If you are one of the fortunate ones who live near enough to the sea to enjoy the health benefits of surfing, you know just how great it feels to ride the waves. Others may not be as fortunate, and so they plan regular holidays to some of the best places to surf, to get as much in as possible. Even those of you who know you feel great and can attribute it to surfing may not understand what it is about the sport that is so healthy. If you are at all curious, here are the top eight health benefits of surfing you need to know.

1. Surfing Is Heart Healthy

“When it comes to a cardiovascular workout, what could be better than surfing,” says Octavia from booksurfcamp. When paddling out, you use your upper body and when riding the waves back in, you use mostly your lower body. Since more time is spent paddling out, that extensive use of your upper body provides an excellent workout for the heart and gets the blood flowing.

2. Vitamin D from Direct Sunlight

The human body doesn’t manufacture Vitamin D, and this is a very important vitamin you need to grow strong, healthy bones. Not only does Vitamin D promote healthy bones but it is also essential for the regulation of phosphorus and calcium in your blood while regulating the proper growth of skin cells.

3. More Restful Sleep

If you are looking for someplace to go on holiday where you can enjoy your favourite sport whilst getting a bit of extra rest, why not look at Gozo? You can book a surfing trip to Malta and enjoy the beaches there, but if you are wanting a bit of rest as well, Gozo is a smaller island in the Maltese archipelago and as such, you’ll enjoy a bit more rest and a lot less partying!

4. Great Way to Build Muscles

Surfing gives you one of the best whole-body workouts you can imagine. As mentioned, paddling out uses the upper body while riding in the lower body. Why spend so much time in the gym if you can pursue your passion for the open waves whilst building rock-solid muscles?

5. Improvement in Balance

One thing is for certain. You can’t surf if you can’t balance well, and surfing gives you plenty of practice doing the balancing act. The bigger the waves, the harder you’ll have to work at keeping your balance, and this is why surfers are often able to quickly catch themselves when tripping over something in their path. After all, they’ve had plenty of practice with the balancing act!

6. Relief from Stress

There is nothing like a good workout to get your mind off what ails you. Couple that with a day spent in the sunshine enjoying your passion, and you’ll find the stress just melt away. One of the leading causes of illness and disease is stress, so why not get that relief from something you actually enjoy doing?

7. Improvement in Flexibility

Along with balance, surfers become more flexible as they work to bend and rise when keeping upright on the waves back to shore. Flexibility is important if you hope to avoid injury. It also helps to promote stronger healthier joints.

8. Increased Mental Acuity

Finally, did you ever notice that the world seems to stop all around you when you are riding a big one back in? Not only do you need to maintain your balance and stay flexible enough to position yourself just right, but you also need to focus to feel the waves beneath your feet. Imagine what a workout that is giving your brain, at conscious and subconscious levels.

Isn’t it fun staying healthy? If not, you haven’t tried surfing!

Elena is one of the owners of atlantisgozo.com, which is located in the beautiful island of Malta. She’s a pro diver and a travel blogger. When she’s not in her office working, she’s usually out teaching people how to scuba dive.