Boating is a fun activity that many people enjoy, especially during the summer months when spending time by the water is a great way to cool off. Beyond helping you cool off, boating can also offer up a multitude of health benefits for both your body and mind. But first, what is boating exactly?
Boating is any activity in which you travel by a boat — any type of boat. If you’re traveling in a large sailboat, yacht, your personal kayak, or fishing boat, you’re boating! No matter the vessel you’re voyaging in, this pastime combines both relaxation and fitness in a way that’s tough to replicate.
Fitness for the Body
A clear benefit of boating is the fitness boost that you get each time you push away from the shore. This remains true for any kind of boating, whether it’s kayaking or sailing. Each kind of boating has physical requirements, and to meet them, you need to exercise your body. Luckily, the exercises are usually low-impact ones.
Rowing a row boat is an excellent workout that engages the entire body in a low-impact way.
Certain types of sailing can give you better exercise than others. Rowing a row boat is an excellent workout that engages the entire body in a low-impact way. (If you don’t have a boat, rowing machines can provide a similar workout in your own home or at a gym.) While rowing specifically has been earmarked as an excellent workout for seniors looking to become fitter, even a pedal boat (often used for leisure) can be effective at burning calories and exercising specific muscles. Sailing also takes a certain level of fitness to fully enjoy.
Don’t even get us started on the multitude of healthy activities that go along with boating, like swimming! Together, boating and swimming can provide you with a fun, full day of fitness!
Health for the Mind
Boating is more than just a way to boost your brawn. In fact, one could argue that you get more mentally out of boating or sailing than you do physically. Many people who go boating in some way, shape, or form do it as a means of fun and to blow off stress. Those who enjoy boating also find that it’s an excellent way to engage their brains, keeping them active, which has been shown to help slow mental decline as we age.
One way that boating relaxes us is that it helps us escape and disconnect from the modern world.
There’s a long history of people taking to the water as a way of relaxation and comfort. One way that boating relaxes us is that it helps us escape and disconnect from the modern world, for a little while at least. In his book Blue Mind, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols analyzed how being around water and boating can help us relax. Dr. Nichols’ research found that boating can essentially reset our stress levels and promote meditative mindfulness, which is an excellent stress-fighting technique. The exercise you get from boating can also go a long way toward reducing stress, making it an even more effective stress-relief activity.
Sea Air and Sun are Great for You
The environmental factors of boating may also have additional health benefits for boaters. Salt water has long been believed to have cosmetic effects, so spending time in and around salty waters can be great for your skin. Even just being around the sea can be great for your mind. Sea air is loaded with negative ions. While this may not sound like a good thing, it is. Negative ions have been found to increase serotonin in the body, which can help relieve stress and depression and even boost one’s energy.
A moderate amount of sunlight can actually be very healthy for you.
As if all these benefits weren’t enough, spending time on a boat also exposes you to a good bit of sunlight. While this can lead to you looking a bit like a lobster if you’re not careful, a moderate amount of sunlight can actually be very healthy for you. Vitamin D is an important vitamin for our bodies to run properly, and the sun is one of the best ways to get your fill of it. Sunlight is also believed to boost the production of serotonin in our brains, making us happier and promoting stronger mental health. And surprise, the benefits of sunlight don’t stop there; there are even more perks to catching some rays than those we just mentioned! If you’ll be out in the sun, just remember to use sunscreen and reapply every so often to stay safe!
● ● ●
For centuries, mankind has taken to the water for a variety of reasons — to gather food, to travel, to explore new areas, and to have fun. In modern times, while we may not be setting off to explore new continents or fish for our dinners, boating remains a popular activity that is both fun and relaxing. The many health benefits of boating are all the more reason to sail away this summer, no matter what type of vessel you ride in!