing as purely physical — all about exercise and movement. However, surfing is also about one the most valuable things in life: mind-body connection. In order to stay connected to the actions of your body, your mind has to be present and ready to influence decisions. It is only when you leave your thoughts and worries aside that you will finally be able to ride the waves.
- Living in the present. The meditative moments in life come from focusing on the here and now but we rarely get to do that. When you surf, it’s just you, the waves and the present moment. While some look to yoga, tai chi, or pilates for inner peace, surfers find that special, mind-altering experience during those few, blissful seconds on the face of a wave. This is the gift given by the sea: the ability to concentrate fully and meditate on the present.
- Happiness. Surfing will bring you more than just the satisfaction of riding a wave, it will deliver you self-confidence and self-acceptance. It will give you time to be yourself, to free your mind from any worries and to exercise gratitude for your body that so capably allows you to walk on water.
Juliana Tamayo is a journalist and writer from Colombia living in Washington, DC. She’s a contributor for various blogs and news sites. When she’s not writing and reading, she enjoys dancing, yoga and golf. You can find more about her on her website www.jtrcontent.com