Surfing’s become so popular and widespread that it’s now an official Olympic sport. In August last year, the IOC voted to include surfing in the Tokyo Olympic Games.
With 35 million participants worldwide, the IOC could no longer ignore this sport as a worthwhile addition to its program, but why has a life on the ocean wave become so popular.
Surfing also offers a host of benefits to participants. The best part is you don’t need to live near the ocean to enjoy them all. Now, anyone can embrace the sport at indoor surfing venues across the country.
Keep reading to find out why you should try it out.
What Is Indoor Surfing?
There are two main types of indoor surfing.
Firstly, you can embrace the benefits of surfing at your gym. If they’ve got the right equipment.
Surf workout machines provide a high-energy, high-intensity workout featuring a real surfboard mounted on top of air-filled bladders. The bladders move according to the placement of the rider’s weight to imitate the motion of the ocean.
This feature brings the dynamic strength-building benefits of riding a wave to the party and helps improve agility and balance.
Adjustable pull handles in the front of the machine offer resistance training that’s akin to paddling out into the depths of the sea.
The second type of indoor surfing provides a lot less strain and a lot more fun. It replicates the recreational aspects of surfing, and the physical and mental benefits of the sport follow naturally.
This type of surfing takes place on a type of water slide that closely mimics the action of a real wave. You can enjoy whatever level of surfing you like or try your hand at boogie boarding instead.
It’s definitely the lower-stress option when it comes to learning to surf, enjoying an outing with friends, or reaping the benefits of this active sport.
Whether you choose one of the above types of surfing or opt for the real thing, you’ll still enjoy numerous benefits from surfing.
Indoor Surfing’s Safe and Accessible
You needn’t have access to the ocean to embrace this sport. You can enjoy indoor surfing in Utah, Arizona, Montana, or any of the landlocked states, regardless of the weather.
That means you can get the benefits of exercise from surfing all year round and needn’t worry about the inevitable winter slump or requesting time off work. You can enjoy it with your significant other, and even your kids can join in.
Indoor surfing’s a great way to wipe that grumpy smirk off any teenager’s face and instantly transform you into the ‘coolest parents ever’.
Mental Health Benefits of Surfing
A 2019 study investigated the possible link between surfing, as a form of exercise, and mental health. The results showed improvements in depression and anxiety for all participants, regardless of race, gender, or age.
All types of exercise have several mental health benefits. For instance, physical exertion increases dopamine production in the brain. This feel-good neurotransmitter helps relieve the symptoms of anxiety, creating a ‘high’ that lasts well after the effect.
Exercise also results in a sense of achievement which boosts self-esteem and mental wellbeing and combats depression.
Feelings of low self-worth are common in people suffering from depression. Taking part in something they enjoy often helps give their lives meaning and helps them defeat depressive episodes.
Surfing also engages the muscles, decreasing the muscle tension which contributes to feelings of anxiety.
Since indoor surfing takes place in a controlled environment, it eliminates all the negative outcomes anxiety sufferers might experience while out on the water. For instance, they might fear sharks, large rough waves, or making a fool of themselves in public.
With indoor surfing, none of these obstacles exist, so it provides a secure environment where participants may enjoy the full benefits of this exercise.
Keep reading to find out what these are.
Indoor Surfing Boosts Your Cardiovascular Fitness
Any physical activity is good for your heart, but surfing has the added benefit of getting your heart pumping with an extra adrenalin boost.
When you go surfing, your heart must work harder to pump oxygen to your muscles.
The more you treat your heart to this health-giving exertion, the stronger and healthier it becomes. In this way, surfing contributes to overall fitness and ultimately a long healthy life.
Improve Your Balance and Coordination With Indoor Surfing
Surfing’s not easy. Your body needs to coordinate its actions precisely to stay on top of a rapidly moving surfboard.
Falling off your surfboard’s a great way to find out what you’re doing wrong and learn to refine these movements minutely, so you stay standing up.
This type of practice greatly improves your ability to coordinate your muscles and nerves and improve balance. Good coordination and balance spill over into every area of your life.
You’ll improve your overall quality of life and limit accidents due to clumsiness when you have good coordination.
Twisting your body to stay upright also improves your flexibility and improves mobility too.
Surfing Helps You Sleep Better
Studies show that the wrong type of exercise at the wrong time can actually contribute to sleeplessness.
The good news is that daytime physical exertion tires you out and puts your mind at ease. That means you can kiss insomnia good night after a day of indoor surfing.
Regular cardio workouts have long-term benefits for healthy sleep.
When you sleep well, your entire existence improves. You’ll enjoy an improved mood, greater mental focus, and overall feelings of well-being.
The better you sleep, the better you’ll perform at work and play.
The best part is that surfing doesn’t feel like a workout. No one’s ever woken up in and felt like skipping their morning surf. Nobody can say the same about going to the gym.
Indoor Surfing’s the Ultimate Workout
Since it involves every part of your body, surfing’s an excellent form of cross-training.
It strengthens the muscles in our upper body, core, back, shoulder, chest, and legs, providing a full-body workout. Research suggests we use all the following muscles while surfing:
- Rectus abdominis
- Latissimus dorsi
That’s a lot of muscles involved in a single workout, so you’ll enjoy improved muscle tone everywhere when you surf regularly.
Surfing also burns calories at a rate of knots. You can burn up to 250 calories an hour while surfing. In this way, surfing can contribute to weight loss too. In turn, losing fat helps prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Why Consider Indoor Surfing?
Let’s face it, many people fear the ocean and all it contains. When you enter the waters, you might have to share your space with marine predators, pollution, propeller-driven watercraft, and even stinging creatures.
Waves are often rough and always unpredictable and strong currents could sweep you out to sea in a heartbeat.
Often, you’ll paddle out and have to wait for hours in the baking sun for a suitable wave, and then compete with the other surf enthusiasts to catch it first. If you’re still learning and you mess up, you’ll have to go through the process all over again.
It’s not good to expose your skin to these intense bouts of sunshine, and can even lead to skin cancer, regardless of how much high-factor, waterproof sunscreen you wear.
Then there’s the issue of sand and wind which can both become a bit much after a while. Although surf culture’s a wonderful thing, it’s still a solitary sport.
There’s a good chance your friends won’t sign up for hours of sitting on the beach waiting for you to catch a wave.
Nowadays, nobody wants to share space with strangers. With indoor surfing, you can book a private session with close family and friends. So you know you’re safe from opportunistic diseases when you engage in this sport.
Indoor surfing eliminates all these worries and frustrations. The biggest benefits of indoor surfing are that it’s quick, easy, and anyone can join in.
There’s no denying that surfing’s one of the coolest sports ever, with a rich culture and laid-back vibe. If that’s enough reason for you to embrace it, indoor surfing is the best place to get started.
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