Ever notice that you rarely see an out of shape surfer? That’s because surfing is one of the best total body exercises out there. Even if you don’t live near the ocean or want to keep your workouts on dry land, the movements of surfing can be a fun, exciting and effective way to shake up your workouts and get fit!
A Double-Duty Workout
Overall, the aspects and movements of surfing make for an amazing cardiovascular exercise. Many muscles groups are targeted from your upper body for paddling work and abdominal muscles for balance to your lower body to get you up (and keep you up) on the board.
Surfing is not only good for toning your body and getting your heart pumping, it’s also really good for your mood! If you’re lucky enough to live near a body of water, research has shown being outdoors, even if only for 5 minutes, can improve the state of your mental health.
Anatomy of a Surfer’s “Workout”
While great athletes make it seem effortless, the actual process of catching and surfing a good wave is much more involved and physically demanding. Paddling out to the sea is a great upper body workout. Your core is actively engaged from both the paddling action and in maintaining balance as you try to stand up on your board.
The upright, balancing part of surfing also strengthens the leg muscles as you pump your muscles to control the board. Surfing also strengthens your inner abdominal core, which will help protect your back from the likelihood of injuries. You’ll also reap the benefits of increased strength, balance and flexibility. And because of its aerobic component, you’ll improve your cardiovascular health.
No Water, No Problem
For those of us that live in areas where surfing is strictly a summer sport, or the ocean is too far away, there have been many “surfing” workouts that are popping up that mimic the actions and benefits of the sport. In you’re in the NYC area, there’s SurfSet, an indoor workout that simulates surfing using “surfboards” attached to BOSU balls that rolls and rotates. The workout combines cardio intervals, muscle work, and core training for an all-around fun and effective workout that’s sure to have you in great shape by the time summer rolls around and you can hit the surf for real.
If that’s not available, practicing the paddling and getting up on the board actions within your own home can give you the same great cardio workout without getting wet. Either way, whether it’s out on the beach or on a rug in your living room, try giving surfing a go and you might just discover your new favorite workout.