As workouts go, surfing has to be up there as one of the most fun ways to keep kit. You don’t do it in a dark, busy gym, you’re outside in nature with the therapeutic feeling of the water all around you.
No two waves are the same either, keeping you eagerly invested in waiting for that perfect one. It’s this sense of desire that translates to hours spent in the water.
The physical and mental benefits are well documented within the surf community and wider evidence is now growing about just how good surfing can be for your health.
Not only does it combine aerobic exercise with strength training, it also provides you with a stress-relieving mental health workout as you learn new skills and enjoy the thrills of the sport.
Below we’ll take a look at some of the main benefits of surfing, explaining why it is such an incredible all-round method of working out both your mind and body at the same time.
Great for the heart
Firstly, surfing is a great exercise for improving cardiovascular endurance. The best cardiovascular exercise is one that allows your heart rate to speed up just enough to a point where you can achieve the best results from your workout activity.
If it’s too low, you won’t get to the required level that the body needs in order for cardiovascular and respiratory fitness to improve.
On the other hand, if it’s too high, you’ll tire easily and won’t be able to sustain your workout long enough to achieve the maximum health benefits.
The workout you get through surfing builds up heart strength through a mixture of paddling, standing up on the board and continuously working out your core muscles.
It allows you the control of sustaining and pacing your heart rate, even when you’re quickly paddling to your next wave.
As briefly touched upon above, surfing is an incredibly effective way of strengthening your muscles.
As well as building strength in your upper body and legs, the cross-training nature of the sport is an equally good workout for your core muscles, making it an extremely efficient full body workout.
When you’re paddling out on your board, your shoulder and upper back muscles are in action. It’s then the triceps, biceps, deltoids and core muscles that all kick in as you reach towards the oncoming wave.
Later, when you’re preparing yourself to ride the wave your pectoralis major along with the rest of your arm muscles will lift your upper body to ensure you’re ready and upright on your board.
It’s this coordinated muscle work that will earn you a fit and well-proportioned body figure. Not only will you look good, but your balance and stability will be vastly improved too.
Developing this strong core will make it easier for you to carry out everyday physical activities, further demonstrating the value of surfing as a workout.
Surfing is widely known for its therapeutic benefits. Whether it’s the adrenaline of catching a wave just right, or the simple feeling of being in the water, the time spent learning to surf and improving your skills is ideal for clearing the mind.
Added to this, the warmth of the sun and the salty scent of the sea spray, and you can see how it provides you with a real sense of communing with nature.
Surfing as a workout requires a considerable amount of focus and concentration. In that way, it’s a great escape from day-to-day life and a good method of removing stress.
And to be honest, nothing quite compares to chasing down stress like the euphoric feeling you experience when connecting with a wave.
It’s not some groundbreaking revelation to state that exercise can help you get a better night’s sleep. However, evidence does suggest that the wrong type of exercise at the wrong time can actually interfere with the quality of your sleep.
Fortunately for surfers this isn’t a problem, with regular cardiovascular workouts strongly linked to better sleeping patterns.
Doing your exercise in the day rather than closer to bedtime also contributes to better sleep, and most surfers aren’t surfing at bedtime right?
Despite the laid back nature of a lot of surfers, the sport is officially classed as ‘vigorous exercise’ by most health experts.
Therefore, by definition, a great way to burn calories. In fact, a good surfing workout can burn roughly the same amount of calories as playing football, mountain biking or a session in the gym.
Unlike many other sports and pastimes such as running, surfing is also low impact so significantly better for your knees and hip joints.
Surfing is one of those sports that brings people from all walks of life together. Regardless of age, gender, personality or experience, surfers are welcoming and friendly.
Obviously there’ll be exceptions to the rule, but in general, there’s always a sense of fellowship whenever they’re out in the ocean together.
You’re not there to compete against one another (unless that’s what you’re into of course), you’re primarily competing with yourself. Your surfer brother and sisters are just there to hype you up and offer encouragement.
This natural camaraderie that comes with surfing has further benefits with research showing that it’s better to work out with some form of company rather than working out alone.
When you’re with a warm and friendly group of surfers you’ll enjoy your workout even more!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is surfing a good way to lose weight?
As mentioned above, surfing is an effective way to burn fat and excess calories. The average surfer will typically burn around 400 calories per hour while surfing. So yes, a great way of losing weight.
Can you get ripped from surfing?
Surfing is a full body workout, including a significant amount targeted at your core muscles. If all you’re after is a six-pack, surfing won’t guarantee you one, but it’ll certainly help to strengthen those abs.