People living at the coast are the lucky ones to have an opportunity to do surfing. While it is widely known that surfing is quite an entertaining activity that gives a person a lot of good feelings, is it possible that this activity can be used to bring health benefits, both physical and psychological ones? The answer is yes! Here are the reasons why you should definitely consider surfing as a part of your life, even if you are not that close to the coast.
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Mental health issues
It has turned out that surfing has highly positive impact on one’s mental health, being a highly effective therapy for treating mental illnesses, particularly at their grave stages where patients’ life quality, ability to maintain social connections and simply manage their daily lives were seriously affected. For example, surfing has proven to be an excellent treating measure in case of combat-related PTSD among US combat veterans. As results of the program ‘Surf Clinic’ by San Diego Naval Medical Center that takes about 30 combat veterans surfing weekly have demonstrated, the patients regain control of their lives, experience significant pain decrease, particularly amputees suffering from phantom pains, and easier maintain daily life routines. The scientific findings based on the study of PTSD in British combat veterans can be found here. Moreover, these results allow to suppose that surfing may be generally efficient in mental illnesses’ treatment, e.g., depression, anxiety disorders etc.
The curing effects of surfing on mental health are thoroughly described in an award-winning documentary of a surfer Josh Izenberg called Resurface.
Izenberg, who is a keen explorer of the benefits surfing therapy is able to offer, has created this film specifically for demonstrating the immense power of surfing in treating PTSD. In the film, combat veterans who have been suffering from PTSD as a result of their military experience share their experience of the surfing therapy and its overall effect on their mental health and life quality.
Preventing cardiovascular diseases
Surfing is a perfect preventive measure for cardiovascular issues thanks to its ability involve our body systems as fully as possible without overloading them at the same time as jogging or other athletics. The very concept of surfing includes both upper and lower body into active physical exercise with the former working during paddling and the latter to maintain balance on the board. Moreover, it will keep one’s joints safe from traumas due to lower impact on them, will redistribute the burden evenly between body systems and will gradually lead to much better ability to keep balance as well as improve general body strength.
Current statistics says there are 1 in 68 children in the US who get affected by autism spectrum disorders, with boys having it 4 times more than the girls (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls respectively). For this kids, who often have significant trouble dealing with social interactions and developing social skills, surfing becomes a highly effective kind of therapy. As Heather Porter from Temple University states, ‘the surfing resulted in significant outcomes for assertion, empathy, responsibility, engagement, positive functioning, resilience, self-esteem, emotional wellbeing, vitality, friendship, social trust, physical health, and enjoyment in the outside environment’.
Of course, there are many people who are not able to afford such a thing as regular surfing. In such a case, one could try make it work going for a special program on vacation if one falls under the category of people who get assistance with it (like combat veterans, children with autism etc.). The others can just get all the necessary stuff and head for the ocean to give themselves an incredible experience of relaxation, mindfulness and being one-on-one with the nature.