Keeping your body in physical shape is an important goal for most people. But sometimes, making that a reality proves pretty difficult. Finding a type of exercise that relates to your individual interests can turn out to be really helpful in creating an enjoyable exercise plan that you will want to pursue.

One great example of combining personal passion and an active lifestyle is surfing. Perhaps underrated as an exercise, surfing is, in fact, one of the most physically demanding activities and provides plenty of health benefits.

Here is a quick look at the amazing exercise that surfing has to offer.

Aerobic and Anaerobic

Surfing involves paddling, jumping from the stomach to feet, turning, and other movements which tighten core muscles. Because surfing is highly skill-specific, it requires the ability to think quickly and act smoothly in the water. From paddling and duck-diving to sprint-paddling and controlling the board through a wave, the body is constantly in motion. This simultaneously works to strengthen muscles while demanding cardio performance.

Asymmetric Elements

At times, surfing asks the body to labor in opposite directions which can lead to chronic physical imbalance and possible injury. For this reason, many experienced surfers add Yoga, swimming, and stretching into their exercise routine for mobility. This is a great example of how a hobby can offer exercise on its own while motivating you to try other formats as well to increase your physical ability.

Improved Cardiovascular Fitness

The cardiovascular system is composed of the heart, arteries, and veins that pump blood in and out of the heart. Strengthening the cardiovascular system will result in greater endurance. As more endurance is gained, shortness of breath and fatigue begin to disappear. Having a strong cardiovascular system can also prevent the risk of heart attacks. Because of the skills required in surfing, participating in this exercise form can increase the stamina and condition of your heart and accessory organs.

Increased Strength

When paddling out to the break and racing to catch a wave, the body increases muscle mass in the arms, back, and chest region. This growth in strength keeps the heart healthy, assists in daily tasks, and improves the metabolic rate which can aid in the prevention of obesity.

Expanding Flexibility

Having good flexibility is important in surfing. Because of the contortions the body makes when hopping onto a wave or leaping off the board, surfers are often prone to injuries. Being flexible and participating in stretching can help prevent injuries. Additionally, flexibility offers a greater range of muscle motion which aids in the surfer’s ability to ride the waves. This is why many seasoned surfers spend time stretching out prior to jumping in the water and engage in yoga and Pilates when not out in the ocean.

Greater Balance

Surfing greatly improves balance in people because finding balance is absolutely necessary in order to stand and stay on the board. Maintaining balance on the surfboard builds symmetry and strong core muscles which are essential to remaining pain free. Although having a strong sense of balance seems unimportant when younger, it is increasingly vital as you age and can ultimately protect people from falls, breaks, and fractures.

Though surfing can have its calm and meditative moments, it is actually an extremely challenging sport. For both seasoned surfers and beginners, the activity involved in catching and keeping a wave proves extensive. Although surfing is not the first activity associated with high-intensity exercise, it is a great activity to benefit your health.

Because surfing is a strenuous sport, anyone who is a beginner should consult a comprehensive primary healthcare physician in order to ensure their body is up to the task. But the payoff of this total body workout is an enjoyable way to get active while loving what you do. Surfing is one fantastic example of finding an exercise that will motivate you.

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