Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? The enjoyment and healthy benefits of learning how to surf in your 30’s, 40’s and beyond.
Many think surfing is a young persons sport which should only be attempted by youthful, athletic and nimble individuals. Some people even believe that just because they are in their 30’s, 40’s or later years in life, they will never be able to learn how to surf – quite simply because it’s just too late in life to learn such a skill. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, someone who is in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s etc. may not be as agile or flexible as someone who is half their age, but your age shouldn’t stop you from getting in the ocean and enjoying all of the wonderful benefits that surfing has to offer.
As this article will discuss, learning how to surf is a great decision to make – regardless of your age. It is never too late to learn how to surf. Surfing is a zero impact sport, meaning your body is not being subjected to any type of sudden, physical contact. So age (especially those who are in their 30’s & 40’s) should not be a barrier that prevents anyone from learning how to surf. Staying active helps keep you physically fit and exercise also encourages optimum brain functionality. As you get older in life, it becomes very important to stay active and live a healthy lifestyle. Surfing gives you the opportunity to keep your body and mind healthy, while at the same time allowing you to participate in a fun, exhilarating and challenging sport.
Healthy benefits of learning how to surf in your 30’s, 40’s and beyond.
There are many great health benefits – both physically and mentally, that can be gained by learning how to surf. You can gain the same healthy benefits surfing as you would going to the gym for an intense cardiovascular workout. The only difference is, with surfing you get to enjoy the beach and the great outdoors while experiencing the ultimate thrill of participating in an exciting sport.
Physical Benefits of Learning How To Surf
The sport of surfing is not only fun to do, it’s also a great physical workout that can help keep your body fit and healthy. The 4 main areas where surfing can improve your physical health are:
1.Cardiovascular fitness. Cardiovascular or heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the USA. Regular exercise, coupled with a healthy diet has been scientifically proven to help reduce the risk of a person suffering or even dying from heart related problems. Whether you are paddling, duck diving (diving under breaking waves with your surfboard) or standing up riding on a wave, surfing is an activity that requires you to be constantly moving around. This ends up putting physical strain on your muscles and breathing organs. This also causes your heart rate to increase as it tries to supply enough oxygen and blood to working muscles in different parts of your body. A healthy cardiovascular system allows for easy breathing, increases your energy levels and gives you the ability to undertake any type of strenuous activities. Surfing is a very effective method for improving your overall cardiovascular health.
2. Shoulder and back strength. As you get older, it’s very important to take good care of your back and shoulder muscles. An adverse injury caused by a severe back or shoulder injury can drastically affect your quality of life. An injury such as this can prevent you from performing the most necessary of day to day tasks such as lifting objects and moving around. Severe back injury can also be excruciatingly painful to cope with. Surfing requires the constant use of your arms as you paddle around and catch waves. This means your arms are constantly moving in a rotating ‘freestyle swimming’ motion above your head. This is a great workout for your back, shoulder and chest muscles. This rotating motion of your arms also encourages the full use of the pivoting joints in your shoulder and spine. This increases the mobility of your upper torso and helps to prevent against joint stiffness (a problem that tends to creep in as the body ages and gets older).
3. Improved Flexibility. Surfing requires you to constantly stretch and twist certain parts of your body. During an average surfing session, you will put your body into all types of unnatural positions as you perform manuevers and get tossed around by the power of the waves. These stretching and reaching body motions will actually help to keep your body flexible and improve your bodies overall mobility.
4. Leg and core strength. You probably don’t pay too much attention to your overall leg and core strength, but this physical attribute actually affects many different elements of your physical fitness and contributes drastically to your overall physical capabilities. It is the core function that allows you to balance yourself, stand upright and use your upper torso. Your leg and core strength also affects your ability to perform everyday tasks such as lifting objects, rising to your feet from a sitting or lying position and basically anything that has to do with moving your upper torso. Your leg and core strength supports your upper body which in turn affects your posture and the straightness of your spine. When standing up on your surfboard, after paddling onto a wave, surfing requires you to suddenly jump to your feet from a lying position on your stomach. This motion encourages the use of certain muscles in your back and legs as you try to balance yourself and keep from falling off your surfboard. In an average session of surfing, you will repeat this action of jumping to your feet many times and this repetition will help build a strong leg and core strength.
Mental and psychological Benefits of learning how to surf.
While having great, obvious physical benefits for your body and fitness levels, surfing is also very good for sustaining a healthy mental and physiological well-being. These positive mental and psychological benefits go mostly unnoticed and are very rarely talked about, however in reality they are just as important and beneficial to you as the many positive physical benefits. The impact of participating in a sport such as surfing can do great things for your mental state and this will help improve your life in general. Some really good mental and psychological benefits of surfing can include:
1. Improved concentration and coordination skills. Surfing requires a person to develop a certain level of coordination. Coordination is only developed and improved through concentration and practice. Learning how to surf encourages the use of both these elements in order to improve and progress with your surfing abilities. Concentration and coordination are not only important skills needed for surfing, they are also extremely beneficial attributes that can help you excel in every aspect of your everyday life.
2. Exercise improves mental health. Surfing is a great way to exercise while having some fun and rejuvenating your mind. Regular exercise has been scientifically proven to release certain chemicals in your brain that influence your moods and emotions in a positive way. Mental health care experts actually recommend excercise as a great method to help people cope with mental and psychological problems such as anxiety and depression. By incorporating a few hours of surfing a week into your regular schedule, this will help you maintain a healthy mental state and a positive attitude towards life.
3. Stress Relief. Surfing doesn’t necessarily have to be a strenuous activity at all. Surfing allows you the opportunity to push yourself to the limit – both physically and mentally, and it also allows you the opportunity to just relax, enjoy yourself and have some fun in the ocean. The amount of energy you want to exert in any one surfing session is totally up to you. You can relieve stress by trying to surf your brains out and catching every single wave that rolls through, or you can relieve stress by just sitting on your surfboard out amongst the breakers. In it’s essence, surfing is just you, your surfboard and the ocean. How you choose to surf is entirely up to you.
4. Self-gratification. Surfing is one of those sports that requires a lot of practice and determination when first starting out. There are going to be times during your initial learning phase where you might find yourself frustrated and not enjoying yourself as much as you thought you would. Learning how to surf does require a certain level of commitment and perseverance in order to progress. Some people simply give up and decide that surfing just isn’t for them. But for the people that really commit themselves to learning how to surf and are able to overcome the mental barrier that causes many others to give up, the rewards are truly remarkable. Not only will you reap the positive physical and mental benefits that surfing provides, you will also have proven to yourself that you can achieve certain goals that at one point, may have seemed unattainable. This important life lesson might not be something you were expecting to learn when first picking up a surfboard, but it is priceless lesson which will benefit your life on so many different levels.
As you can see, surfing offers a wide range of healthy physical and psychological benefits that can improve your overall health and well-being. These benefits will add value to your life, no matter how old you are. in fact, the older you get – the more important it is to be aware of your health and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
If you do want to learn how to surf, here are some things you may want to consider. You don’t need to be a super fit person when first starting out. Over time you will increase your stamina and improve your physical capabilities. You don’t need to be a certain weight or height to begin surfing as surfboards come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Surfboards can even be custom made to specifically suit the shape of your body. And most importantly, there definitely isn’t an age limit or cut-off point that prevents anyone from learning one of the most enjoyable and fun sports ever invented. So if you’ve been considering learning how to surf, there really are no excuses for putting it off any longer.