Surfing is a popular sport that millions of people across the globe engage in for physical fitness, relaxation and to clear the mind. The simple fact that surfing is accomplished in a natural environment that is peaceful and tranquil makes it a good sport for physical and mental health. Physical activity is known to reduce negative mood states particularly if there is a certain amount of risk.
Interacting with nature through surfing
Surfing is an adventure-based physical activity that is considered an ideal alternative to common sports and exercises. Surfing involves an element of risk and has to be accomplished in a natural environment like the ocean. It is a high-intensity sport that requires mental and physical commitment. Exercising in a natural environment is believed to have positive effects on both the physical and mental health of a person.
Scientists believe that exercising in the presence of water has a positive effect on a person’s mood. The mood can influence a person’s feeling of satisfaction with life, his ability to deal with daily life’s ups and downs, and how choices are made regarding work, school, and relationships. Mood disorders are major components of mental illness. As it turns out, physical activity in the presence of water can lower stress levels and leads to lower levels of mental fatigue.
The risks and rewards of surfing
Surfing has its share of risks. A person must be committed to managing the risks of falling from the surfboard. The ocean is a challenging environment that has to be overcome to enjoy the sport.
However, the joy of riding the waves is enough reward for a surfer. The moments of feeling good about the accomplishment are linked to improvements in mental health. When the person feels energized, his negative mood states like anger and depression are significantly reduced.
Surfers often experience a good feeling when they catch a wave; a feeling that can manage mental health. For people suffering from PTSD, surfing can increase their capacity to have positive feelings of joy and satisfaction and helps them manage the mood in the face of an acute threat to survival.
Benefits of high-intensity physical activity to the brain
Surfing is a high-intensity and challenging physical activity that has positive effects on the brain. The different challenges associated with surfing include being able to carry your own surfboard, high-intensity paddling to catch a wave, pushing up to be able to stand on the surfboard, and proper balance so as not to fall from the surfboard. Research has shown that high-intensity physical activity affects different areas of the brain like the amygdala and hippocampus that are involved in responding to threats and stress. Surf therapy may help in improving the quality of life of persons with PTSD.
If you are not a surfer yet, why not try to rediscover yourself at Surf Therapy Devon? The surf therapy retreat offers all levels of surfing experience for complete beginners to experienced surfers in a safe and beautiful location. Surfing will allow you to drop some of your frustrations and sadness in the waters. You can learn more here.