Most of us spend a significant amount of time behind a computer or at a sedentary job, with at least 6-8 hours of no movement at all. In addition to no movement, the stress of pollution and poor lifestyle choices we make on occasion can slowly deteriorate your heart health.
But those who live in the sunny California, or perhaps on the coast of Australia, have the perfect opportunity to soak in the sun and boost your cardiovascular well-being. Since it’s an all-time favorite activity of adrenaline-junkies and an equally popular sport among average fitness enthusiasts, including surfing into your weekly schedule will help give your heart a decent workout.
Low-Impact on Joints
Unlike a typical running, jogging or jump-rope session, surfing safeguards your joints from overuse. Surfing also has the ability to push your body into the right heart rate range of 65%-85%, and perhaps even higher when the waves aren’t doing you any favors.
Your ankles, hips, knees and your back will remain engaged throughout the activity, but without being overburdened. High-impact sports such as running on pavement and similar hard surfaces can overwork your body. Not to mention that running only marginally involves your upper body muscles, while surfing lets you activate your entire body without compromising your joint health and safety.
The Best of Both Worlds
When it comes to mild and moderate cardiovascular workouts, those who are just starting out their exercise routine may be reluctant to step on the board. With the right weather conditions and the right equipment, even beginner surfers can slowly acclimatize to the new activity and increase their cardiovascular engagement in time.
Simply put, surfing allows you to reap the rewards of both moderate cardio activity, which is recommended for adults to take part in five times per week and in 30-minute increments, and high-intensity cardio exercise as well. Although your body requires approximately 25 minutes of the latter three times per week, surfing can account for both in a single session, keeping your heart rate in the right ranges and for the suitable amount of time.
In addition to its aerobic qualities, surfing is quite a challenge on your entire body, allowing you to build your strength as well. When you paddle your surfboard into the ocean, your upper body will be engaged, while your core will help you maintain your stability all throughout the exercise. As for your legs, glutes and back, they are the foundation of every surfing move there is, so you’ll need to grow stronger as you move onto more challenging waves and moves.
Your muscle mass will grow, helping your body replace the unwanted fat deposits on your belly or hips with lean muscle. This allows your body to become more efficient at burning calories on a daily basis, and help improve your metabolism. Finally, with more strength at your disposal, you can further enhance your cardiovascular health and endurance.
The effort you need to invest in order to stay on your board while fighting the strong current is tremendous enough to challenge your stamina and elevate your heart rate. In addition, you will improve your balance. This can translate directly into your daily life, making many of your strenuous activities much easier and simple. Carrying an uneven load from the grocery store or balancing on an icy pavement are just some examples.
However, in order to stay on the safe side, make sure you get your equipment from a reliable surf shop online, where you can find the right leashes, wax and the perfect wetsuit to protect you from the elements. But don’t get your hopes up, these essentials will not in any way make the process any less demanding on your balance and endurance, they merely serve to protect.
The Stress-Relief Factor
The last, and perhaps the most commonly underestimated effect surfing can have on your heart health is its ability to provide you with your much-needed relief from stress and anxiety. A typical modern lifestyle is often riddled with all kinds of environmental pollution, exposing your body to incredible amounts of stress. Also, emotional and psychological setbacks we all face can have a negative impact on your cardiovascular health.
Surfing lets you immerse yourself in a completely isolated environment. It gives you the opportunity to reconnect with nature in the most profound manner, meditate while on the board and help you control your breathing. Combine all of these factors and you get a perfect heart-friendly exercise regime that effectively battles the stresses in your everyday life.